1599: January 1 to become first day of the year… guilds say time to call off crazy calendar plan
Scottish Scribe, March 28, 1599

By the end of the sixteenth century Scotland had stronger trade ties with Europe than it did with England.

But the island nations counted time by the Julian calendar, which didn’t allow for the fact that years aren’t exactly 365 days long; more accurately, they’re 365.242 days long.

On the continent the more effective Gregorian calendar was in operation, complete with leap years which balanced the count over time. After centuries of mismatch the British Isles were out of step by ten days – a real barrier to doing business successfully across the water.

But the details were lost on the working people of Scotland, many of whom genuinely believed they were being robbed of actual life.

The movement of the start of the year from March 25 to January 1 made people feel even more shaken.

England moved to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time the Julian calculation was even further behind.