Meteorological Events

Meteorological Events is in Natural Events.

1014 Death of King Sweyn "Forkbeard"

1362 St Marcellus' Flood

1461 Battle of Mortimer's Cross

1554 Wyatt's Rebellion Executions

1555 Great Flood

1607 Bristol Channel Floods

1663 Storm Tide

1667 Thames Frozen

1735 Great Storm

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Aurora Borealis

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 11 Jan 1131. This year, after Christmas, on a Monday night, at the first sleep, was the heaven on the northern hemisphere162 all as if it were burning fire; so that all who saw it were so dismayed as they never were before. That was on the third day before the ides of January.

Note 162. Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights.

Florence of Worcester Continuation. 07 Oct 1138. On the seventh day of the month of October, when the moon was twenty-nine days old, in the dusk of the evening before Saturday, the whole firmament towards the north appeared of a red colour, and rays of various hues were seen blended and flitting. Perhaps these signs portended the vast effusion of blood in Northumberland, and many other places throughout England, of which we have spoken.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Ebb Tide

Henry Machyn's Diary. After 04 Mar 1558. The (blank) day of Marche ther was never so low a nebe [an ebb tide], that men myght stand in the mydes [midst] of Tames, and myght a' gone from the brygys to Belynggatt, for the tyd kept not ys course; the wyche was never sene a-fore that tyme.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Freezing of the River Thames

Wriothesley's Chronicle 1510-1519. 12 Jan 1517. This yeare a great frost began the 12 day of Januarieg in suche wise that no bote might goe betwixt London and Westminster all the terme tyme. And from Westminster to Lambeth was a common way over the Themms upon the ise [ice].

Note g. This season was likewise remarkable for a great drought, "for there fell no rain to be accounted of from the beginning of September till May in the following year, so that, in some places, men were fain to drive their cattle three or four miles to water." — Stow, ed. Howes, p. 606.

Hall's Chronicle 1536. Dec 1536. This year in December was the Thames of London all frozen over wherefore the King’s Majesty with his beautiful spouse Queen Jane (age 27), rode throughout the City of London to Greenwich. And this Christmas the King by his messengers and heralds sent down into the North his general pardons to all capital offenders and shortly after came Aske (age 36) to London, and so to the court to the King. This Aske was the chief captain of the last rebellion in the North, and now both pardoned of the King, and his grace received him into his favour and gave unto him apparel and great rewards, but as after you shall perceive Aske (age 36) enjoyed not the King his new friends kindness a year and a day, and pity it was that he had any favour at all, for there lived not a veriar [?] wretch as well in person as in conditions and deeds, especially against his anointed governor and sovereign Lord.

Pepy's Diary. 01 Jan 1667. Lay long, being a bitter, cold, frosty day, the frost being now grown old, and the Thames covered with ice. Up, and to the office, where all the morning busy. Se Freezing of the River Thames.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Great Flood

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 1014. This year King Sweyne (age 54) ended his days at Candlemas, the third day before the nones of February; and the same year Elfwy, Bishop of York, was consecrated in London, on the festival of St. Juliana. The fleet all chose Knute (age 19) for king; whereupon advised all the counsellors of England, clergy and laity, that they should send after King Ethelred (age 48); saying, that no sovereign was dearer to them than their natural lord, if he would govern them better than he did before. Then sent the king hither his son Edward, with his messengers; who had orders to greet all his people, saying that he would be their faithful lord-would better each of those things that they disliked-and that each of the things should be forgiven which had been either done or said against him; provided they all unanimously, without treachery, turned to him. Then was full friendship established, in word and in deed and in compact, on either side. And every Danish king they proclaimed an outlaw for ever from England. Then came King Ethelred (age 48) home, in Lent, to his own people; and he was gladly received by them all. Meanwhile, after the death of Sweyne (age 54), sat Knute (age 19) with his army in Gainsborough [Map] until Easter; and it was agreed between him and the people of Lindsey, that they should supply him with horses, and afterwards go out all together and plunder. But King Ethelred (age 48) with his full force came to Lindsey before they were ready; and they plundered and burned, and slew all the men that they could reach. Knute (age 19), the son of Sweyne (age 54), went out with his fleet (so were the wretched people deluded by him), and proceeded southward until he came to Sandwich, Kent [Map]. There he landed the hostages that were given to his father, and cut off their hands and ears and their noses. Besides all these evils, the king ordered a tribute to the army that lay at Greenwich, Kent [Map], of 21,000 pounds. This year, on the eve of St. Michael's day, came the great sea-flood, which spread wide over this land, and ran so far up as it never did before, overwhelming many towns, and an innumerable multitude of people.

