As the author of this was an eye-witness and sharer of the particulars in the former chapter; so, to furnish the reader with as authentic, and which he has as much cause to depend upon as if he had seen them, he has the several particulars following from like eye-witnesses, and that in such a manner, as I think their testimony is not to be questioned, most of the gentlemen being of piety and reputation.
And as a publication was made to desire all persons who were willing to contribute to the forwarding this work, and to transmit the memory of so signal a judgment to posterity that they would be pleased to send up such authentic accounts of the mischiefs, damages, and disasters in their respective countries that the world might rely on; it cannot, without a great breach of charity, be supposed that men moved by such principles, without any private interest or advantage, would forge anything to impose upon the world, and abuse mankind in ages to come.
Interest, parties, strife, faction, and particular malice, with all the scurvy circumstances attending such things, may prompt men to strain a tale beyond its real extent; bat, that men should invent a story to amuse posterity, in a case where they have no manner of motive, where the only design is to preserve the rememberance of Divine vengeance, and put our children in mind of God’s judgments upon their sinful fathers, this would be telling a lie for God’s sake, and doing evil for the sake of itself, which is a step beyond the devil.
Besides, as most of our relators have not only given us their names, and signed the accounts they have sent, but have also given us leave to hand their names down to posterity with the record of the relation they give, we would hope no man will be so uncharitable to believe that men would be forward to set their names to a voluntary untruth and have themselves recorded to posterity for having, without motion, hope, reward, or any other reason, imposed a falsity upon the world, and dishonoured our relation with the useless banter of an untruth.
Letter from Stowmarket.
We cannot, therefore, but think, that as the author believes himself sufficiently backed by the authority of the vouchers he presents, so after what has been here premised, no man will have any room to suspect us of forgery.
The ensuing relation therefore, as to damages in the country, shall consist chiefly of letters from the respective places were such things have happened; only that as all our letters are not concise enough to be printed as they are, where it is otherwise, the letter is digested into a relation only; in which the reader is assured we have always kept close to the matter of fact.
And first, I shall present such accounts as are entire, and related by men of letters, principally by the clergyThe people ordained for religious duties, especially in the Christian Church.; which shall be given you in their own words.
The first is from Stowmarket, in Suffolk, where, by the violence of the storm, the finest spire in that county, and but new built, viz., within thirty years, was overthrown, and fell upon the church. The letter is signed by the reverend minister of the place, and vouched by two of the principal inhabitants, as follows.
Sir, — Having seen an advertisement of a design to perpetuate the remembrance of the late dreadful storm, by publishing a collection of all the remarkable accidents occasioned by it, and supposing the damage done to our church to be none of the least, we were willing to contribute something to your design, by sending you an account thereof, as follows.
We had formerly a spire of timber covered with, lead, of the height of 77 foot; which being in danger of falling, was taken down: and in the year 1674, with the addition of 10 loads of new timber, 21 thousand and 8 hundred weight of lead, a new one was erected, 100 foot high from the steeple, with a gallery at the height of 4p foot all open, wherein hung a clock bell of between 2 and 3 hundred weight. The spire stood but 8 yards above the roof of the church; and yet by the extreme violence of the storm, a little before 6 in the morning, the spire was thrown down; and carrying with it all the battlements on the east side, it fell upon the church at the distance of 28 foot; for so much is the distance between the steeple and the first breach, which is on the north side of the middle roof, of the length of 17 foot, where it brake down 9 spars clean, each 23 foot long, and severally supported with very strong braces. The spire inclining to the north, fell cross the middle wall, and broke off at the gallery, the lower part falling in at the aforesaid breach, and the upper upon the north isle, which is 24 foot wide, with a flat roof lately built, all new and very strong: it carried all before it from side to side, making a breach 37 foot long, breaking assunder two large beams that went across, which were 12 inches broad and 15 deep, besides several others smaller. Besides these two breaches, there is a great deal of damage done by the hail of great stones upon other parts of the roof, as well as by the winds riving up the lead, and a third part of the pews broken all in pieces, every thing falling into the church, except the weathercock, which was found in the churchyard, at a considerable distance, in the great path that goes cross by the east end of the church. It will cost above 400l. to make all good as it was before. There were 3 single chimnies blown down, and a stack of 4 more together, all about the same time; and some others so shaken, that they were forced to be pulled down; but, we thank God, nobody hurt, though one bed was broken in pieces that was very oft lain in: nobody lay in it that night. Most houses suffered something in their tiling, and generally all round the country, there is incredible damage done to churches, houses, and barns.
Samuel Farr, Vicar.
From Oxfordshire we have an account very authentic, and yet unaccountably strange: but the reverend author of the story being a gentleman whose credit we cannot dispute, in acknowledgment to his civility, and for the advantage of our true design, we give his letter also verbatim.
Sir, — Meeting with an advertisement of yours in the Gazette, of Monday last, I very much approved of the design, thinking it might be a great motive towards making people, when they hear the fate of others, return thanks to Almighty God for his providenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction. in preserving them. I accordingly was resolved to send you all I knew. The place where I have for some time lived, is Besselsleigh, in Barkshire, about four miles S.W. of Oxon. The wind began with us much about one of the clock in the morning, and did not do much harm, only in untiling houses, blowing down a chimney or two, without any person hurt, and a few trees: but what was the only thing that was strange, and to be observed was, a very tall elm, which was found the next morning standing, but perfectly twisted round; the root a little loosened, but not torn up. But what happened the afternoon preceding, is abundantly more surprising, and is indeed the intent of this letter.
Spout in Berkshire.
On Friday, the 26th of November, in the afternoon, about four of the clock, a country fellow came running to me in a great fright, and very earnestly entreated me to go and see a pillar, as he called it, in the air, in a field hard by. 1 went with the fellow: and when I came, found it to be a spout marching directly with the wind: and I can think of nothing I can compare it to better than the trunk of an elephant, which it resembled, only much bigger. It was extended to a great length, and swept the ground as it went, leaving a mark behind. It crossed a field; and what was very strange (and which I should scarce have been induced to believe had I not myself seen it, besides several country-men who were astonished at it) meeting with an oak that stood towards the middle, of the field, snapped the body of it assunder. Afterwards, crossing a road, it sucked up the water that was in the cart-ruts; then coming to an old barn, it tumbled it down, and the thatch that was on the top was carried about by the wind, which was then very high, in great confusion. After this I followed it no farther, and therefore saw no more of it. But a parishioner of mine going from hence to Hinksey, in a field about a quarter of a mile off of this place, was on the sudden knocked down, and lay upon the place till some people came by and brought him home; and he is not yet quite recovered. Having examined him, by all I can collect both from the time, and place, and manner of his being knocked down, I must conclude it was done by the spout, which, if its force had not been much abated, had certainly killed him: and indeed I attribute his illness more to the fright, than the sudden force with which he was struck down.
I will not now enter into a dissertation on the cause of spouts, but by what I can understand, they are caused by nothing but the circumgyration of the clouds, made by two contrary winds meeting in a point, and condensing the cloud till it falls in the shape we see it; which by the twisting motion sucks up water, and doth much mischief to ships at sea, where they happen oftner than at land. Whichever of the two winds prevails, as in the above-mentioned was the S.W., at last dissolves and dissipates the cloud, and then the spout disappears.
This is all I have to communicate to you, wishing you all imaginable success in your collection. Whether you insert this account, I leave wholly to your own discretion; but can assure you, that to most of these things, though very surprising, I was myself an eye witness. I am,
Sir, Your Humble Servant,
Dec 12, 1703.
The judicious reader will observe here, that this strange spout, or cloud, or what else it may be called, was seen the evening before the great storm: from whence is confirmed what I have said before of the violent agitation of the air for some time before the tempest.
A short, but very regular account, from Northampton, the reader may take in the following letter; the person being of undoubted credit and reputation in the town, and the particulars very well worth remark.
Sir, — Having seen in the Gazette an intimation, that there would be a memorial drawn up of the late terrible wind, and the effects of it, and that the composer desired informations from credible persons, the better to enable him to do the same, I thought good to intimate what happened in this town, and its neighbourhood. 1. The weathercock of All-Saints church being placed on a mighty spindle of iron, was bowed together, and made useless. Many sheets of lead on that church, as also on St. Giles’s and St Sepulchre’s, rolled up like a scroll. Three windmills belonging to the town, blown down, to the amazement of all beholders; the mighty upright post below the floor of the mills being snapt in two, like a reed. Two entire stacks of chimnies in a house uninhabited fell on two several roofs, and made a most amazing ruin in the chambers, floors, and even to the lower windows and wainscot. splitting and tearing it as if a blow by gunpowder had happened. The floods at this instant about the south bridge, from a violent S.W. wind, rose to a great and amazing height; the wind coming over or athwart large open meadows, did exceeding damage in that part of the town, by blowing down some whole houses, carrying whole roofs at once into the streets, and very many lesser buildings of tanners, fell-mongers, dyers, glue-makers, &c., yet, through the goodness of God, no person killed or maimed: the mighty doors of the sessions house, barred and locked, forced open, whereby the wind entering, made a miserable havock of the large and lofty windows: a pinnacle on the Guildhall, with the fane was also blown down. To speak of houses shattered, cornricks and hovels blown from their standings, would be endless. In Sir Thomas Samwell’s park, a very great headed elm was blown over the park wall into the road, and yet never touched the wall, being carried some yards. I have confined myself to this town. If the composer finds anything agreeable to his design, he may use it or dismiss it at his discretion. Such works of providence are worth recording. I am,
Your Loving Friend,
Northampton, Dec. 12, 1703.
High tide in the Severn.
The following account from Berkly and other places in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, &c., are the sad effects of the prodigious tide in the Severn. The wind blowing directly into the mouth of that channel we call the Severn Sea, forced the waters up in such quantity, that it is allowed the flood was eight foot higher than ever was known in the memory of man; and at one place, near Huntspill, it drove Several vessels a long way upon the land; from whence, no succeeding tide rising to near that height, they can never be gotten off: as will appear in the two following letters.
