Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Astronomical Events, Eclipses, Eclipse of the Sun
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed, on the eleventh of May; and Erkenbert, King of Kent, having died, Egbert his son succeeded to the kingdom. Colman with his companions this year returned to his own country. This same year there was a great plague in the island Britain, in which died Bishop Tuda, who was buried at Wayleigh-Chad and Wilferth were consecrated-And Archbishop Deus-dedit died.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 807. This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven in the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The same year, ere midwinter, died Charles, king of the Franks (age 16). He was slain by a boar; and one year before his brother (age 36) died, who had also the Western kingdom. They were both the sons of Louis (age 62), who also had the Western kingdom, and died the same year that the sun was eclipsed. He was the son of that Charles (age 16) whose daughter Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, had to wife.
Florence of Worcester Continuation. 02 Aug 1132. In the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry, king of England, on Wednesday, the same day in the course of the year on which his brother and predecessor, king William Rufus, was slain, and on which king Henry himself assumed the government at the commencement of his reign, it is stated that the following appearance occurred. While the king, having gone to the coast for the purpose of crossing the sea, delayed his departure, although the wind was often fair for the voyage, at last, on the day mentioned, he went down to the shore about noon to take his passage, surrounded by his guards, as is the custom of kings. Then suddenly a cloud was seen in the air, which was visible throughout England, though not of the same size; for in some places the day only appeared gloomy, while in others the darkness was such that men required the light of candles for whatever they had to do. The king and his attendants, and many others, walked about in great wonder; and, raising their eyes to the heavens, observed that the sun had the appearance of shining like a new moon. But it did not long preserve the same shape; for sometimes it was broader, sometimes narrower, sometimes more curved, sometimes more upright, now steady as usual, and then moving, and quivering and liquid like quicksilver. Some say that the sun was eclipsed. If this be true, the sun was then in the head of the dragon, and the moon in its tail, or the sun in the tail, and the moon in the head, in the fifth sign, and the seventeenth degree of that sign. The moon was then in her twenty-seventh day. On the same day, and at the same hour, many stars appeared.
Moreover, on the same day, when the ships were anchored on the shore, ready for the king's voyage, the sea being very calm and little wind stirring, the great anchors of one of the ships were suddenly wrenched from their hold in the ground, as though by some violent shock, and the ship getting under weigh, to the surprise of numbers who strove in vain to stop her, set in motion the ship next to her, and thus eight ships fell foul of each other by some unknown force, so that they all received damage. It was also generally reported that on the same day and about the same hour, many churches in the province of York were seen sweating, as it were, great drops. All these occurrences took place, as it is said, on Wednesday, the fourth of the nones [the 2nd] of August.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1135. In this year went the King Henry (age 67) over sea at the Lammas; and the next day, as he lay asleep on ship, the day darkened over all lands, and the sun was all as it were a three night old moon, and the stars about him at midday. Men were very much astonished and terrified, and said that a great event should come hereafter. So it did; for that same year was the king (age 67) dead, the next day after St. Andrew's mass-day, in Normandy. Then was there soon tribulation in the land; for every man that might, soon robbed another. Then his sons and his friends took his body, and brought it to England, and buried it at Reading. A good man he was; and there was great dread of him. No man durst do wrong with another in his time. Peace he made for man and beast. Whoso bare his burthen of gold and silver, durst no man say ought to him but good. Meanwhile was his nephew come to England, Stephen de Blois (age 41). He came to London, and the people of London received him, and sent after the Archbishop William Curboil, and hallowed him to king (age 41) on midwinter day. In this king's (age 41) time was all dissention, and evil, and rapine; for against him rose soon the rich men who were traitors; and first of all Baldwin de Redvers, who held Exeter, Devon [Map] against him. But the king (age 41) beset it; and afterwards Baldwin accorded. Then took the others, and held their castles against him; and David, King of Scotland (age 51), took to Wessington against him. Nevertheless their messengers passed between them; and they came together, and were settled, but it availed little.
Florence of Worcester Continuation. 1140. The sun was eclipsed while the moon was in the tail of the Dragon, but it illumined the head.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 24 Mar 1140. After this, in the Lent, the sun and the day darkened about the noon-tide of the day, when men were eating; and they lighted candles to eat by. That was the thirteenth day before the kalends of April. Men were very much struck with wonder.
On 16 Mar 1485 Anne Neville Queen Consort England (age 28) died at Westminster Palace [Map]. Probably of tuberculosis. The day she died there was an Eclipse of the Sun; a bad omen to some. There were rumours of foul play.
Evelyn's Diary. 29 Apr 1652. Was that celebrated Eclipse of the Sun, so much threatened by the astrologers, and which had so exceedingly alarmed the whole nation that hardly any one would work, nor stir out of their houses. So ridiculously were they abused by knavish and ignorant star-gazers.
On 12 Sep 1662 John Flamsteed (age 16) witnessed his first partial Eclipse of the Sun.
