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Regnal Years in United Kingdom

Introduction

In the history of England and Scotland (and of several European countries) it was common practice to date some documents not according to the running number of the year, but according to the year of the presiding monarch. A system known as regnal years was used. The regnal year is normally calculated from the date of the accession of a particular monarch, with the number changing on the anniversary of the accession.

Prior to 1963, for example, Acts of Parliament were numbered using the year of the sovereign’s reign in which the Act was passed. In order to interpret such dates, therefore, the reader must know the date on which a monarch acceded to the throne

Under the regnal year system, an Act passed early in a parliamentary session has a citation starting as 1 Ric. 2, meaing that refering to the session that commenced in the first year of the reign of King Richard II. It was common for a session to extend into a second regnal year, resulting in citations starting such as 51 & 52 Hen. Occasionally, a session could extend into a third regnal year, with citations such as 12 13 & 14 Geo.

Difficulties with the System of Regnal Years

The regnal years of some monarchs present particular difficulties. For example, King John’s regnal year was reckoned as beginning on the date of his coronation, not his accession. Unfortunately, this was on Ascension Day – a moveable feast which falls on a different date each year. This meant that his regnal years always began on a different date. Furthermore, sometimes they could be more than a year long and sometimes they could be less.

Another difficulty is that because a regnal year is normally calculated from a fixed date to a fixed date, the moveable feasts of the church – such as Easter – can sometimes take place twice in one year. Users should always take care to check this.
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Regnal Years in United Kingdom

List of Regnal Years

Note: regnal years run from the date of the monarch’s accession to the throne until the same date in the next calendar year. Accordingly, different dates in the same calendar year may have different regnal years.

List of Regnal Years

Select the name of a monarch in the following list, and look for the regnal year for that monarch.

Note that:

Monarchs who never summoned Parliament, such as Edward V, do not appear. As mentioned, any Acts which survived the interregnum will have regnal years dating from the restoration.

  • William I [the Conqueror] (Abbreviation: Will I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 14 October 1066–9 September 1087
  • William II (Abbreviation: Will II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 26 September 1087–2 August 1100
  • Henry I (Abbreviation: Hen I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 5 August 1100–1 December 1135
  • Stephen (Abbreviation: Steph ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 26 December 1135–25 October 1154
  • Henry II (Abbreviation: Hen II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 19 December 1154–6 July 1189
  • Richard I (Abbreviation: Ric I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 3 September 1189–6 April 1199
  • John (Abbreviation: John ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 27 May 1199–19 October 1216
  • Henry III (Abbreviation: Hen III ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 28 October 1216–16 November 1272
  • Edward I (Abbreviation: Edw I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 20 November 1272–7 July 1307
  • Edward II (Abbreviation: Edw II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 8 July 1307–20 January 1327
  • Edward III (Abbreviation: Edw III ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 25 January 1327–21 June 1377
  • Richard II (Abbreviation: Ric II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 22 June 1377–29 September 1399
  • Henry IV (Abbreviation: Hen IV ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 30 September 1399–20 March 1413
  • Henry V (Abbreviation: Hen V ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 21 March 1413–31 August 1422
  • Henry VI (Abbreviation: Hen VI ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 1 September 1422–4 March 1461 (and 9 October 1470–14 April 1471)
  • Edward IV (Abbreviation: Edw IV ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 4 March 1461–9 April 1483
  • Edward V (Abbreviation: Edw V ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 9 April 1483–25 June 1483
  • Richard III (Abbreviation: Ric III ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 26 June 1483–22 August 1485
  • Henry VII (Abbreviation: Hen VII ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 22 August 1485–21 April 1509
  • Henry VIII (Abbreviation: Hen VIII ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 22 April 1509–28 January 1547
  • Edward VI (Abbreviation: Edw VI ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 28 January 1547–6 July 1553
  • Mary (Abbreviation: Mar ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 6 July 1553–24 July 1554
  • Philip & Mary (Abbreviation: Ph & M ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 25 July 1554–17 November 1558
  • Elizabeth I (Abbreviation: Eliz I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 17 November 1558–24 March 1603
  • James I (Abbreviation: Jac I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 24 March 1603–27 March 1625
  • Charles I (Abbreviation: Cha I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 27 March 1625–30 January 1649
  • Interregnum (Abbreviation: ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 30 January 1649–29 May 1660
  • Charles II (Abbreviation: Cha II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 29 May 1660–6 February 1685
  • James II (Abbreviation: Jac II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 6 February 1685–11 December 1688
  • Interregnum (Abbreviation: ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 12 December 1688–12 February 1689
  • William & Mary (Abbreviation: Will & Mar ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 13 February 1689–27 December 1694
  • William III (Abbreviation: Will III ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 28 December 1694–8 March 1702
  • Anne (Abbreviation: Ann ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 8 March 1702–1 August 1714
  • George I (Abbreviation: Geo I ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 1 August 1714–11 June 1727
  • George II (Abbreviation: Geo II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 11 June 1727–25 October 1760
  • George III (Abbreviation: Geo III ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 25 October 1760–29 January 1820
  • George IV (Abbreviation: Geo IV ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 29 January 1820–26 June 1830
  • William IV (Abbreviation: Will IV ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 29 June 1830–20 June 1837
  • Victoria (Abbreviation: Vict ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 20 June 1837–22 January 1901
  • Edward VII (Abbreviation: Edw VII ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 22 January 1901–6 May 1910
  • George V (Abbreviation: Geo V ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 6 May 1910–20 January 1936
  • Edward VIII (Abbreviation: Edw VIII ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 20 January 1936–11 December 1936
  • George VI (Abbreviation: Geo VI ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 11 December 1936–6 February 1952
  • Elizabeth II (Abbreviation: Eliz II ). Years of Reign of this Monarch: 6 February 1952–
  • Notes

    1. Henry VI (restored) – Oct. 9, 1470 to about Apr. 1471.
    2. Jane – July 6 to July 17, 1553. Mary married Phillip, July 25, 1554.
    3. Not King de facto until May 29, 1660.
    4. Mary died Dec. 27, 1694.
    5. Regency from Feb. 5, 1811.
    6. Executed Instrument of Abdictation on Dec. 10, 1936 effective from Dec. 11, 1936. (His Majesty’s Declaration of Abdictation Act 1936; 1 Edw. 8, c. 3).

    Further reading

    • C.R. Cheyney and M. Jones, A Handbook of Dates; Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks No. 4 (Cambridge, 2000)
    • L.M. Munby, Dates and Time: a handbook for local historians (Salisbury, 1997)
    • Waters, Dictionary of Saints Days, Fasts, Feasts and Festivals (2003)
    • E.B. Fryde, D.E. Greenway, S. Porter and I. Roy (eds), Handbook of British Chronology; Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks No. 2 (London, 1986)
    • B. Grun, Timetables of History (New York, 1991)
    • D.A. Pickrill, Ministers of the Crown (London, 1981)

     

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Regnal Years
    • Author: International
    • Description: Introduction In the history of England and Scotland (and of several European countries) it was common practice to date some [...]

    This entry was last updated: July 11, 2016

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