Sir, — This parish is a very large one in the county of Gloucester, on one side whereof runneth the river Severn, which by reason of the violence of the late storm beat down and tore to pieces the sea wall (which is made of great stones, and sticks which they call rouses, a yard and a half long, about the bigness of one’s thigh, rammed into the ground as firm as possible) in many places, and levelled it almost with the ground, forcing vast quantities of earth a great distance from the shore, and stones, many of which were above a hundred weight; and hereby the Severn was let in above a mile over one part of the parish, and did great damage to the land; it carried away one house which was by the seaside, and a gentleman’s stable, wherein was a horse, into the next ground, and then the stable fell to pieces, and so the horse came out. There is one thing more remarkable in this parish, and it is this: twenty six sheets of lead, hanging all together, were blown off from the middle isle of our church, and were carried over the north isle, which is a very large one, without touching it; and into the churchyard ten yards distance from the church; and they were took up all joined together as they were on the roof; the plumber told me that the sheets weighed each three hundred and a half, one with another. This is what is most observable in our parish: but I shall give you an account of one thing (which perhaps you may have from other hands) that happened in another, called Kingscote, a little village about three miles from Tedbury, and seven from us: where William Kingscote, Esq., has many woods; among which was one grove of very tall trees, being each near eighty foot high; the which he greatly valued for the tallness and prospect of them, and therefore resolved never to cut them down: but it so happened, that six hundred of them, within the compass of five acres were wholly blown down; (and supposed to be much at the same time) each tree tearing up the ground with its root; so that the roots of most of the trees, with the turf and earth about them, stood up at least fifteen or sixteen foot high; the lying down of which trees is an amazing sight to all beholders. This account was given by the gentleman himself, whom I know very well. I have no more to add, but that I am your humble servant, wishing you good success in your undertaking,
Jan. 24. Henry Head, Vicar Of Berkly.
The damage of the sea wall may amount to about an hundred pounds.
Sir, — I received a printed paper sometime since, wherein I was desired to send you an account of what happened in the late storm: and I should have answered it sooner, but was willing to make some inquiry first about this country; and by what I can hear or learn, the dismal accident of our late bishop and lady was most remarkable; who was killed by the fall of two chimney stacks, which fell on the roof, and drove it in upon my lord’s bed, forced it quite through the next floor down into the hall, and buried them both in the rubbish: and it is supposed my lord was getting up, for he was found some distance from my lady, who was found in her bed; but my lord had his morning gown on, so that it is supposed he was coming from the bed just as it fell. We had likewise two small houses blown flat down just as the people were gone out to a neighbour’s house; and several other chimney stacks fell down, and some through the roof, but no other accident as to death in this town or near it: abundance of tiles are blown off, and likewise thatch in and about this town, and several houses uncovered, in the country all about us, abundance of apple and elm trees are rooted up by the ground; and also abundance of wheat and hay-mows blown down: at Huntspill, about twelve miles from this town, there was four or five small vessels drove ashore which remain there still, and it is supposed cannot be got off; and in the same parish, the tide broke in breast high, but all the people escaped; only one woman, who was drowned. These are all the remarkable things that happened near us, as I can hear of; and is all, but my humble service; and beg leave to subscribe myself.
Sir, Your Most Humble Servant,
Wells, In Somersetshire
Feb. 9, 1703.
Disasters by the tide.
Sir, — The dreadful storm did this church but little damage, but our houses were terribly shaken hereabouts, and the tide drowned the greatest part of the sheep on our common; as it likewise did, besides many cows, between this place and Bristol; on the opposite shore of Glamorganshire, as (I suppose you may also know) it brake down part of Chepstow bridge, over the Wye. In the midst of this churchyard grew a vast tree, thought to be the most large and flourishing elm in the land, which was torn up by the roots, some of which are really bigger than one’s middle, and several than a man’s thigh; the compass of them curiously interwoven with the earth, being from the surface (or turf) to the basis, full an ell in depth, and eighteen foot and half in the diameter, and yet thrown up near perpendicular; the trunk, together with the loaden roots, is well judged to be thirteen ton at least, and the limbs to make six loads of billets with faggots; and, about two years since, our minister observed, that the circumambient boughs dropt round above two hundred yards: he hath given it for a singers seat in our said church, with this inscription thereon; “Nov. 27, A.D. 1703. Miserere,” &c.
William Frith, Churchwarden.
Slimbridge Near Severn,
Dec. 28, 1703.
Sir, — By the late dreadful storm a considerable breach was made in our town wall, and part of the church steeple blown down; besides most of the inhabitants suffered very much by untiling their houses, &c., and abundance of trees unrooted: at the same time our river overflowed, and drowned the low grounds of both sides the town, whereby several hundreds of sheep were lost, and some cattle; and one of our market boats lifted upon our key. This is a true account of most of our damages, I am,
Your Humble Servant,
Cardiff, Jan. 10, 1703.
Fairford church damaged.
Honoured Sir, — In obedience to your request I have here sent you a particular account of the damages sustained in our parish by the late violent storm; and because that of our church is the most material which I have to impart to you, I shall therefore begin with it. It is the fineness of our church which magnifies our present loss, for in the whole it is a large and noble structure, composed within and without of ashler curiously wrought, and consisting of a stately roof in the middle, and two isles running a considerable length from one end of it to the other, makes a very beautiful figure. It is also adorned with 28 admired and celebrated windows, which, for the variety and fineness of the painted glass that was in them, do justly attract the eyes of all curious travellers to inspect and behold them; nor is it more famous for its glass, than newly renowned for the beauty of its seats and paving, both being chiefly the noble gift of that pious and worthy gentleman Andrew Barker, Esq., the late deceased lord of the manor. So that all things considered, it does equal, at least, if not exceed, any parochial church in England. Now that part of it which most of all felt the fury of the winds, was, a large middle west window, in dimension about 15 foot wide, and 25 foot high, it represents the general judgment, and is so fine a piece of art, that 1500l has formerly been bidden for it, a price, though very tempting, yet were the parishioners so just and honest as to refuse it. The upper part of this window, just above the place where our Saviour’s picture is drawn sitting on a rainbow, and the earth his footstool, is entirely ruined, and both sides are so shattered and torn, especially the left, that upon a general computation, a fourth part at least, is blown down and destroyed. The like fate has another, west window on the left side of the former, in dimension about 10 foot broad, and 15 foot high, sustained; the upper half of which is totally broke, excepting one stone munnel. Now if these were but ordinary glass, we might quickly compute what our repairs would cost, but we the more lament our misfortune herein, because the paint of these two as of all the other windows in our church, is stained through the body of the glass; so that if that be true which is generally said, that this art is lost, than have we an irretrievable loss. There are other damages about our church, which, though not so great as the former, do yet as much testify how strong and boisterous the winds were, for they unbedded 3 sheets of lead upon the uppermost roof, and rolled them up like so much paper. Over the church porch, a large pinnacle and two battlements were blown down upon the leads of it, but resting there, and their fall being short, these will be repaired with little cost. This is all I have to say concerning our church: our houses come next to be considered, and here I may tell you, that (thanks be to God) the effects of the storm were not so great as they have been in many other places; several chimnies, and tiles, and slates, were thrown down, but nobody killed or wounded. Some of the poor, because their houses were thatched, were the greatest sufferers; but to be particular herein would be very frivoulous, as well as vexatious. One instance of note ought not to be omitted; on Saturday, the 26th, being the day after the storm, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, without any previous warning, a sudden flash of lightning, with a short, but violent clap of thunder, immediately following it like the discharge of ordnance, fell upon a new and strong built house in the middle of our town, and at the same time disjointed two chimnies, melted some of the lead of an upper window, and struck the mistress of the house into a swoon, but this, as appeared afterwards, proved the effect more of fear, than of any real considerable hurt to be found about her. I have nothing more to add, unless it be the fall of several trees and ricks of hay amongst us, but these being so common everywhere, and not very many in number here, I shall conclude this tedious scribble, and subscribe myself,
Sir, Your Most Obedient And Humble Servant,
Edw. Shipton, Vicar.
The following letters though in a homely style, are written by very honest plain and observing persons, to whom entire credit may be given.
Sir, — Some time since I received a letter from you, to give you an account of the most particular things that happened in the late dreadful tempest of wind, and in the first place is the copy of a letter from a brother of mine, that was an exciseman at Axbridge, in the west of our county of Somerset; these are his words:—
What I know of the winds in these parts, are, that it broke down many trees, and that the house of one Richard Henden, of Charterhouse on Mendip, called Piney, was almost blown down, and in saving their house, they, and the servants, and others, heard grievous cries and screeches in the air. The tower of Compton Bishop was much shattered, and the leads that covered it were taken clean away, and laid flat in the churchyard: the house of John Cray, of that place, received much and strange damages, which together with his part in the sea wall, amounted to 500l. Near the salt works, in the parish of Burnham, were driven five trading vessels as colliers and corn dealers, betwixt Wales and Bridgewater, at least 100 yards on pasture ground. In the north marsh, on the sides of Bristol river near Ken, at Walton Woodspring, the waters broke with such violence, that it came six miles into the country, drowning much cattle, carrying away several hay ricks and stacks of corn; and at a farm at Churchill, near Wrington, it blew down 150 elms, that grew most in rows, and were laid as uniform as soldiers lodge their arms.
At Cheddar, near Axbridge, was much harm done in apple trees, houses, and such like; but what is worth remark, though not the very night of the tempest, a company of wicked people being at a wedding of one Thomas Marshall, John, the father of the said Thomas, being as most of the company was, very drunk, after much filthy discourse while he was eating, a strange cat pulling something from his trenchard, he cursing her, stoopt to take it up, and died immediately.
Account from Brewton.