Evelyn's Diary. 05 Aug 1665. October 14, 1688. the King's (age 35) birthday. No guns from the Tower as usual. The sun eclipsed at its rising. This day signal for the victory of William the Conqueror against Harold, near Battel in Sussex. The wind, which had been hitherto west, was east all this day. Wonderful expectation of the Dutch fleet. Public prayers ordered to be read in the churches against invasion.
Evelyn's Diary. 02 Oct 1685. These were the papers I saw and read. This nice and curious passage I thought fit to set downe. Tho' all the arguments and objections were altogether weake, and have a thousand times ben answer'd by our Divines; they are such as their Priests insinuate among their proselites, as if nothing were Catholiq but the Church of Rome, no salvation out of that, no reformation sufferable, bottoming all their errors on St. Peter's successors unerrable dictatorship, but proving nothing with any reason, or taking notice of any objection which could be made against it. Here all was taken for granted, and upon it a resolution and preference implied. I was heartily sorry to see all this, tho' it was no other than was to be suspected, by his late Ma*s too greate indiffer ence, neglect, and course of life, that he had ben perverted, and for secular respects onely profess'd to be of another beliefe, and thereby giving greate advantage to our adversaries, both the Court and generaly the youth and greate persons of the Nation becoming dissolute and highly profane. God was incens'd to make his reign very troublesome and unprosperous, by warrs, plagues, fires, losse of reputation by an universal neglect of the publique for the love of a voluptuous and sensual life, wc?? a vlcions?? Court had brought into credit. I think of it with sorrow and pity when I consider of how good and debonaire a nature that unhappy Prince was, what opportunities he had to have made himselfe the most renown'd King that ever sway'd the British scepter, had he ben firm to that Church for wch his martyr'd and blessed father suffer'd; and had he ben gratefull to Almighty God, who so miraculously restor'd him, with so excellent a Religion; had he endeavour'd to owne and propagate it as he should have don, not onely for the good of his Kingdom, but of all the Reformed Churches in Christendom, now weaken'd and neere ruin'd thro' our remissnesse and suffering them to be suplanted, persecuted and destroy'd, as in France, which we tooke no notice of. The consequence of this time will shew, and I wish it may proceed no further. The emissaries and instruments of the Church of Rome will never rest till they have crush'd the Church of England, as knowing that alone to be able to cope with them, and that they can never answer her fairly, but lie aboundantly open to the irresistable force of her arguments, antiquity and purity of her doctrine, so that albeit it may move God, for the punishment of a Nation so unworthy, to eclipse againe the profession of her here, and darknesse and superstition prevaile, I am most confident the doctrine of the Church of England will never be extinguish'd, but remaine visible, if not eminent, to ye consummation of the world. I have innumerable reasons that confirm me in this opinion, which I forbear to mention here. In the mean time as to the discourse of his Ma* with Mr. Pepys, and those papers, as I do exceedingly prefer his Majesty's free and in genuous profession of what his own Religion is, beyond concealment upon any politic accounts, so I thinke him of a most sincere and honest nature, one on whose word one may relie, and that he makes a con science of what he promises, to performe it. In this confidence I hope that the Church of England may yet subsist, and when it shall please God to open his eyes and turne his heart (for that is peculiarly in the Lord's hands) to flourish also. In all events whatever do become of the Church of England, it is certainely, of all the Christian professions on the earth, the most primitive, apostolical and excellent.
Evelyn's Diary. 03 Sep 1699. There was in this week an eclipse of the sun, at which many were frightened by the predictions of the astrologers. I remember fifty years ago that many were so terrified by Lilly, that they dared not go out of their houses. A strange earthquake at New Batavia, in the East Indies.
Stonehenge by William Stukeley. In order to have a just notion of this avenue, it is necessary to go to the neighbouring height of Haradon hill [Map], on the other side the river. The largest barrow there, which I call Hara's and which probably gave name to the hill, is in the line of the avenue; the ford of Radfin lying between, as we see in the last Plate. I stood upon this hill May 11. 1724. during the total eclipse of the sun, of which I gave an account in my Itinerarium. Here is a most noble view of the work and country about Stonehenge. Whoever is upon the spot cannot fail of a great pleasure in it; especially if the fun be low, either after rising or before setting. For by that means the barrows, the only ornaments of these plains, become very visible, the ground beyond them being illuminated by the suns flaunting rays. You fee as far as Clay-hill beyond Warminster 20 miles off. You fee the spot of ground on the hill, whereon stands Vespasians camp [Map], where I conjecture the avenue to Stonehenge began, and where there was a facellum, as we conceive. From hence to that spot a valley leads very commodiously to Radfin [Map], where the original ford was.
In 1870, William Kingdon Clifford (age 25) was part of an expedition to Italy to observe the solar eclipse of 22 December 1870. During that voyage he survived a shipwreck along the Sicilian coast.