Around 16 Jan 1362 St Marcellus' Flood was an intense extratropical cyclone, coinciding with a new moon, which swept across the British Isles, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Denmark causing at least 25,000 deaths. In England the town of Dunwich, Suffolk was destroyed.

Henry Machyn's Diary. 29 Sep 1555. The xxix day of September was the grettest rayn and fludes that ever was sene in England, that all low contreys was drounyd, and in dyver plasses boyth men and catell drounyd, and all the marssys, and sellers boyth of wyne and bere and alle and odur marchandysse, in London and odur plassys, drounyd; and the rayne begane after Bathellmuw-tyd telle sant Edwardes tyde, after not x days fayre....ij goodly whytt branchys and xij longe torchys .... stayffes torchys grett, and a c. mornars in blake, [xij poor] men and xij women, and all xxiiij in rosett gownes [and the] vomen raylles apon ther heds, and iiij gylt candyllstykes, with iiij grett tapurs and xx prestes and xx clarkes.

On 30 Jan 1607 around midday the Bristol Channel suffered from unexpectedly high floodings that broke the coastal defences in several places devastings significant areas of South-Wales and Somerset. It is estimated that 2,000 or more people were drowned, houses and villages were swept away, an estimated 200 square miles (51,800 ha) of farmland inundated, and livestock destroyed, wrecking the local economy along the coasts of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. The coast of Devon and the Somerset Levels as far inland as Glastonbury Tor, 14 miles (23 km) from the coast, were also affected. The sea wall at Burnham-on-Sea [Map] gave way, and the water flowed over the low-lying levels and moors.

Pepy's Diary. 15 May 1663. Strange were the effects of the late thunder and lightning about a week since at Northampton, coming with great rain, which caused extraordinary floods in a few hours, bearing away bridges, drowning horses, men, and cattle. Two men passing over a bridge on horseback, the arches before and behind them were borne away, and that left which they were upon: but, however, one of the horses fell over, and was drowned. Stacks of faggots carried as high as a steeple, and other dreadful things; which Sir Thomas Crew (age 39) showed me letters to him about from Mr. Freemantle and others, that it is very true.

Pepy's Diary. 04 Oct 1663. Lord's Day. Up and to church, my house being miserably overflooded with rayne last night, which makes me almost mad. At home to dinner with my wife, and so to talk, and to church again, and so home, and all the evening most pleasantly passed the time in good discourse of our fortune and family till supper, and so to bed, in some pain below, through cold got.

Pepy's Diary. 22 May 1667. So home and to set down in writing the state of the account, and then to supper, and my wife to her flageolet, wherein she did make out a tune so prettily of herself, that I was infinitely pleased beyond whatever I expected from her, and so to bed. This day coming from Westminster with W. Batten (age 66), we saw at White Hall stairs a fisher-boat, with a sturgeon that he had newly catched in the River; which I saw, but it was but a little one; but big enough to prevent my mistake of that for a colt, if ever I become Mayor of Huntingdon!1

Note 1. During a very high flood in the meadows between Huntingdon [Map] and Godmanchester, something was seen floating, which the Godmanchester people thought was a black pig, and the Huntingdon [Map] folk declared it was a sturgeon; when rescued from the waters, it proved to be a young donkey. This mistake led to the one party being styled "Godmanchester black pigs", and the other "Huntingdon [Map] sturgeons", terms not altogether forgotten at this day. Pepys's colt must be taken to be the colt of an ass. B.

In Jan 1735 a great storm occurred in London and elsewhere causing significant damage.