At Brewton, what was most remarkable, was this, that one John Dicer of that town, lay the night as the tempest was, in the barn of one John Seller, the violence of the wind broke down the roof of the barn, but fortunately for him there was a ladder which staid up a rafter, which would have fell upon the said John Dicer; but he narrowly escaping being killed, did slide himself through the broken roof, and so got over the wall without any great hurt. What hurt was done more about that town is not so considerable as in other places; such as blowing off the thatch from a great many back houses of the town; for the town is most tiled with a sort of heavy tile, that the wind had no power to move; there was some hurt done to the church, which was not above 40s. besides the windows, where was a considerable damage, the Lady Fitzharding’s house standing by the church, the battlement with part of the wall of the house was blown down, which it is said, above 20 men with all their strength could not have thrown down; besides a great many trees in the park torn up by the roots, and laid in very good order one after another; it was taken notice that the wind did not come in a full body at once, but it came in several gusts, as myself have taken notice as I rid the country, that in a half a mile’s riding I could not see a tree down, nor much hurt to houses, then again I might for some space see the trees down, and all the houses shattered; and I have taken notice that it run so all up the country in such a line as the wind sat; about one of the clock it turned to the north-west, but at the beginning was at south-west; I myself was up until one, and then I went to bed, but the highest of the wind was after that, so that my bed did shake with me. What was about Wincanton, was, that one Mrs. Gapper had 36 elm trees growing together in a row, 35 of them was blown down; and one Edgehill, of the same town, and his family being a bed did arise, hearing the house begin to crack, and got out of the doors with his whole family, and as soon as they were out, the roof of the house fell in, and the violence of the wind took off the children’s head-cloaths, that they never saw them afterwards.
At Evercreech, three miles from Brewton, there were a poor woman begged for lodging in the barn of one Edmond Peny that same night that the storm was, she was wet the day before in travelling, so she hung up her cloaths in the barn, and lay in the straw; but when the storm came, it blew down the roof of the barn where she lay, and she narrowly escaped with her life, being much bruised, and got out almost naked through the roof where it was broken most, and went to the dwelling house of the said Edmond Peny, and they did arise, and did help her to something to cover her, till they could get out her cloaths; that place of Evercreech received a great deal of hurt in their houses, which is too large to put here.
At Batcomb, easterly of Evercreech, they had a great deal of damage done as I said before, it lay exactly with the wind from Evercreech, and both places received a great deal of damage; there was one widow Walter lived in a house by itself, the wind carried away the roof, and the woman’s pair of bodice, that was never heard of again, and the whole family escaped narrowly with their lives; all the battlements of the church on that side of the tower next to the wind was blown in, and a great deal of damage done to the church.
At Shipton Mallet was great damages done, as I was told by the post that comes to Brewton, that the tiles of the meeting house was blown off, and being a sort of light tiles, they flew against the neighbouring windows, and broke them to pieces: and at Chalton, near Shepton Mallet, at one Abbot’s, the roof was carried from the walls of the house, and the house mightily shaken and seemingly the foundation removed, and in the morning they found a foundation stone of the house upon the top of the wall, where was a shew in the ground of its being driven out. At Dinder, within two miles of Thepton, there was one John Allen, and his son, being out of doors in the midst of the tempest, they saw a great body of fire flying on the side of a hill, called Binder hill, about half a mile from them, with a shew of black in the midst of it, and another body of fire following it, something smaller than the former.
Strange story from Butly.
There has been a strange thing at Butly, eight miles from Brewton, which was thought to be witchcraft, where a great many unusual things happened to one Pope, and his family, especially to a boy, that was his son, that having lain several hours dead, when he came to himself, he told his father, and several of his neighbors, strange stories of his being carried away by some of his neighbours that have been counted wicked persons; the things have been so strangely related that thousands of people have gone to see and hear it; it lasted about a year or more: but since the storm I have inquired of the neighbours how it was, and they tell me, that since the late tempest of wind the house and people have been quiet; for its generally said, that there was some conjuration in quieting of that house. If you have a desire to hear any farther account of it, I will make it my business to inquire farther of it, for there were such things happened in that time which is seldom heard of,
Your humble Servant,
Our town of Butly lies in such a place, that no post house is in a great many miles of it, or you should hear oftner.
Sir, — I received yours, desiring an account of the damage done by the late great wind about us. At Wilsnorton, three miles from Wittney, the lead of the church was rouled, and great damage done to the church, many great elms were tore up by the roots: at Helford, two miles from us, a rookery of elms, was most of it tore up by the roots: at Cockeup, two miles from us, was a barn blown down, and several elms blown down across the highway, so that there was no passage; a great oak of about nine or ten loads was blown down, having a raven sitting in it, his wing feathers got between two bows, and held him fast; but the raven received no hurt: at Duckleton, a little thatched house was taken off the ground-pening, and removed a distance from the place, the covering not damaged. Hay ricks in abundance are torn to pieces: at Wittney, six stacks of chimneys blown down, one house had a sheet of lead taken from one side and blown over to the other, and many houses were quite torn to pieces; several hundred trees blown down, some broke in the middle, and some torn up by the roots. Blessed be God, I hear neither man, woman, nor child that received any harm about us.
Brief but exact remarks on the late dreadful storm of wind, as it affected the town, and the parts adjacent.
Imprimus. At Ashil parish, 3 miles west from this town, the stable belonging to the Hare and Hounds Inn was blown down, in which were three horses, one killed, another very much bruised.
2. At Jurdans, a gentleman’s seat in the same parish, there was a brick stable, whose roof, one back, and one end wall, were all thrown down, and four foot in depth of the fore wall; in this stable were 4 horses, which by reason of the hay loft that bore up the roof, were all preserved.
3. At Sevington parish, three miles east from this town, John Huthens had the roof of a new built house heaved clean off the walls. Note, the house was not glazed, and the roof was thatched.
4. In White Larkington park, a mile east from this town, besides four or five hundred tall trees broken and blown down, (admirable to behold, what great roots was turned up) there were three very large beaches, two of them that were near five foot thick in the stem, were broken off, one of them near the root, the other was broken off twelve foot above, and from that place down home to the root was shattered and fiown; the other that was not broken, cannot have less than forty waggon loads in it; a very fine walk of trees before the house all blown down, and broke down the roof of a pidgeon house, the rookery carried away in lanes, the lodge house damaged in the roof, and one end by the fall of trees. In the garden belonging to the house, was a very fine walk of tall firrs, twenty of which were broken down.
5. The damage in the thatch of houses, (which is the usual covering in these parts) is so great and general, that the price of reed arose from twenty shillings to fifty, or three pound a hundred; insomuch that to shelter themselves from the open air, many poor people were glad to use bean, helm, and furze, to thatch their houses with, things never known to be put to such use before.
Places near Ilmister.
6. At Kingston, a mile distance from this town, the church was very much shattered in its roof, and walls too, and all our country churches much shattered, so that churches and gentlemen’s houses which were tiled, were so shattered in their roofs, that at present, they are generally patched with reed, not in compliance with the mode, but the necessity of the times.
7. At Broadway, two miles west of this town, Hugh Betty, his wife, and four children being in his house, it was by the violence of the storm blown down, one of his children killed, his wife wounded, but recovered, the rest escaped with their lives. A large almshouse had most of the tile blown off, and other houses much shattered; a very large brick barn blown down, walls and roof to the ground.
8. Many large stacks of wheat were broken, some of the sheaves carried two or three hundred yards from the place, many stacks of hay turned over, some stacks of corn heaved off the stadle, and set down on the ground, and not broken.
9. Dowslish walk, two miles south-east, the church was very much shattered, several load of stones fell down, not as yet repaired, therefore can’t express the damage. A very large barn broken down that stood near the church, much damage was done to orchards, not only in this place, but in all places round, some very fine orchards quite de stroyed; some to their great cost had the trees set up right again, but a storm of wind came after, which threw down many of the trees again; as to timber trees, almost all our high trees were broken down in that violent storm.
10. In this town Henry Dunster, his wife, and two children, was in their house when it was blown down, but they all escaped with their lives, only one of them had a small bruise with a piece of timber, as she was going out of the chamber when the roof broke in.
The church, in this place, escaped very well, as to its roof, being covered with lead only on the chancel; the lead was at the top of the roof heaved up, and rolled together, more than ten men could turn back again, without cutting the sheets of lead, which was done to put it in its place again: but in general the houses much broken and shattered, besides the fall of some.
This is a short, but true account. I have heard of several other things which I have not mentioned, because I could not be positive in the truth of them, unless I had seen it. This is what I have been to see the truth of. You may enlarge on these short heads, and methodize them as you see good.
At Henton St George, at the Lord Pawlet’s, a new brick wall was broken down by the wind for above 100 foot, the wall being built not above 2 years since, as also above 60 trees near 100 foot high.
At Barrington, about 2 miles north of this town, there was blown down above eight score trees, being of an extraordinary height, at the Lady Strouds.
As we shall not crowd our relation with many letters from the same places, so it cannot be amiss to let the world have, at least, one authentic account from most of those places where any capital damages have been sustained, and to sum up the rest in a general head at the end of this chapter.
From Wiltshire we have the following account from the Reverend the minister of Upper Donhead, near Shaftesbury, to which the reader is referred as follows.
Sir, — As the undertaking you are engaged in, to preserve the remembrance of the late dreadful tempest, is very com mendable in itself, and may in several respects be serviceable not only to the present age, but also to posterity; so it merits a suitable encouragement, and, it is hoped, it will meet with such, from all that have either a true sense of religion, or have had any sensible share of the care of providence over them, or of the goodness of God unto them in the land of the living, upon that occasion. There are doubtless vast numbers of people in all parts (where the tempest raged) that have the greatest reason (as the author of this paper for one hath) to bless God for their wonderful preservation, and to tell it to the generation following. But to detain you no longer with preliminaries, I shall give you a faithful account of what occurred in my neighbourhood (according to the conditions mentioned in the advertisement in the Gazette) worthy, at least, of my notice, if not of the undertakers; and I can assure you, that the several particulars were either such as I can vouch for on my own certain knowledge and observation, or else such as I am satisfied of the truth of by the testimony of others, whose integrity I have no reason to suspect. I will say no more than this in general, concerning the storm, that, at its height, it seemed for some hours, to be a perfect hurrican, the wind raging from every quarter, especially from all the points of the compass, from N.E. to the N.W., as the dismal effects of it in these parts do evidently demonstrate, in the demolishing of buildings (or impairing them at best) and in the throwing up vast numbers of trees by the roots, or snapping them off in their bodies, or larger limbs. But as to some remarkable particulars, you may take these following, viz.
