25 March 2009

Today is

March 25th or Lady Day is traditionally a quarter day, when servants could be hired, rents were paid until the next quarter day and any rates were due.

Towns and big cities would have hiring fairs where young men and women would offer themselves for hiring and if they were lucky they would end up in a good situation or they would be back the next time older and somewhat wiser.

Farms could also change tenancy on a quarter day, though traditionally it would more likely be that any new tenant would take over on michaelmas just after the harvest as they would then tend the farm for the next year, but if a tenant fell behind with the rent, he could be displaced on any date.

Lady Day got it's name from Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (25 March) and is the first of the four traditional Irish and English quarter days. The "Lady" was the Virgin Mary. The term derives from Middle English, when some nouns lost their genitive inflections. "Lady" would later gain an -s genitive ending, and therefore the name actually means "Lady's day."


Janet said...

I love it when you do these history lessons. Although you'd think I would know this since the medieval period was my specialty in grad school.

Anonymous said...

I do love your blog- thanks for the history lesson :)