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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.

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.

For more information about dates (including saints days, regnal years, religious festivals and terms of the law courts) see C. Top of page Arabic numerals were not used in England until the 16th century, and even after then Roman numerals continued to be used.

Most people today are still familiar with the classic Roman numerals.

Until the Calendar Act of 1752, the year in England began officially on 25 March (Lady Day), and not 1 January (even though this was when New Year’s Day was celebrated).

Thus the year number did not change until 25 March, so taking 1558 as an example, the dates ran as follows: So if you see a document dated any time between January and 24 March before 1752, be aware that in modern terms, you need to add a year.

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