Author Topic: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean  (Read 595 times)

Offline karen58

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Hi
I am confused by the inscriptions on some monuments.

For example 'Jenny Wright who died January 7th 1817 in the 23rd Year of her Age'

I have always assumed that this person had not yet turned 23 when they died.

Just like if a child is 6 months old they are in the first year of their age.

If this assumption is correct, I don't understand the reasoning behind it.

Wouldn't it take up less room on the monument to just inscribe aged 22 or aged 6 months.

Cheers

Karen



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Offline rosie99

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #1 on: Friday 26 March 21 13:39 GMT (UK) »
I would assume that she was 23. The wording would have been chosen by the family, they obviously were not worried about how much space they were taking up.
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #2 on: Friday 26 March 21 14:02 GMT (UK) »
Hi
I am confused by the inscriptions on some monuments.

For example 'Jenny Wright who died January 7th 1817 in the 23rd Year of her Age'

I have always assumed that this person had not yet turned 23 when they died.

Just like if a child is 6 months old they are in the first year of their age.

If this assumption is correct, I don't understand the reasoning behind it.

Wouldn't it take up less room on the monument to just inscribe aged 22 or aged 6 months.

Cheers

Karen





Correct, take it back to basics when an baby is born he/she starts the first year of life, in twelve months time he/she is one year old and starts the 2nd year of their life or the second year of their age.
Cheers
Guy
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Offline Enumerated

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #3 on: Friday 26 March 21 14:34 GMT (UK) »
I agree with you Karen, and with Guy. It should mean she was 22 but I don't rely on it. I think it may be used if she was nearly 23 and died shortly before her birthday.
When my father took ill and died soon after, a month before his birthday, we said he died in his 80th year because we had been planning a big celebration for his 80th.

Offline GoldRimmedLamp

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #4 on: Friday 26 March 21 22:39 GMT (UK) »
As far as I know, it did indeed mean they were 22, and back then was a common way of describing someone's age, not only used if someone was near their birthday or not. As soon as someone had their 22nd birthday, they were in their 23rd year of age. Hope this helps.

Offline karen58

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #5 on: Friday 26 March 21 22:52 GMT (UK) »
Hi rosie99, Guy and Enumerated,

Thank you for confirming that. Perhaps people spoke in a much more formal way in the early 18th century.

Cheers
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Offline carol8353

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #6 on: Friday 26 March 21 23:10 GMT (UK) »
My mother in law (Irish) died age 79 in Jan 1997,her 80th birthday would have been in the Aug.
Her Irish rellies said she died in her 80th year.
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Offline gaffy

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #7 on: Friday 26 March 21 23:36 GMT (UK) »
For what it's worth, I simply searched the British Newspaper Archive for the expression "in the 23rd year of her age". Then substituted "23rd" for "35th", or "22nd", or "19th", or "26th"... etc.

In response to such searchs, there was a pretty consistent pattern of death notice "hits" which increases dramatically from around the start of the 1820s, peaking through the mid 1800s, to around the 1880s (I'm talking hundreds of hits per decade). The hits start to tail off significantly in the latter 1800s, with literally only a handful of hits post 1900. So clearly a time related convention of expression.


Offline AngelaR

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Re: Monumental Inscriptions - What does 'in the 23rd Year of her Age' mean
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 30 March 21 12:33 BST (UK) »
Just wanted to add that my ggg grandmother died in 1887 (in her 100th year) but it actually looks like she was 98 rather than 99 but I suppose at that age, the slippage of an odd year is surprisingly accurate  ;D
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk<br /><br />Especially looking for - Sealey, Rogers, Cannings, Box, Sheppard in Wiltshire; Virgin, Slade, Abbott, Saint, Harper, Silverthorn in Somerset; and Virgin, Tarr, Beer in Devon

And most especially the origins of William Cannings,  a Baptist, born abt 1791 in Broughton Gifford, Wiltshire