In Collections for a history of Staffordshire (1903), via the Internet Archive, I have found an entry that may or may not relate to a direct ancestor of mine named William Fletcher:

Staff". John Averey, of Penkrich, milner, and Thomas Hempson, of Penkerich, taillour, were attached at the suit of Robert Kyng in a plea that, together with William Fletcher, of Pynkerich, fletcher, they had broken into his close at Penkerich on the 2oth May, 13 E. IV, and had trodden down and consumed his wheat, rye, beans, peas, barley, oats, and grass with horses, oxen, pigs, cows, and sheep, and for which he claimed ,10 as damages. The defendants appeared by attorney and denied the trespass, and appealed to a jury which was to be summoned for three weeks from Easter. A postscript shows no jury had been summoned up to Easter term, 18 E. IV. m. 108.

My understanding is that Pynkerich/Penkrich/Penkerich is modern day Penkridge in Staffordshire.

I can read a day of 20 May from "2oth May, 13 E. IV," but does the remainder provide the year?

In another place in the same document, another possible direct ancestor named Thomas Fletcher is also mentioned:

On the Octaves of St. Michael. 14 James I.

Between Thomas Fletcher, complainant, and Thomas Skrymsher, armiger, and Anne, his wife, deforciants of 2 messuages, 2 gardens, 2 orchards, 30 acres of land, 3 acres of meadow, 10 acres of pasture, and common of pasture for all cattle in Asheley, Meare, and Muckleston.

Thomas Skrymsher and Anne remitted all right to Thomas Fletcher and his heirs, for which Thomas Fletcher gave them ^100.

My understanding is that an Octave:

is the eighth day after a feast, reckoning inclusively, and so always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself.

so I will be trying to interpret the date of "the Octaves of St. Michael. 14 James I." as a second exercise.


1 Answer 1


The obvious answer is that that 20th May, 13 E. IV is a regnal date - specifically it refers to the 20th May in the 13th year of the reign of Edward IV.

The complication is that Edward IV reigned from 4th March 1461 to 3rd October 1470 and then from 11th April 1471 to 9th April 1483 so working out where the 13th year falls is not completely trivial but according to wikipedia the short break is ignored when working out his regnal years so the 13th year would run from 4th March 1473 to 3rd March 1474.

The year 14 James I makes rather more sense as James 1st of England reigned from 24th March 1603 to 27th March 1625 which is 22 years so the 14th year of his reign would be from 24 March 1616 to 23 March 1617.

  • 1
    Double check your History. Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470 then again from 11 April 1471 until his death. The regnal years wiki list him as having 23 years in his reign. So right answer. Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 3:41
  • 1
    Thanks... I only glanced at the info box on wikipedia last night and the dual reign makes that quite confusing in this case. Answer now updated...
    – TomH
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 8:30
  • 1
    aulis.org/Calendar/Regnal_Years.html if you need a regnal year calculator.
    – user6485
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 11:13

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