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In Scotland, 1 January became the official beginning of the year in 1600, the day after 31 December 1599.Some documents will be dated not by the calendar year but by the regnal year - how long the ruling monarch had been on the throne.Most people today are still familiar with the classic Roman numerals.Be aware, however, that you will find them represented in a slightly different way in documents written in English. A ‘1’ by itself, or at the end of a number, was usually represented by a ‘j’.

Other Catholic countries followed and adopted the Gregorian Calendar but England, being Protestant, did not.Ordinal numbers are represented by superscript letters following them, just as today. Top of page Money was calculated in pounds, shillings and pence. The pound was represented either by ‘li’, or £: transcribe both with a £ sign before the amount given. It was worth two-thirds of a pound, that is 13s 4d.This symbol is actually an elaborate ‘L’, from the Latin ‘libra’, meaning pound. Half a mark (one-third of a pound) was therefore 6s 8d.For further information about measurement see Colin Chapman, ‘How heavy, how much and how long?: weights, money and other measures used by our ancestors’ (Lochin,1995).

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