From London Prints:

Yesterday Morning the Wind being at W. and W.S.W. it blew hard; and in the Afternoon we had one of the strongest Storms that has been known for many Years, in which several Lighters and Boats in the River were sunk, and others dashed to Pieces; but all the Ships in the River rode out with Safety. On Shore, great Damage was done in the Houses, by ripping off the Tiles, blowing down Stacks of Chimneys, &c. and many People were killed and wounded; particularly, Five Houses were blown down in St. Giles's Parish [Map], and another in Hartshorn Lane in the Strand, by which two Persons lost their Lives. A Stack of Chimneys fell upon a Footman near Gray's-Inn, and killed him. A House in the Broad-Way, Westminster, was blown down, and a Man and Boy killed. And Mr. Lancashire, a Carpenter in Two-Swan-Yard near Bishopsgate, was blown from the Top of a Twelve-Foot Ladder, by which he fractured his Skull, and died on the Spot.

It likewise blew up by the Roots several large Trees in St. James's Park, and did incredible Damage to a great many Houses, in all Parts of the Cities of London and Westminster.

From Tunbridge-Wells [Map] we have an Account that the Land-Floods came down upon them so suddenly, that all the Bridges upon the Brook which runs by the Walks, were carried away by the Torrent, and great Damages done besides, so that the like has not been known before in any one's Memory.

They write from [illegible] Abbey in Yorkshire that [several words illegible] happened such a Storm as had not been known in the Memory of Man; tho' it lasted no longer than three quarters of an Hour, yet four Houses were blown down, and several others damaged, and a great Number of large Trees were either broken or blown up by the Roots.

Moulsey in Surrey, Jan. 9. The River Thames is now rising here, and yet it is already so high, we are forced to live above Stairs; and when the Land Waters come down from the Hills in the West-Country, God knows the Consequence: The Thames rose between 5 and 12 this Morning, very near a Foot in Height.

On the 8th Instant there were near 100 Elm Trees (and other Sorts) blown up by the Roots in this Parish during the violent Storm, all fine tall Sticks, and of a load of Timber in a Stick one with another; which will afford the Navy a fine Opportunity of furnishing the Stores in his Majesty's Dockyard this Year.

Extract of a Letter from Dover, dated Jan. 10. Our Accounts from Deal yesterday bring that 40 Sail were missing, that there is scarce a Ship but has met with Damage, and most people think the Gale of Wind little inferior to the November Storm, and lasted longer.

From several LONDON PRINTS Jan. 11. We have received further Accounts of the Misfortunes occasioned by the terrible Storm on Wednesday last: It was observed to be at the highest at 12 o'Clock, about which Time a Stack of Chimnies fell upon a Coachman near Golden-Square, and fractured his Skull: At Barnet [Map], and the Villages adjacent, they perceived three loud Claps of Thunder, accompanied by Lightning; several Barns were blown down in that Neighbourhood; and in several of the Roads near London, the Trees lie in the Highway in such manner, that it is difficult to pass: The Seat was blow from the Mount in Kensington Gardens. At all Parts of the Town are seen Houses untiled, stript of their Lead, and the Chimnies demolish'd.

The Kitchen Chimney of the Lord Bruce was blown down, which broke thro' the Stables of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, and did very considerable Damage, some of the Servants narrowly escaping with their Lives.

36 Trees were broke down, and tore up by the Roots, in St. James's Park, particularly the large Tree entering the Mall, from St. James's Palace, under which stood a Centry-Box, which was blown down at the same Time, with the Soldier in it, who narrowly escaped with his Life.

About 300 Weight of Lead was blown off the House of Arundel, Esq; in Burlington Gardens, Surveyor of his Majesty's Roads.

About 500 Wt. of Lead was ript off the Parish Church of St. Laurence Jewry, by Guild-Hall.

At the Marquis de Montandre's House in Brook-street, a large Stack of Chimnies was blown down, which demolished an Office in the back Part of the House, dashing in Pieces a Table at which 9 Servants were to dine a quarter of an Hour after.

At Riskins, the seat of the Lord Bathurst (age 50) in Buckinghamshire, above 40 large Trees in his Lordship's Grounds were blown down.

At Fulham [Map] 2 or 3 Houses were blown down, and a Barn belonging to Mr. Gray, a Farmer.

A great many Wallnut-trees in the Park of Tryon, Esq; at Mickleham, Surrey [Map], were destroyed. We hear he has made above 300£. per Annum of the Wallnuts which the said Trees produced.