Particulars from Upper Donhead.
1. The parish church received little damage, though it stands high, the chief was in some of the windows on the North side, and in the fall of the top stone of one of the pinnacles, which fell on a house adjoining to the tower with little hurt to the roof, from which glancing it rested on the leads of the south isle of the church. At the fall of it an aged woman living in the said house on which the stone fell, heard horrible screeches (as she constantly avers) in the air, but none before nor afterwards.
2. Two stone chimney-tops were thrown down, and 2 broad stones of each of them lay at even poize on the respective ridges of both the houses, and though the wind sat full against one of them to have thrown it off (and then it had fallen over a door, in and out at which several people were passing during the storm) and though the other fell against the wind, yet neither of the said stones stirred.
3. A stone of near 400 weight, having lain about 7 years under a bank, defended from the wind as it then sate, though it lay so long as to be fixed in the ground, and was as much out of the wind, as could be, being fenced by the bank, and a low stone wall upon the bank, none of which was demolished though 2 small holms standing in the bank between the wall and the stone, at the foot of the bank were blown up by the roots; I say, this stone, though thus fenced from the storm, was carried from the place where it lay, into an hollow way beneath, at least seven yards from the place where it was known to have lain for 7 years before.
4. A widow woman living in one part of an house by herself, kept her bed till the house over her was uncovered, and she expected the fall of the timber and walls; but getting below stairs in the dark, and opening the door to fly for shelter, the wind was so strong in the door, that she could neither get out at it, though she attempted to go out on her knees and hands, nor could she shut the door again with all her strength, but was forced to sit alone for several hours (till the storm slackened), fearing every gust would have buried her in the ruins; and yet it pleased God to preserve her, for the house (though a feeble one) stood over the storm.
5. Another, who made malt in his barn, had been turning his malt sometime before the storm was at its height, and another of the family being desirous to go again into the said barn sometime after, was dissuaded from it, and immediately thereupon the said barn was thrown down by the storm.
6. But a much narrower escape had one, for whose safety the collector of these passages has the greatest reason to bless and praise the great preserver of men, who was twice in his bed that dismal night (though he had warning sufficient to deter him the first time by the falling of some of the ceiling on his back and shoulders, as he was preparing to go to bed) and was altogether insensible of the great danger he was in, till the next morning after the daylight appeared, when he found the tiles, on the side of the house opposite to the main stress of the weather, blown up in two places, one of which was over his bed’s head (about 9 foot above it) in which 2 or 3. laths being broken, let down a square of 8 or 10 stone tiles upon one single lath, where they hung dropping inward a little, and bended the lath like a bow, but fell not: what the consequence of their fall had been, was obvious to as many as saw it, and none has more reason to magnify God’s great goodness, in this rescue of his ProvidenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction., than the relator.
7. A young man of the same parish, who was sent abroad to look after some black cattle and sheep that fed in an inclosure, in, or near to which there were some stacks of corn blown down, reports, that though he had much difficulty to find the inclosure in the dark, and to get thither by reason of the tempest then raging in the height of its fury; yet being there, he saw a mighty body of fire on an high ridge of hills, about three parts of a mile from the said inclosure which gave so clear a light into the valley below, as that by it, the said young man could distinctly descry all the sheep and cattle in the said pasture, so as to perceive there was not one wanting.
Curious effects upon trees.
8. At Ashgrove, in the same parish (where many tall trees were standing on the steep side of an hill) there were two trees of considerable bigness blown up against the side of the hill, which seems somewhat strange, to such as have seen how many are blown, at the same place, a quite contrary way, i.e., down the hill; and to fall downwards was to fall with the wind, as upward, was to fall against it.
9. One in this neighbourhood had a poplar in his back-side of near 16 yards high blown down, which standing near a small current of water, the roots brought up near a ton of earth with them, and there the tree lay for some days after the storm; but when the top or head of the tree was sawed off from the body (though the boughs were nothing to the weight of the but end), yet the tree mounted, and fell back into its place, and stood as upright without its head, as ever it had done with it. And the same happened at the Lady Banks, her house near Shaftesbury, where a walnut tree was thrown down in a place that declined somewhat, and after the greater limbs had been cut off in the day time, went back in the night following, of itself, and now stands in the same place and posture it stood in before it was blown down. I saw it standing the 16th of this instant, and could hardly perceive any token of its having been down, so very exactly it fell back into it’s place. This is somewhat the more remarkable, because the ground (as I said) was declining, and consequently the tree raised against the hill. To this I shall only add, at present, that
10. This relator lately riding through a neighbouring parish, saw two trees near two houses thrown besides the said houses, and very near each house, which yet did little or no harm, when if they had fallen with the wind, they must needs have fallen directly upon the said houses. And
11. That this relator had two very tall elms thrown up by the roots, which fell in among five young walnut trees, without injuring a twig or bud of either of them; as raised the admiration of such as saw it.
12. In the same place, the top of another elm yet standing, was carried off from the body of the tree, a good part of 20 yards.
Sir, — I shall trouble you no farther at present, you may perhaps think this enough, and too much: but, however that may be, you, or your ingenious undertakers are left at liberty to publish so much, or so little of this narrativeA story; in the writing of history it usually describes an approach that favours story over analysis., as shall be thought fit for the service of the public I must confess the particular deliverances were what chiefly induced me to set fen to paper, though the other matters are considerable, but whatever regard you show to the latter, in justice you should publish the former to the world, as the glory of God is therein ooncerned more immediately, to promote which, is the only aim of this paper. And the more effectually to induce you to do me right, (for contributing a slender mite towards your very laudable undertaking) I make no manner of scruple to subscribe myself
Sir, Yours, &C.
Rector Of Upper Donhead, Wilts, Near Shaftesbury.
Upper Donhead, Decemb. 18th, 1703.
From Littleton, in Worcestershire, and Middleton, in Oxfordshire, the following letters may be a specimen of what those whole countries felt, and of which we have several other particular accounts.
Sir — Public notice being given of a designed collection of the most prodigious as well as lamentable effects of the last dreadful tempest of wind. There are many persons hereabouts, and I suppose in many other places, wish all speedy furtherance and good success to that so useful and pious undertaking, for it may very well be thought to have a good influence both upon the present age, and succeeding generation, to beget in them a holy admiration and fear of that tremendous Power and Majesty, which as one Prophet tells us, "Causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth, and bringeth the wind out of his treasures,” and as the Priest saith, "Hath so done his marvellous works, that they ought to be had in remembrance.” As to these villages of Littleton, in Worcestershire, I can only give this information, that this violent hurricane visited us also in its passage to the great terror of the inhabitants, who although by the gracious Providence of God all escaped with thier lives and limbs and the main fabric of their houses stood; though with much shaking, and some damage in the roofs of many of them: yet when the morning light appeared after that dismal night, they were surprised with fresh apprehensions of the dangers escaped, when they discovered the sad havock that was made among the trees of their orchards and closes; very many fruit trees, and many mighty elms being torn up, and one elm above the rest, of very great bulk and ancient growth, I observed, which might have defied the strength of ail the men and teams in the parish (though assaulted in every branch with ropes and chains), was found torn up by the roots, all sound, and of vast strength and thickness, and with its fall (as was thought) by the help of the same impetuous gusts, broke off in the middle of the timber another great elm, its fellow and next neighbour. And that which may exercise the thoughts of the curious, some little houses and outhouses that seemed to stand in the same current, and without any visible burrough or shelter, escaped in their roofs without any, or very little damage; what accidents of note happened in our neighbouring parishes, I suppose you may receive from other hands. This (I thank God) is all that I have to transmit unto you from this place, but that I am a well-wisher to your work in hand, and your humble servant,
Littleton, December 20.
Middleton–Stony, in Oxfordshire, Nov. 26, 1703.
The wind being south-west and by west, it began to blow very hard at twelve of the clock at night, and about four or five in the morning, Nov. 27, the hurricane was very terrible; many large trees were torn up by the roots in this place; the leads of the church were rolled up, the stone battlements of the tower were blown upon the leads, several houses and barns were uncovered, part of a new built wall of brick, belonging to a stable was blown down, and very much damage of the like nature, was done by the wind in the towns and villages adjacent.
William Offlet, Rector Of Middleton–Stony.
From Leamington Hasting, near Dun-church, in Warwickshire, we have the following account.
Sir.-I find in the advertisement a desire to have a account of what happened remarkable in the late terrible storm in the country; the stories everywhere are very many, and several of them such as will scarce gain credit; one of them I send here an account of, being an eye-witness, and living upon the place. The storm here began on the 26th of November, 1703, about 12 o’clock, but the severest blasts were between five and six in the morning, and between eight and nine, the 27th, I went up to the church, where I found all the middle aisle clearly stript of the lead from one end to the other, and a great many of the sheets lying on the east end upon the church, rolled up like a piece of cloth: I found on the ground six sheets of lead, at least 50 hundred weight, all join’d together, not the least parted, but as they lay upon the aisle, which six sheets of lead were so carried in the air by the wind fifty yards and a foot, measured by a workman exactly as could be, from the place of the aisle where they lay, to the place they fell; and they might have been carried a great way further, had they not happened in their way upon a tree, struck off an arm of it near 17 yards high; the end of one sheet was twisted round the body of the tree, and the rest all join’d together, lay at length, having broke down the pales first where the tree stood, and lay upon the pales on the ground, with one end of them, as I said before, round the body of the tree.
At the same time, at Marson, in the County of Warwick, about 4 miles from this place, a great rick of wheat was blown off from its staddles, and set down without one sheaf remov’d or disturbed, or without standing away 20 yards from the place.
