The Calendar of King John

The dating of Regnal Years has highlighted some very English eccentricities.

Edward I’s regnal years are unusual for starting and ending on the same day (20 November), rather than ending one day, and starting the next

Edward III is given two different regnal years, one for England, and another for France (the only claimant for whom this is done).

Lady Jane Grey, the “Nine Days Queen”, who was Queen Jane from 6 July 1553 to 17 July 1553, is not present in the official record.
… … …
Regnal years are calculated from the official date (year, month and day) of a monarch’s accession.

When a monarch dies, abdicates or is deposed, the regnal year comes to an end (whether the full year has run its course or not).

A new regnal year begins from a new date, with a new monarch.

The award for the most eccentric Regnal Years goes to King John.

the Itinerary of King John, being compiled almost exclusively from dated documents, was capable of being condensed and simplified in the form adopted by Sir Thomas Hardy.

Court, Household and Itinerary of King Henry II – Robert William Eyton – 1878

King John’s eccentricities include having Regnal Years that are longer than a year.

King John’s regnal years are very awkward to deal with – he was crowned on Ascension Day, which falls on a different date each year. Perversely – to modern eyes – each of his regnal years therefore began on a different date.

Worse still, as a result some of these ‘years’ are more than a year long, and therefore contain duplicate dates, which can present an insoluble problem.

Medieval English Genealogy – Chronology and Dating

The eccentricities stem from King John’s coronation falling on a “moveable feast”.

John of England’s regnal years are unusual for not starting on the same date every year, but rather on Ascension Day, a movable feast of the liturgical calendar.

Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter (following the accounts given in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:2 ), although some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the following Sunday.

These eccentricities have provided researchers with plenty of distractions.

While they studiously ignore priceless data that reveals the Liturgical Calendar alignment.

During King John’s reign [1199-1216] Ascension Day usually fell in a narrow band [weeks 19-22] whilst outlier years [6 and 9] fell later than usual.

The Gregorian Reform – 1582
The Gregorian reforms [deleting 10 calendar days] established a slightly different pattern.

Ascension Day returned it’s usual narrow band [weeks 19-22] but the outliers now occurred either later than usual [year 10] or earlier than usual [years 7 and 23].

The British Reform – 1752
The delayed British calendar reforms [deleting 11 days] introduced a subtle change.

Ascension Day still falls in it’s usual narrow band [weeks 19-22] but the outliers now occur earlier than usual [years 6, 9 and 17].

This subtle calendar refinement eventually spread around the world when Greenwich Mean Time became an international standard.

Coordinated Universal Time abbreviated to UTC, is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time.

For most purposes, UTC is considered interchangeable with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but GMT is no longer precisely defined by the scientific community.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.

The serenity of the before and after schedules smooths over the dramatic deletion of 10 Whole Days from the calendar by the Gregorian reforms.

This serenity also reveals some very important information.

The 1582 reforms almost [but not quite perfectly] returned Ascension Day to the schedule that was operational during King John’s reign.

In other words;

The vast majority of the calendar drift occurred sometime during the 366 year period that separates the end of King John’s reign [1216] and the Gregorian Calendar Reforms [1582].

Stated differently:

The Earth’s last orbital excursion terminated and stabilised sometime between 1216 and 1582.

The Last Orbital Excursion
Identifying the orbital excursion is straight forward as prior research simply slots into place.

The initial orbital step change occurred in the 41 year period between 914-955 AD.

The terminating step change occurred in the 39 year period 1370-1409 AD.


The erratic nature of the [roughly] 500 year long orbital excursion [914-1409] is probably associated with the periodic return of Comet Halley to the inner Solar System.


In the wider context of the 2nd millennium this [roughly] 500 year long orbital excursion represents the Medieval Warm Period.

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) is generally thought to have occurred from about c. 950–c. 1250, during the European Middle Ages.

In 1965 Hubert Lamb, one of the first paleoclimatologists, published research based on data from botany, historical document research and meteorology, combined with records indicating prevailing temperature and rainfall in England around c. 1200 and around c. 1600.

He proposed, “Evidence has been accumulating in many fields of investigation pointing to a notably warm climate in many parts of the world, that lasted a few centuries around c. 1000–c. 1200 AD, and was followed by a decline of temperature levels till between c. 1500 and c. 1700 the coldest phase since the last ice age occurred.”


The orbital excursion affected the Eclipse Record which R R Newton identified as a “square wave” acceleration in the Earth-Moon system that lasted from about 700 to 1300.

Evidence that does not involve any assumptions about the present values shows strongly that there was a ‘square wave’ in the accelerations that lasted from about 700–1300, and that the accelerations were different by a factor of perhaps 5 during the time of this wave from what they were at neighboring times.

Astronomical Evidence Concerning Non-Gravitational Forces in the Earth-Moon System
R. R. Newton
Astrophysics and Space Science – May 1972, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 179–200


The effects of the orbital excursion appear in the observationally based Trepidation calculations and the steadying of Earth’s orbit is clearly identifiable in the period leading up to the Gregorian Calendar Reforms in 1582.

The Trepidation data indicates the orbital excursion included an axial oscillation.

TREPIDATION (from Lat. trepidarc, to tremble), a term meaning, in general, fear or trembling, but used technically in astronomy for an imagined slow oscillation of the ecliptic, having a period of 7000 years, introduced by the Arabian astronomers to explain a supposed variation in the precession of the equinoxes.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica – Volume 27 – Trepidation


Calendar Reform Reconstruction

The indicative reconstruction of the Calendar Reforms confirms:

1) The reforms were not about long term problems with the Julian Calendar.

2) The reforms were all about correcting the calendar after a temporary orbital excursion.

The reconstruction also confirms the mainstream has more than a few problems.

To be continued…

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2 Responses to The Calendar of King John

  1. Pingback: Heinsohn Horizon: Chinese Christmas Cake | MalagaBay

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