A chilly Easter in Lexden

The Easter Act 1928 provides that Easter Day would always occur between 9 and 15 April, putting an end to the wide fluctuations in the date between late March and late April. There would be no more “early Easters”, of which this year provides an example. The Act is on the statute book, but has never been brought into effect largely because the Christian Churches have been unable to agree a common approach to change.

A letter published in The Times on March 24 gave, as one of the advantages of change, the greater likelihood of good weather for the holiday. Alistair Lexden followed another correspondent in pointing out that severe weather was not unknown even in late April. He ended his letter, published on March 27, by recalling conditions in Lexden, on the outskirts of Colchester, on the day of his birth.

Sir, The implementation of the Easter Act 1928 does not require the formal approval of the Church. The act stipulates only that “regard shall be had” to its “opinion”. Furthermore, parliament is expressly empowered to amend its provisions through the secondary legislation needed to bring it into effect.

Late April certainly does not guarantee balmy weather. The heavy snow in Devon on April 21, 1921 (letter, Mar. 26) was repeated in Essex on April 20, 1945. Through the window my mother watched large snowflakes fall after my birth that day.

Lord Lexden
House of Lords, London SW1