If you have a mind to be farther satisfied in this matter, let me hear from you, and I will endeavour it; but I am in great hast at this time, which forces me to be confus’d. I am your friend,
The following account we have from Fareham and Christ Church in Hampshire, which are also well attested:
Sir, — I received yours, and in answer these are to acquaint you, that we about us came noways behind the rest of our neighbours in that mighty storm or hurricane. As for our own parish, very few houses or outhouses escaped. There was in the parish of Fareham six barns blown down, with divers other outhouses and many trees blown up by the roots, and other blown off in the middle; by the fall of a large elm, a very large stone window at the west end of our church was broken down; there was but two stacks of chimnies thrown down in all our parish that I know of, and those without hurting any person. There was in a coppice called Pupal Coppice, an oak tree, of about a load of timber, that was twisted off with the wind, and the body that was left standing down to the very roots so shivered, that if it were cut into lengths, it would fall all in pieces. Notwithstanding so many trees, and so much out-housing was blown down, I do not hear of one beast that was killed or hurt. There was on the down called Portsdown, in the parish of Southwick, within three miles of us, a windmill was blown down, that had not been up very many years, with great damage in the said parish to Mr. Norton, by the fall of many chimnies and trees. The damage sustained by us in the healing is such, that we are obliged to make use of slit deals to supply the want of slats and tyles until summer come to make some. And so much thatching wanting, that it cannot be all repaired till after another harvest. As for sea affairs about us, we had but one vessel abroad at that time, which was one John Watson, the master of which was never heard of yet, and I am afraid never will; I have just reason to lament her loss, having a great deal of good on board of her. If at any time any particular relation that is true, come to my knowledge in any convenient time, I will not fail to give you an account, and at all times remain, your servant.
Fareham, January The 23rd, 1703.
Accounts from Hampshire.
Sir, — In answer to yours, relating to the damage done by the late storm in and about our town is, that we had great part of the roof of our church uncovered, which was covered with very large Purbick-stone, and the battlements of the. tower, and part of the leads blown down, some stones of a vast weight blown from the tower, several of them between two or three hundred weight, were blown some rods or percheis distance from the church; and 12 sheets of lead rouled up together, that 20 men could not have done the like, to the great amazement of those that saw ’em. And several houses and barns blown down, with many hundreds of trees of all sorts; several stacks of chimneys being blown down, and particularly of one Thomas Spencer’s of this town, who had his top of a brick chimney taken off by the house, and blown across a cart road, and lighting upon a barn of Richard Holloway’s, broke down the end of the said barn, and fell upright upon one end, on a mow of corn in the barn; but the said Spencer and his wife, although they were then sitting by the fire, knew nothing thereof until the morning. And a stack of chimneys of one of Mr. Imber’s fell down upon a young gentlewoman’s bed, she having but just before got out of the same, and several outhouses and stables were blown down, some cattle killed; and some wheat ricks entirely blown off their stafolds, and lighted on their bottom without any other damage; this is all the relation I can give you that is remarkable about us. I remain your friend and servant,
At Ringwood and Fording-bridge, several houses and trees are blown down, and many more houses uncovered.
From Oxford, the following account was sent, enclosed in the other, and are confirm'd by letters from other hands.
Sir, — The inclosed is a very exact, and I am sure, faithful account of the damages done by the late violent tempest in Oxford. The particulars of my Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, and his lady’s misfortune are as follows: The palace is the relicks of a very old decayed castle, only one corner is new built; and had the bishop had the good fortune to have lain in those apartments that night, he had saved his life. He perceived the fall before it came, and accordingly jump’t out of bed, and made towards the door, where he was found with his brains dashed out; his lady perceiving it, wrapt all the bed-cloaths about her, and in that manner was found smothered in bed. This account is authentick. I am, Sir, yours,
December 9, 1708.
Sir, — I give you many thanks for your account from London; we were no less terrified in Oxon with the violence of the storm, though we suffered in comparison, but little damage. The most considerable was, a child killed in St. Giles’s by the fall of an house; two pinnacles taken off from the top of Magdalen tower, one from Merton; about twelve trees blown down in Christ Church long walk, some of the battlements from the body of the cathedral, and two or three ranges of rails on the top of the great quadrangle; part of the great elm in University Garden was blown off, and a branch of the oak in Magdalen walks; the rest of the colleges scaped tolerably well, and the schools and theatre entirely. A very remarkable passage happened at Queen’s College, several sheets of lead judged near 6000 lbs. weight, were taken off from the top of Sir J. Williamson’s buildings, and blown against the west end of St. Peter’s church with such violence, that they broke an iron bar in the window, making such a prodigious noise with the fall, that some who heard it, thought the tower had been falling. The rest of our losses consisted for the most part in pinnacles, chimneys, trees, slates, tiles, windows, &c., amounting in all, accordmg to computation, to not above 1000l
Ox., December 7, 1703.
From Kingstone-upon-Thames, the following letter is very particular, and the truth of it may be depended upon.
Sir, — I have informed myself of the following matters; here was blown down a stack of chimneys of Mrs. Copper, widow, which fell on the bed, on which she lay; but she being just got up, and gone down, she received no harm on her body; likewise, here was a stack of chimneys of one Mr. Robert Banford’s blown down, which fell on a bed, on which his son and daughter lay, he was about 14 years, and the daughter 16; but they likewise were just got down stairs, and received no harm. A stack of chimneys at the Bull-Inn was blown down, and broke way down into the kitchen, but hurt nobody. Here was a new brick malt-house of one Mr. Francis Best blown down, had not been built above two years, blown off at the second floor; besides many barns and outhouses; and very few houses in the town but lost tiling, Some more, some less, and multitudes of trees in particular. Eleven elms of one Mr. John Bowles, shooemaker; about 30 apple-trees of one Mr. Pierces; and of one John Andrew, a gardiner, 100 apple-trees blown to the ground; one Walter Kent, Esq., had about 20 rod of new brick wall of his garden blown down; one Mr. Tiringam, gentleman, likewise, about 10 rod of new brick wall blown down; Mr. George Cole, merchant, had also some rods of new brick wall blown down; also, Mr. Blitha, merchant, had his walling blown down, and other extraordinary losses. These are the most considerable damages’ done here. — Your humble servant, C. Castleman.
From Teuxbury, in Gloucestershire, and from Hatfield, in Hartfordshire, the following letters are sent us from the ministers of the respective places.
Sir, — Our church, though a very large one, suffered no great discernible damage. The lead roof, by the force of the wind, was strangely ruffled, but was laid down without any great cost or trouble. Two well-grown elms, that stood before a sort of alms-house in the churchyard had a different treatment; the one was broken short in the trunk, and the head turned southward; the other tore up by the roots, and cast northward. Divers chimneys were blown down, to the great damage and consternation of the inhabitants; and one rising in the middle of two chambers fell so violently, that it broke through the roof and ceiling of the chamber, and fell by the bed of Mr. W. M., and bruised some part of the bed-teaster and furniture; but himself, wife, and child, were signally preserved. An out-house of Mr. F. M. (containing a stable, mill-house, and a sort of barn, judged about 40 foot in length), standing at the end of our town, and much exposed to the wind, entirely fell, which was the most considerable damage. Not one of our town was killed or notably hurt, though scarce any but were terribly alarmed by the dreadful violence of it, which remitted about five in the morning. The beautiful cathedral church of Glocester suffered much; but of that I suppose you will have an account from some proper hand. This I was willing to signify to you, in answer to your letter, not that I think them worthy of a publick memorial; but the preservation of W. M., his wife, and child was remarkable. — Your unknown friend and servant, John Matthews.
Teuxbury, Jan. 12, 1703.
EXTRACT OF BISHOP’S HATHELD’s LETTER.
Bishop’s Hatfield, Dec. 9, 1703.
Sir, — I perceive by an advertisement in the Gazette of last Monday, that a relation of some considerable things which happened in the late tempest is intended to be printed, which design I believe will be well approved of, that the memory of it may be perpetuated. I will give you an account of some of the observable damages done in this parish. The church, which was til’d, is so shattered, that the body of it is entirely to be ripp’d. Two barns and a stable have been blown down; in the latter were 13 horses, and none of them hurt, tho’ there was but one to be seen when the men first came. I have numbered about 20 large trees blown down, which stood in the regular walks, in the park here. It is said, that all the trees blown down in both the parks will make above an hundred stacks of wood. A summer-house which stood on the east side of the bowling-green at Hatfield House, was blown against the wall, and broken, and a large part of it carried over the wall, beyond a cartway into the ploughed grounds. A great part of the south wall belonging to one of the gardens was levelled with the ground; though it was so strong that great part of it continues cemented, though it fell upon a gravel walk. Several things which happened, incline me to think that there was something of an hurricane. Part of the fine-painted glass window in my Lord Salisbury’s chapel was broken, though it looked towards the east The north side of an house was untiled several yards square. In some places, the lead has been raised up, and over one portal quite blown off. In Brocket-hall Park, belonging to Sir John Reade, so many trees are blown down, that lying as they do, they can scarce be numbered, but by a moderate computation, they are said to amount to above a thousand. The damages which this parish hath sustained, undoubtedly amount to many hundred pounds, some of the most considerable I have mentioned to you, of which I have been in great measure an eye-witness, and have had the rest from credible persons, especially the matter of Brocket-hall Park, it being two miles out of town, though in this parish. — I am. Sir, your humble Servant, George Hemsworth, M.A., Curate of Bishop’s Hatfield, in Hartfordshire.
The shorter accounts which have been sent up from almost all parts of England, especially to the south of the Trent; though we do not transmit them at large as the above said letters are, shall be faithfully abridged for the readier comprising them within the due compass of our volume.
From Kent, we have many strange accounts of the violence of the storm, besides what relate to the sea affairs.
At Whitstable, a small village on the mouth of the East Swale of the river Medway, we are informed a boat belonging to a boy was taken up by the violence of the wind, clear off from the water, and being bourn up in the air, blew turning continually over and over in its progressive motion, till it lodged against a rising ground, above 50 rod from the water; in the passage, it struck a man who was in the way, and broke his knee to pieces.
We content ourselves with relating only the fact, and giving assurances of the truth of what we relate, we leave the needful remarks on such things to another place.
At a town near Chartham, the lead of the church rolled up together, and blown off from the church above 20 rod distance, and being taken up afterwards, and weighed, it appeared to weigh above 2600 weight.
