On This Day: 7 December 1703

On this day in 1703. the Great Storm hit the south of England. That is true if you convert the date to the modern calendar and this points to a problem when it comes to writing about events before we aligned out calendar with the rest of Europe.

Thomas Bowrey did not live his life within England and did business with the whole of the world. At the time, people were fully aware of that other nations used a different calendar and used a date format that reflected that. Much of the time, though, people are and were lazy. When that happens, there can be questions about the actual date a letter or legal document was written.

Within Bowrey’s papers, there are letters written between Berlin and London which use the format 1/12 March 1703/04 as well as documents written in India using regnal dates for a king who had already died thousands of miles away.

In writing Bowrey’s biography, and these blog posts, to avoid confusion, I have attempted to standardise dates. My choice is to use the day used in England at the time but to start the year on the first of January. Using that formula, the Great Storm happened on 26 November 1703. Doing this, aligns me with other posters who commemorated the storm eleven days age but at odds with those who have posted about it today.


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