The same Day, as a Servant of Messieurs Frame and Berkley was going along the North Side of St. Paul's, he was thrown down by the Violence of the Winds, at which time his Letter-Case fell from his Side, and the Wind blew his Notes about; all which he found again, except one of £300. one of £139. 16s one of £40. and one of £25. for which Notes a Reward is offered.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Hurricane

Evelyn's Diary. 09 Aug 1692. A fast. Came the sad news of the hurricane and earthquake, which has destroyed almost the whole Island of Jamaica, many thousands having perished.

Evelyn's Diary. 26 Nov 1703 and 27 Nov 1703. The effects of the Hurricane and tempest of wind, rain, and lightning, through all the nation, especially London, were very dismal. Many houses demolished, and people killed. As to my own losses, the subversion of woods and timber, both ornamental and valuable, through my whole estate, and about my house the woods crowning the garden mount, the growing along the park meadow, the damage to my own dwelling, farms, and outhouses, is almost tragical, not to be paralleled, with anything happening in our age. I am not able to describe it; but submit to the pleasure of Almighty God.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Parhelion

Parhelion aka Sun Dogs aka Mock Sun. An atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun appearing as if three suns are rising. Appearing before the Battle of Mortimer's Cross Edward IV adopted the Parhelion as one of his emblems in reference to him and his two brothers, "these sons of York".

Flowers of History 1233. In the same year, on the 8th of April, about the first hour of the day, on the confines of Hereford and Worcester, there appeared four spurious suns round the real sun, of different colours, some of a semicircular form and others round. These suns formed a wonderful spectacle, and svere seen by more than a thousand creditable persons ; and some of them, in commemoration of this extraordinary phenomenon, painted suns and rings of various colour on parchment, that such an unusual phenomenon might not escape from the memory of man.

Chronicle of Gregory 1461. 02 Feb 1461. Alle so Edwarde Erle of Marche (age 18), the Duke of Yorke is son and heyre, hadde a gre jornaye at Mortymer is Crosse in Walys the secunde day of Februar nexte soo folowynge, and there he put to flyght the Erle of Penbroke (age 29), the Erle of Wylteschyre (age 40). And there he toke and slowe of knyghtys and squyers, and of the,a to the nomber of iij M1 [3000] ., &c.

Ande in that jornay was Owyn Tetyr (age 61) take and brought unto Herforde este, an he was be heddyde at the market place [Map], and his hedde sette a-pone the hygheyste gryce of the market crosse, and a madde woman kembyd his here and wysche a way the blode of his face, and she gate candellys and sette a-boute him brennynge, moo then a C [Note. One hundred]. Thys Owyne Tytyr (age 61) was fadyr unto the Erle of Penbroke (age 29), and hadde weddyd Quene Kateryn, Kyng Harry the VI (age 39). is modyr, wenyng and trustyng all eway that he shulde not be hedyd tylle he sawe the axe and the blocke, and whenn that he was in his dobelet he trustyd on pardon and grace tylle the coler of his redde vellvet dobbelet was ryppyd of. Then he said, "That hede shalle ly on the stocke that was wonte to ly on Quene Kateryns lappe," and put his herte and mynde holy unto God, and full mekely toke his dethe.

Alle soo the same day that the Erle of Marche (age 18) shulde take his jornaye towarde Mortymer is Crosse fro Herforde este [Map]b, he mousterd his many without the towne wallys in a mersche that is callyd Wyg mersche. And ovyr him men sayc iij [3] sonnys schynyng.[And over him men say three suns shining. This a reference to the Parhelion which occurred on the morning of the Battle of Mortimer's Cross.]

Note a. So in MS.

Note b. Haverfordwest. [Note. While the note suggests Haverfordwest we believe this is a reference to Hereford?]

Note c. saw.

Effigy of a Nevill and Lady in Brancepeth Church, Durham. He had two wives; his first was Elizabeth, widow of Lord Clifford, daughter of that remarkable historical character Henry Lord Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, surnamed, for his promptitude in military emprize, Hotspur. By Elizabeth he had a son, John, who was slain during his life-time in the battle of Towton. His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir Reginald Cobham, knight. He died in the year 1484, the second of the reign of Richard the Third. The remarkable points in these effigies are the collars which decorate the necks of the figures. The Lancaster badge of SS is now discarded, and we find that of York, the white rose in the suna, adopted; from which is suspended the white boar, Richard the Third's device.