At Brenchly, in the western parts of Kent, the spire of the steeple, which wad of an extraordinary height, was overturned; the particulars whereof you have in the following letter from the minister of the place.
Sir, — According to your request, and my promise, for the service of the public, I have here given you an account of the effects of the late tempestuous winds in the parish of Brenchly, in the county of Kent, as freely and impartially as can be consistent with the damages sustained thereby, viz.:
A stately steeple, whose altitude exceeded almost, if not all, in Kent, the height whereof, according to various computations, it never in my knowledge being exactly measured, did amount at least to 10 rods, some say 12, and others more; yet this strong and noble structure, by the rage of the winds, was levelled with the ground, and made the sport and pastime of boys and girls, who to future ages, tho’ perhaps incredibly, yet can boast they leaped over such a steeple; the fall thereof beat down great part of the church and porch, the damage of which to repair, as before, will not amount to less than 800l or 1000l. This is the public loss; neither does private and particular much less bemoan their condition, for some houses and some barns, with other buildings, are quite demolished; though blessed be God, not many lives or limbs lost in the fall; and not one house but what suffered greatly by the tempest. Neither were neighbouring parishes much more favoured; but especially a place called Great Peckham, whose steeple also, almost as high as ours, was then blown down, but not so much damage to the church, which God preserve safe and sound for ever.
This is the nearest account that can be given by your unknown Servant, Tho. Figg.
Abstract of sundry letters.
As the above letter mentions the fall of the spire of Great Peckham, we have omitted a particular letter from the place.
In or near Hawkhurst, in Sussex, a waggon standing in a field laden with straw, and bound well down in order to be fetched away the next day, the wind took the waggon, drove it backward several rods, forced it through a very thick hedge into the road, and the way being dirty, drove it with that force into the mud or clay of the road, that six horses could not pull it out.
The collector of these accounts cannot but enter the remarks he made, having occasion to traverse the country of Kent about a month after the storm; and besides the general desolation which in every village gave almost the same prospect, he declares that he reckoned 1107 dwelling-houses, out-houses, and barns blown quite down, whole orchards of fruit-trees laid flat upon the ground, and of all other sorts of trees such a quantity, that though he attempted to take an account of them, he found it was impossible, and was obliged to give it over.
From Monmouth we have a letter, that among a vast variety of ruins, in their own houses and barns, one whereof fell with a quantity of sheep in it, of which seven were killed. The lead of the great church, though on the side from the wind, was rolled up like a roll of cloth, and blown off from the church.
I choose to note this, because the letter says it was upon the north side of the church, and which seems to confirm what I have observed before, of the eddies of the wind, the operations whereof has been very strange in several places, and more violent than the storm itself.
At Wallingford, one Robert Dowell and his wife, being both in bed, the chimney of the house fell in, demolished the house, and the main beam breaking, fell upon the bed; the woman received but little damage, but the man had his thigh broken by the beam, and lay in a dangerous condition when the letter was wrote, which was the 18th of January after.
From Axminster, in Somersetshire, take the following plain, but honest account.
Sir, — The best account I can give of the storm in these parts is as follows:— Dr. Towgood had his court gate, with a piece of wall, blown to the other side of the road, and stands upright against the hedge, which was 12 foot over, and it was as big as two horses could draw. A sheet of lead which lay flat was carried from Sir William Drake’s quite over a wall into the minister’s court, near threescore yards. There was a tree which stood in Mr. John Whitty’s ground which broke in the middle, and the top of it blew over the hedge and over the wall, and over a top of a house, and did not hurt the house. There was a mow of corn that was blown off the posts, and sate upright without hurt, belonging to William Oliver, at an estate of Edward Seymour’s, called Chappel Craft. A maiden oke which stood in the Quille more than a man could fathom, was broke in the middle. Several hundred of apple trees, and other trees blown down. Most houses damnify’d in the tilth and thatch, but no houses blown down, and no person hurt nor killed; neither did the church nor tower, nor the trees in the church-yard received much damage. Our loss in the apple-trees is the greatest; because we shall want liquor to make our hearts merry; the farmers sate them up again, but the wind has blown them down since the storm.
From Hartley, in the county of Southampton, an honest countryman brought the following account, by way of certificate, from the minister of the parish.
Sir, — I, the minister of the above said parish, in the county of Southampton, do hereby certifie of the several damages done by the late great wind in our own, and the parish adjacent; several dwelling-houses stripped, and several barns overturn’d, several sign posts blown down, and many trees, both timber and fruit; and particularly my own dwelling house very much mortify’d, a chimney fell down, and endanger’d both my own and families lives. — I am, Sir, your humble Servant, Nathan Kinset.
Letters From Surrey.
From Okingham, in Berkshire, and from Bagshot, in Surrey, as follows.
Sir, — Great damage to the houses, some barns down, the market house very much shattred, the clock therein spoiled, several hundreds of trees torn up by the roots, most of them elms, nothing more remarkable than what was usual in other places. It is computed that the damage amounts to 1000l. And most of the signs in the town blown down, and some of the leads on the church torn up; yet, by the goodness of God, not one person killed nor hurt.
Bagshot, in Surrey.
The chimneys of the mannor house, some of them blown down, and 400 panel of pales, with some of the garden walls blown down, and in and about the town several great elms torn up by the roots, most of the houses shattered, and the tops of chimneys blown down.
In the parish, a great many chimneys, the tops of them blown down, and the houses and barns very much shatter'd, &c.; the damage in all is supposed about 300l.; none killed.
This is all the account I can give you concerning the damage done by the tempest hereabouts. This is all at present from your humble Servant,
Bagshot, Feb. 1, 1704. Jo. Lewis.
At Becles, the leads of the church ript up, part of the great window blown down, and the whole town exceedingly shattered.
At Ewell, by Epsome, in Surrey, the lead from the flat roof of Mr. William’s house was rolled up by the wind, and blown from the top of the house clear over a brick wall near 10 feet high, without damnifying either the house or the wall; the lead was carried near 6 rod from the house, and as our relator says, was computed to weigh near 10 ton. This is certified by Mr, George Holdsworth, of Epsome, and sent for the service of the present collection, to the post house at London, to whom we refer for the truth of the story.
From Ely, in the county of Cambridge, we have the following relation; also by a letter from another hand, and I the rather transmit this letter, because by other hands we had an account, that it was expected the cathedral or minister at Ely, being a very ancient building, and crasy, would not have stood the fury of the wind, and some people that lived within the reach of it, had terrible apprehensions of its falling, some shocks of the wind gave it such a motion, that any one that felt it, would have thought it was impossible it should have stood.
Sir, — According to your request, I have made it my business to get the exactest and truest account (I am able) of the damages and losses sustained on this side the country, by the late violent storm. The cathedral church of Ely, by the Providence of God, did, contrary to all men’s expectations, stand out the shock, but suffered very much in every part of it, especially that which is called the body of it, the lead being torn and rent up a considerable way together; about 40 lights of glass blown down, and shattered to pieces, one ornamental pinnacle belonging to the north isle de molished, and the lead in divers other parts of it blown up into great heaps. Five chimneys falling down in a place called the colledge, the place where the Prebendaries lodgings are, did no other damage (prais’d be God) than beat down some part of the houses along with them; the loss which the church and college of Ely sustained, being by computation near 2000l. The sufferers are the Reverend the Dean and Chapter of the said cathedral. The windmills belonging both to the town and country, felt a worse fate, being blown or burnt down by the violence of the wind, or else disabled to that degree, that they were wholly unable of answering the design they were made for; three of the aforesaid mills belonging to one Jeremiah Fouldsham, of Ely, a very industrious man of mean substance, were burnt and blown down, to the almost ruin and impoverishment of the aforesaid person, his particular loss being upwards of a 100l.; these are the most remarkable disasters that befel this side of the country. The inhabitants both of the town of Ely and country general, received some small damages more or less in their estates and substance, viz.: The houses being stript of the tiling, barns and out-houses laid even with the ground, and several stacks of corn and cock? of hay being likewise much damaged, the general loss being about 20,000l., the escape of all persons here from death being generally miraculous; none as we can hear of being kill’d, tho’ some were in more imminent danger than others. This, Sir, is as true and as faithful an account as we are able to collect. — I am yours,
Ely, Jan. 21, 1704. A. Abmioeb.
From Sudbury, in Suffolk, an honest plain countryman gives us a letter, in which, telling us of a great many barns blown down, trees, chimneys and tiles, he tells us in the close, that their town fared better than they expected, but that for a/1 the neighbouring towns they are fearfully shattered.
From Tunbridge, a letter to the post-master, giving the following account.
Sir, — I cannot give you any great account of the particular damage the late great winds has done, but at Penchurst Park there was above 500 trees blown down, and the grove at Southborough is almost blown down; and there is scarce a house in town, but hath received,some damage, and particularly the school-house. A stack of chimnies blown down, but nobody, God be thanked, have lost their lives, a great many houses have suffered very much, and several barns have been blown down. At East Peckham, hard by us, the spire of the steeple was blown down. And at Sir Thomas Twisden’s, in the same parish, there was a stable blown down, and 2 horses killed. And at Brenchly, the spire of the steeple was blown down; and at Summer-hill Park there were several trees blown down, which is all at present from your Servant to command,
At Laneloe, in the county of Brecon, in Wales, a poor woman with a child, was blown away by the wind, and the child being about 10 years old, was taken up in the air two or three yards, and very much wounded and bruised in the fall.
At Ledbury, in Herefordshire, we have an account of two windmills blown down, and four stacks of chimnies in a new built house at a village near Ledbury, which wounded a maid servant; and at another gentleman’s house, near Ledbury, the coachman fearing the stable would fall, got his master’s coach horses out to save them, but leading them by a great stack of hay, the wind blew down the stack upon the horses, killed one, and maimed the other.
From Medhurst in Sussex, the following letter is a short account of the loss of the Lord Montacute, in his seat there, which is extraordinary great, though abridged in the letter.
