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The Start of the Anglo-Saxon Year


On more than one occasion in the Peterborough Chronicle I have noticed that the yearly report has started with the Christmas of the previous year. At first I thought that this was just dealing with events that overlapped the beginning of the year but this does not seem to be the case.

The report for 1095 starts with “On þissum geare” (in this year) and deals with the days leading up to Christmas 1094.

I was wondering whether the year might have started with the winter solstice rather than the calend/1st of January. At that time the actual solstice would have been about December 26th but they might have taken the December 21st, the nominal date.

Any ideas?

I read somewhere recently (and now can't find it! but will keep looking) that the winter solstice used to be around 25th December but slipped with all the calendar shenanigans while obviously Christmas stayed on 25th. That would have made the solstice / Christmas a good new year starter.

Sorry - memory like a sieve :(


The church year, which the monastic chroniclers likely used, would have started on the first Sunday of Advent.


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