Note a. The parhelion which appeared in the Heavens at the battle of Mortimer's Cross occasioned Edward the Fourth to add the device of the sun to the white rose; and this assumed omen of success was indeed the occasion of victory to him at Barnet Field; for, being embroidered on the coats of his men, (much as we see, at this day, the crown, &c. on those of the yeomen of the Royal Guard,) and the Earl of Oxford, on the other side, having either a blazing star, or the silver mullet of his arms, on the jacks of his retainers, indistinctly seen gleaming through the mists of a spring morning, it was taken by the Earl of Warwick's soldiers for the badge of the foe, and assailed as such. Oxford, in consequence, suspected treachery in Warwick, and fled the field. Warwick's valour could not repair the mistake; he was defeated and slain.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Rainbow

Wriothesley's Chronicle 15 Feb 1554. 15 Feb 1554. The 15 of February were hanged of the rebells iii against St Magnus Churche [Map], iii at Billingsgate, iii at Ledenhall [Map], one at Moregate, one at Creplegate, one at Aldrigegate, two at Paules, iii in Holborne, iii at Tower hill [Map], ii at Tyburne [Map], and at 4 places in Sowthwerke [Map] 14. And divers others were executed at Kingston [Map] and other places.

Allso this daye about ix of the clock in the foorenoone was seene in London in the middest of the Element a raynebowe lyke fyre, the endes upward, and two sunnes, by the space of an hower and an halfe.

Evelyn's Diary. 05 May 1645. We took coach, and went fifteen miles out of the city to Frascati, formerly Tusculum, a villa of Cardinal Aldobrandini, built for a country house; but surpassing, in my opinion, the most delicious places I ever beheld for its situation, elegance, plentiful water, groves, ascents, and prospects. Just behind the palace (which is of excellent architecture) in the centre of the inclosure, rises a high hill, or mountain, all over clad with tall wood, and so formed by nature, as if it had been cut out by art, from the summit whereof falls a cascade, seeming rather a great river than a stream precipitating into a large theatre of water, representing an exact and perfect rainbow, when the sun shines out. Under this, is made an artificial grot, wherein are curious rocks, hydraulic organs, and all sorts of singing birds, moving and chirping by force of the water, with several other pageants and surprising inventions. In the centre of one of these rooms, rises a copper ball that continually dances about three feet above the pavement, by virtue of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole beneath it; with many other devices to wet the unwary spectators, so that one can hardly step without wetting to the skin. In one of these theaters of water, is an Atlas spouting up the stream to a very great height; and another monster makes a terrible roaring with a horn; but, above all, the representation of a storm is most natural, with such fury of rain, wind, and thunder, as one would imagine oneself in some extreme tempest. The garden has excellent walks and shady groves, abundance of rare fruit, oranges, lemons, etc., and the goodly prospect of Rome, above all description, so as I do not wonder that Cicero and others have celebrated this place with such encomiums. The Palace is indeed built more like a cabinet than anything composed of stone and mortar; it has in the middle a hall furnished with excellent marbles and rare pictures, especially those of Gioseppino d'Arpino; the movables are princely and rich. This was the last piece of architecture finished by Giacomo della Porta, who built it for Pietro Cardinal Aldobrandini, in the time of Clement VIII.29.

Pepy's Diary. 13 May 1664. Up before three o'clock, and a little after upon the water, it being very light as at noon, and a bright sunrising; but by and by a rainbow appeared, the first that ever in a morning I saw, and then it fell a-raining a little, but held up again, and I to Woolwich, Kent [Map], where before all the men came to work I with Deane (age 30) spent two hours upon the new ship, informing myself in the names and natures of many parts of her to my great content, and so back again, without doing any thing else, and after shifting myself away to Westminster, looking after Mr. Maes's business and others.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Snow

Evelyn's Diary. 07 Feb 1692. An extraordinary snow fell in most parts.

Culture, General Things, Natural Events, Meteorological Events, Storm Tide

Pepy's Diary. 07 Dec 1663. At White Hall I hear and find that there was the last night the greatest tide that ever was remembered in England to have been in this river: all White Hall having been drowned, of which there was great discourse.