Sir, — I received a letter from you, wherein you desire me to give you an account of what damage was done in and about our town, I praise God we came off indifferent well; the greatest damage we received, was the untiling of houses, and 3 chimneys blown down, but 4 or 5 stacks of chimneys are blown down at my Lord Montacute’s house, within a quarter of a mile of us, one of them fell on part of the Great Hall, which did considerable damage; and the church steeple of Osborn, half a mile from us, was blown down at the same time; and my Lord had above 500 trees torn up by the roots, and near us several barns blown down, one of Sir John Mill’s, a very large tiled barn.
Medhurst, Your humble Servant,
Jan. 18, 1704. John Pbinke.
From Rigate the particulars cannot be better related, than in the following letter.
Sir, — In answer to the letter you sent me, relating to the late great wind, the calamityDisaster was universal about us, great numbers of vast tall trees were blown down, and some broken quite asunder in the middle, tho’ of a very considerable bigness. Two wind-mills were blown down, and in one there happened a remarkable Providence, and the story thereof may perhaps be worth your observation, which is, viz., that the Miller of Charlewood Mill, not far from Rigate hearing in the night time the wind blew very hard, arose from his bed, and went to his mill, resolving to turn it toward the wind, and set it to work, as the only means to preserve it standing; but on the way feeling for the key of the mill, he found he had left it at his dwelling house, and therefore returned thither to fetch it, and coming back again to the mill, found it blown quite down, and by his lucky forgetfulness saved his life, which otherwise he most inevitably had lost. Several stacks of corn and hay were blown down and shattered a very great distance from the places where they stood. Many barns were also blown down, and many stacks of chimnies; and in the Town and Parish of Rigate, scarce a house but suffered considerable damage, either in the tyling or otherwise. In the Parish of Capal by Darking lived one Charles Man, who was in bed with his wife and two children, and by a fall of part of his house, he and one child were killed, and his wife, and the other child, miraculously preserved, I am,
Rigate, Sir, Your humble Servant,
Jan. 13, 1704. Tho. Foster.
From the City of Hereford, this short letter is very explicit.
Sir, — The best account I can give of this Storm, is as follows; a man and his son was killed with the fall of his house,, in the parish of Wormsle, 2 miles off Webly in Herefordshire. My Lord Skudamoor, had several great oaks blown down in the parish of Hom, 4 miles from Hereford; there were several great elms blown down at a place called Hinton, on Wye side, half a mile off Hereford, and some hundreds of fruit trees in other parts of this country, and two stacks of chimnies in this city, and abundance of tiles off the old houses.
Hereford, Yours, &c.
Jan. 2, 1704. Anne Watts.
At Hawkhurst, on the Edge of Sussex and Kent, 11 barns were blown down, besides the houses shattered or uncovered.
From Basingstoke in Hampshire, the following letter is our authority for the particulars.
Sir, — I cannot pretend to give you a particular account concerning the great wind, but here are a great many houses blown down, many barns, and abundance of trees* A liulsk park three miles from Basing Stoke, belonging to Esq. Waleps has a great quantity of timber blown down, there is 800l.'s worth of oak sold, and 800l.‘s worth of other trees, to be sold, and so proportionably all over the country. Abundance of houses until’d, and a great many chimneys blown down; but I do not hear of anybody kill’d about us. Most of the people were in great fears and consternation; insomuch, that they thought the world had been at an end. Sir,
Yours to command, W. Neytll.
At Shoram, the market house, an antient and very strong building, was blown down flat to the ground, and all the town shattered. Brightelmston being an old built and poor, the populous town, was most miserably torn to pieces, and made the very picture of desolation, that it lookt as if an enemy had sackt it.
The following letter from a small town near Helford in Cornwall is very authentic, and may be depended on.
Sir, — According to your request in a late advertisement, in which you desired an impartial account of what accidents happened by the late dreadful storm, in order to make a true and just collection of the same, please to take the following relation, viz. Between 8 and 9 a-clock the storm began, with the wind at N.W. about 10 a-clock it veer’d about from W. to S. W. and back to West again, and between 11 and 12 a-clock it blew in a most violent and dreadful manner, that, the country hereabouts thought the great day of judgment was coming.
It continued thus blowing till 5 a-clock, and then began to abate a little, but has done a prodigious damage to almost all sorts of people, for either their houses are blown down, or their corn blown out of their stack-yards, (some furlongs dis tance) from the same, that the very fields look in a manner, as if they had shak’d the sheaves of corn over them. Several barns blown down, and the corn that was in the same carried clear away.
The churches here abouts have suffered very much, the Tooh of several are torn in pieces, and blown a considerable distance.
The small quantity of fruit-trees we had in the neighbourhood about us are so dismembered, and torn in pieces, that none are left fit for bearing fruit.
The large timber trees, as elm, oak, and the like, are generally blown down, especially the largest and highest trees suffered most: for few gentlemen that had trees about their houses have any left; and it is generally observed here, that the trees and houses that stood in valleys, and most out of the wind, have suffered most. In short, the damage has been so general, that both rich and poor have suffered much.
In Helford, a small haven, not far from hence, there was a tin ship blown from her anchors with only one man, and two boys on board, without anchor, cable or boat, and was forc’d out of the said haven about 12 a-clock at night; the next morning by 8 a-clock, the ship miraculously run in between two rocks in the Isle of Wight, where the* men and goods were saved, but the ship lost: such a run in so short a time, is almost incredible, it being near 80 leagues in 8 hours time, I believe it to be very true, for the master of the said ship I know very well, and some that were concern’d in her lading, which was tin, &c. From St.. Keaverne Parish, in Cornwall,
May 26, 1704. Yours &c., W. T.
Thus far our Letters.
It has been impossible to give an exact relation in the matter of public damage, either as to the particulars of what is remarkable, or an estimate of the general loss.
The abstract here given, as near as we could order it, is so well taken, that we have, generally speaking, something remarkable from every quarter of the kingdom, to the south of the Trent.
It has been observed, that though it blew a great storm farther northward, yet nothing so furious as this way. At Hull, indeed, as the relation expresses, it was violent, but even that violence was moderate, compared to the stupenduous fury with which all the southern part of the nation was attacked.
When the reader finds an account here from Milford-haven in Wales, and from Helford in Cornwall West, from Yarmouth and Deal in the East, from Portsmouth in the South, and Hull in the North, I am not to imagine him so weak as to suppose all the vast interval had not the same, or proportioned suffering, when you find one letter from a town, and two from a county, it is not to be supposed that was the whole damage in that county, but, on the contrary, that every town in the county suffered the same thing in proportion; and it would have been endless to the collector, and tiresome to the reader, to have enumerated all the individual of every county; it would be endless to tell the desolation in the parks, groves, and fine walks of the gentryThe social rung below the nobility, but including those who were landed and entitled to a coat of arms, and who could sit in the House of Commons. It typically included the locally powerful, such as knights and other important people in towns and the counties., the general havoc in the orchards and gardens among the fruit trees, especially in the counties of Devon, Somerset, Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester, where the making great quantities of Cyder and Perry, is the reason of numerous and large orchards, among which, for several miles together, there would be very few trees left.
In Kent, the Editor of this book has seen several great orchards, the trees lying flat on the ground, and perhaps one tree standing in a place by itself, as a house might shelter it, perhaps none at all.
So many trees were everywhere blown across the road, that till the people were called to saw them off, and remove them, the ways were not passable.
Stacks of corn and hay were in all places either blown down, or so torn, that they received great damage, and in this article it is very observable, those which were only blown down received the least injury; when the main body of a stack of hay stood safe, the top being loosened by the violence of the wind, the hay was driven up into the air, and flew about like feathers, that it was entirely lost, and hung about in the neighbouring trees, and spread on the ground for a great distance, and so perfectly separated, that there was no gathering it together.
Barley and oats suffered the same casualty, only that the weight of the corn settled it sooner to the ground than the hay.
As to the stacks of wheat, the accounts are very strange; from many places we have letters, and some so incredible, that we dare not venture on the reader’s faith to transmit them, least they should shock their belief in those very strange relations already set down and better attested, as of a great stack of corn taken from the hovel on which it stood, and without dislocating the sheaves, set upon another Hovel, from whence the wind had just before removed another stack of equal dimensions; of a stack of wheat taken up with the wind, and set down whole 16 rod off, and the like. But as we have other relations equally strange, their truth considered, we refer the reader to them, and assure the world we have several accounts of stacks of wheat taken clear off from the frame or steddal, and set down whole, abundance more overset, and thrown off from their standings, and others quite dispersed, and in a great measure destroyed.
Reasons for Corn Being Cheap.
It is true, corn was exceeding cheap all the winter after, but they who bring that as a reason to prove there was no great quantity destroyed, are obliged to bear with me in telling them they are mistaken, for the true reason was as follows:—
The stacks of corn in some countries, the west chiefly, where the people generally lay up their corn in stacks, being so damnifyed as above, and the barns in all parts being universally uncovered, and a vast number of them overturned, and blown down, the country people were under a necessity of thrashing out their born with all possible speed, least if a rain had followed, as at that time of year was not unlikely, it might have been all spoiled.
And it was a special providence to those people also, as well as to us in London, that it did not rain, at least to any quantity, for near three weeks after the storm.
Besides this, the country people were obliged to thrash out their corn for the sake of the straw, which they wanted to repair the thatch, and covering of their barns, in order to secure the rest.
All these circumstances forced the corn to market in unusual quantities, and that by consequence made it cheaper than ordinary, and not the exceeding quantity then in store.
The seats of the gentlemen in all places had an extraordinary share in the damage; their parks were in many places perfectly dismantled, the trees before their doors levelled, their garden walls blown down, and I could give a list, I be lieve, of a thousand seats in England, within the compass of our collected papers, who had from 5 to 20 stacks of chimnies blown down, some more, some less, according to the several dimensions of the houses.
I am not obliging the reader to comply with the calculations here following, and it, would have taken up too much room in this small tract to name particulars; but according to the best estimate I have been able to make from the general accounts sent up by persons forward to have this matter recorded, the following particulars are rather under than over the real truth.
25 parks in the several countries, who have above 1000 trees in each park blown down.
New forest in Hampshire above 4000, and some of prodigious bigness; above 450 parks and groves, who have from 200 large trees to 1000 blown down in them.
Above 100 churches covered with lead, the lead rolled up, the churches uncovered; and on some of them, the lead in prodigious quantities blown to incredible distances from the church.
Above 400 windmills overset, and broken to pieces; or the sails so blown round, that the timbers and wheels have heat and set the rest on fire, and so burnt them down, as particularly several were in the Isle of Ely.
Seven steeples quite blown down, besides abondance of pinnacles and battlements from those which stood; and the churches where it happened most of them dem<dished or terribly shattered.
Above 800 dwelling homes blown down, in most of which the inhabitants received some braise or wounds, and many lost their lives.
We have reckoned, including the City of London, about 123 people killed; besides such as we have had no account of; the number of people drowned are not easily guessed; but by all the calculations I have made and seen made, we are within compass, if we reckon 8000 men lost, including what were lost on the coast of Holland, what in ships blown away, and never heard d, and what were drowned in the flood of the Severn, and in the river of Thames.
What the loss, how many poor families ruined, is not to be estimated, the fire of London was an exceeding loss, and was by some reckoned at four millions sterling; which, though it was a great loss, and happened upon the spot where vast quantities of goods being exposed to the fury of the flames, were destroyed in a hurry, and 14000 dwelling houses entirely consumed.
Yet on the other hand, that desolation was confined to s small space, the loss fell on the wealthiest part of the people; but this loss is universal, and its extent general, not a house, not a family that had anything to lose, but have lost something by the storm, the sea, the land, the houses, the churches, the corn, the trees, the rivers, all have felt the fury of the winds.
I cannot, therefore, think I speak too large, if I say, I am of the opinion, that the damage done by this tempest far exceeded the fire of London.
They tell us the damages done by the tide, on the banks of the Severn, amounts to above 200,000 pounds, 15,000 sheep drowned in one level, multitudes of cattle, on all the sides, and the covering the lands with salt water is a damage cannot well be estimated. The high tide at Bristol spoiled or damnifyed 1500 hogsheadsLarge casks, or measures of capacity of about 50 imperial gallons. of sugars and tobaccoes, besides great quantities of other goods.
It is impossible to describe the general calamity, and the most we can do is, to lead our reader to supply by his imagination what we omit; and to believe, that us the head of the particulars is thus collected, as infinite variety at the same time happened in every place, which cannot be ex pected to be found in this relation.
There are some additional remarks to be made as to this tempest, which I cannot think improper to come in here: as,
1. That in some parts of England it was joined with terrible lightnings and flashings of fire, and in other places none at all; as to thunder, the noise the wind made, was so terrible, and so unusual, that I will not say people might not mistake it for thunder; but I have not met with any, who will be positive that they heard it thunder.
2. Others, as in many letters we have received to that purpose, insist upon it, that they felt an earthquake; and this I am doubtful of, for several reasons.
1st. We find few people either in city or country ventured out of their houses, or at least till they were forced out, and I cannot find any voucher to this opinion of an earthquake, from those whose feet stood upon the terra firma, felt it move, and will affirm it to be so.
2nd. As to all those people who were in houses, I cannot allow them to be competent judges, for as no house was so strong as not to move and shake with the force of the wind, so it must be impossible for them to distinguish whether that motion came from above or below. As to those in ships, they will not pretend to be competent judges in this case, and I think the people within doors as improper to decide, for what might not that motion they felt in their houses, from the wind do, that an earthquake could do. We found it rocked the strongest buildings, and in several places made the bells in the steeples strike, loosened the foundations of the houses, and in some blew them quite down, but still if it had been an earthquake, it must have been felt in every house, and every place; and whereas in those streets of London, where the houses stand thick and well built, they could not be so shaken with the wind as in opener places; yet there the other would have equally been felt, and better distinguished; and this particularly by the watch, who stood on the ground, under shelter of public buildings, as in St. Paul’s church, the Exchange gates, the gates of the city, and such like; wherefore, as I am not for handing to posterity any matter of fact upon ill evidence, so I cannot transmit what has its foundation only in the amazements of the people.
It is true that there was an earthquake felt in the North-east parts of the kingdoms, about a month afterwards, of which several letters here inserted make mention, and one very particularly from Hull; but that there was any such thing as an earthquake during the storm, I cannot agree.
Another remarkable thing I have observed, and have several letters to show of the water which fell in the storm, being brackish, and at Cranbrook in Kent, which is at least 16 miles from the sea, and above 25 (torn any part of the sea to windward, from whence the wind could bring any moisture, for it could not he supposed to fly against the wind; the grass was so salt, the cattle would not eat for several days, from whence the ignorant people suggested another miracle, viz.) that it rained salt water.
The answer to this, I leave to two letters printed in the Philosophical Transactions, as follows,
Part of a letter from Mr, Denham to the Royal Society.
Sir, — I have just now, since my writing, received an account from a Clergyman, an intelligent person at Lewes in Sussex, not only that the storm made great desolations thereabouts, but also an odd Phenomenon occasioned by it, viz.: That a Physician travelling soon after the Storm to Tisehyrst, about 20 miles from Lewes, and as far from the sea, as he rode he pluck't some tops of hedges, and chawing them found them salt. Some ladies of Lewes hearing this, tasted some grapes that were still on the vines, and they also had the same relish. The grass on the downs in his parish was so salt, that the sheep in the morning would not feed till hunger compelled them, and afterwards drank like fishes, as the shepherds report. This he attributeth to saline particles driven from the sea. He heareth also, that people about Portsmouth were much annoyed with sulphurous fumes, complaining they were most suffocated therewith.
F. Part of a Letter from Mr. Anthony van Lauwenhoek, F.R,S., giving his Observations on the late Storm.
Delft, Jan. 8, 1704 N.S.
Sir, — I affirmed in my letter of the 3d of November last past, that water may be so dash’d and beaten against the banks and dikes by a strong wind, and divided into such small particles, as to be carried far up into the land.
Upon the 8th of December, 1703 N.S., we had a dreadful storm from the south-west, insomuch, that the water mingled with small parts of chalk and stone, was so dasht against the glass-windows, that many of them were darkned therewith, and the lower windows of my house, which are made of very fine glass, and always kept well scower’d, and were not open’d till 8 a-clock that morning, notwithstanding that they look to the north-east, and consequently stood from the wind, and moreover, were guarded from the rain by a kind of shelf or pent-house over them, were yet so cover’d with the particles of the water which the whirlwind cast against them, that in less than half an hour they were deprived of most of their transparency, and, forasmuch as these particles of water were not quite exhaled, I concluded that it must be sea-water, which the said storm had not only dasht against our windows, but spread also over the whole country.
That I might be satisfied herein, I blow’d two small glasses, such as I thought most proper to make my observations with, concerning the particles of water that adhered to my windows.
Pressing these glasses gently against my windows, that were covered with the supposed particles of sea-water, my glasses were tinged with a few of the said particles.
These glasses, with the water I had thus collected on them, I placed at about half a foot distance from the candle, I view’d them by my microscope, reckoning, that by the warmth of the candle, and my face together, the particles of the said water would be put into such a motion, that they would exhale for the most part, and the salts that were in ’em would be expos’d naked to the sight, and so it happened, for in a little time a great many salt particles did, as it were, come out of the water, having the figure of our common salt, but very small, because the water was little from whence those small particles proceeded; and where the water had lain very thin upon the glass, there were indeed a great number of salt particles, but so exceeding fine, that they almost escaped the sight through a very good microscope.
From whence I concluded, that these glass windows could not be brought to their former lustre, but by washing them with a great deal of water; for if the air were very clear, and the weather dry, the watery particles would soon exhale, but the salts would cleave fast to the glass, which said salts would be again dissolv’d in moist weather, and sit like dew or mist upon the windows.
And accordingly my people found it when they came to wash the afore-mentioned lower windows of my house; but as to the upper windows, where the rain had beat against them, there was little or no salt to be found sticking upon that glass.
Now, if we consider what a quantity of sea-water is spread all over the country by such a terrible storm, and consequently, how greatly impregnated the air is with the same; we ought not to wonder, that such a quantity of water, being moved with so great a force, should do so much mischief to chimneys, tops of houses, &c., not to mention the damages at sea.
During the said storm, and about 8 a-clock in the morning, I cast my eye upon my barometerAn instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure, using either liquids, such as water or mercury, or springs, and observed, that I had never seen the quick-silver so low; but half an hour after the quick-silver began to rise, tho’ the storm was not at all abated, at least to any appearance; from whence I concluded, and said it to those that were about me, that the storm would not last long, and so it happened.
There are some that affirm, that the scattering of this salt water by the storm will do a great deal of harm to the fruits of the earth; but for my part I am of a quite different opinion, for I believe that a little salt spread over the surface of the earth, especially where it is heavy clay ground, does render it exceeding fruitful; and so it would be, if the sand out of the sea were made use of to the same purpose.
These letters are too well, and too judiciously written to need any comment of mine; ’tis plain, the watery particles taken up from the sprye of the sea into the air, might, by the impetuosity of the winds be carried a great way,. and if it had been much farther, it would have been no miracle in my account; and this is the reason, why I have not related these things, among the extraordinary articles of the storm.
That the air was full of meteors and fiery vapours, and that the extraordinary motion occasioned the firing more of them than usual, a small stock of philosophy will make very rational; and of these we have various accounts, more in some places than in others, and I am apt to believe these were the lightnings we have been told of; for I am of opinion that there was really no lightning, such as we call so in the common acceptation of it; for the clouds that flew with so much violence through the air, were not, as to my observation, such as usually are freighted with thunder and lightning, the hurries nature was then in, do not consist with the system of thunder, which is air pent in between the clouds; and as for the clouds that were seen here flying in the air, they were by the fury of the winds so separated, and in such small bodies that there was no room for a collection suitable, and necessary to the case we speak of.
These cautions I thought necessary to set down here, for the satisfaction of the curious; and as they are only my opinions, I submit them to the judgment of the reader.