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The Storm: 3 - the Damages on the Water

As this might consist of several parts, I was inclined to have divided it into sections or chapters, relating particularly to the public loss, and the private; to the merchant, or the navy, to floods by the tides, to the river damage, and that of the sea; but for brevity, I shall confine it to the following particulars:

Firstly — The damage to trade.
Secondly — The damage to the Royal Navy.
Thirdly — The damage by high tides.

First — Of the Damage to Trade.

I might call it a damage to trade, that this season was both for some time before and after the tempest, so exceeding and so continually stormy, that the seas were in a manner unnavigable and negoce, at a kind of a general stop, and when the storm was over, and the weather began to be tolerable, almost all the shipping in England was more or less out of repair, for there was very little shipping in the nation, bat what had received some damage or other.

It is impossible, but a nation so full of shipping as this, must be exceeding sufferers in such a general disaster, and who ever considers the violence of this storm by its other dreadful effects will rather wonder, and be thankful that we received no farther damage, than we shall be able to give an account of by sea.

I have already observed what fleets were in the several ports of this nation, and from whence they came. As to ships lost of whom we have no other account than that they were never heard of, I am not able to give any particulars, other than that about three and forty sail of all sorts are reckoned to have perished in that manner. I mean of such ships as were at sea, when the storm, began and had no shelter or port to make for their safety. Of these, some were of the Russia fleet, of whom we had an account of 20 sail lost the week before the great storm, but most of them reached the ports of Newcastle, Humber, and Yarmouth, and some of the men suffered in the general distress afterwards.

But to proceed to the most general disasters, by the same method, as in the former articles of damages by land. Several persons having given themselves the trouble to farther this design with authentic particulars from the respective ports, I conceive we cannot give the world a clearer and more satisfactory relation than from their own words.

The first account, and placed so, because ’tis very authentic and particular, and the farthest port westward, and therefore proper to begin our relation, is from on board Her Majesty’s ship the Dolphin, in Milford haven, and sent to us by Capt. Soanes, the commodore of a squadron of men-of-war then in that harbor, to whom the public is very much obliged for the relation, and which we thought ourselves bound here to acknowledge. The account is as follows —

Sir, — Reading the advertisement in the Gazette of your intending to print the many sad accidents in the late dreadful storm, induced me to let you know what this place felt, tho’ a very good harbour. Her Majesty’s ships the Cumberland, Coventry, Loo, Hastings, and Hector, being under my command, with the Rye, a cruiser on this station, and under our convoy about 130 merchant ships bound about land; the 26th of November, at one in the afternoon, the wind came at S. by E. a hard gale, between which and N.W. by W. it came to a dreadful storm; at three the next morning was the violentest of the weather, when the Cumberland broke her sheet anchor, the ship driving near this, and the Rye, both narrowly escap’d carrying away; she drove very near the rocks, having but one anchor left, but in a little time. they slung a gun, with the broken anchor fast to it, which they let go, and wonderfully preserved the ship from the shoar. Guns firing from one ship or other all the night for help, tho’ ’twas impossible to assist each other, the sea was so high, and the darkness of the night such, that we could not see where any one was, but by the flashes of the guns; when daylight appeared, it was a dismal sight to behold the ships driving up and down one foul of another, without masts, some sunk, and others upon the rocks, the wind blowing so hard, with thunder, lightning, and rain, that on the deck a man could not stand without holding. Some drove from Dale, where they were sheltered under the land, and split in pieces, the men all drowned: two others drove out of a creek, one on the shoar so high up was saved, the other on the rocks in another creek, and bulg’d; an Irish ship that lay with a rock thro’ her, was lifted by the sea clear away to the other side of the creek on a safe place; one ship forced 10 miles up the river before she could be stopp’d, and several strangely blown into holes, and on banks; a ketch, of Pembroke was drove on the rocks, the two men and a boy in her had no boat to save their lives, but in this great distress a boat which broke from another ship drove by them, without any in her, the two men leap into her, and were sav’d, but the boy drown’d; a prize at Pembroke was lifted on the bridge, whereon is a mill, which the water blew up, but the vessel got oft again; another vessel carried almost into the gateway which leads to the bridge, and is a road, the tide flowing several foot above its common course. The storm continued till the 27th, about 3 in the afternoon; that by computation nigh 30 merchant ships and vessels without masts are lost, and what men are lost is not known; 3 ships are missing, that We suppose men and all lost. None of Her Majesty’s ships came to any harm; but the Cumberland breaking her anchor in a storm which happened the 18th at night, lost another, which renders her uncapable of proceeding with us till supply’d. I saw several trees and houses which are blown down. — Your humble Servant, Jos. Soanes.

The next account we have from the Reverend Mr. Thomas Chest, Minister of Chepstow, whose ingenious account being given in his own words, gives the best acknowledgement for his forwarding and approving this design.

Sir, — Upon the evening of Friday, Nov. 26, 1703, the wind was very high; but about midnight it broke out with a more than wonted violence, and so continued till near break of day. It ended a N.W. wind, tho’ about 3 in the morning it was at S.W. The loudest cracks I observed of it, were somewhat before four of the clock; we had here the common calamityDisaster of houses shatter’d and trees thrown down.

But the wind throwing the tyde very strongly into the Severn, and so into the Wye, on which Chepstow is situated. And the fresh in Wye meeting,with a rampant tide, overflowed the lower part of our town. It came into several houses about 4 foot high, rather more; the greatest damage sustained in houses, was by the makers of Salt, perhaps their loss might amount to near 200l.

But the bridge was a strange sight; it stands partly in Monmouthshire and partly in Gloucestershire, and is built mostly of wood, with a stone peer in the midst, the centre of which divides the two counties; there are also stone platforms in the bottom of the river to bear the woodwork. I doubt not but those stone platforms were covered then by the great fresh that came down the river. But over these there are wooden standards fram’d into peers 42 foot high; besides groundsils, cap-heads, sleepers, planks, and (on. each side of the bridge) rails which may make about 6 foot more, the tyde came over them all. The length of the wooden part of the bridge in Monmouthshire is 60 yards exactly, and thereabout in Gloucestershire; the Gloucestershire side suffered but little, but in Monmouthshire side the planks were most of them carried away, the sleepers (about a tunA large beer or wine cask, also formerly used to describe the capacity of ships. by measure each) were many of them carried away, and several removed, and ’tis not doubted but the great wooden peers would have gone too; but it was so, that the outward sleepers on each side the bridge were pinn’d or bolted to the cap-heads, and so kept them in their places.

All the level land on the south part of Monmouthshire, called the Moors, was overflowed; it is a tract of land about 20 miles long, all level, save 2 little points of high land, or 3; the breadth of it is not all of one size, the broadest part is about 2 miles and ½, This tyde came 5 tydes before the top of the spring, according to the usual run, which surprised the people very much. Many of their cattle got to shore, and some dy’d after they were landed. It is thought by a moderate computation, they might lose in hay and cattle, between 3 and 4000l. I cannot hear of any person drown’d, save only one servant man, that ventured in quest of his master’s cattle. The people were carried off, some by boats, some otherways, the days following; the last that came off (that I can hear of) were on Tuesday evening, to be sure they were uneasy and astonished in that interval. There are various reports about the height of this tide in the Moors, comparing it with that in Jan., 1606. But the account that seems likeliest to me, is, that the former tyde ran somewhat higher than this. ’Tis thought most of their land will be worth but little these 2 or three years, and ’tis known, that the repairing the sea walls will be very chargeable.

Gloucestershire too, that borders upon Severn, hath suffered deeply on the forrest of Deane side, but nothing in comparison of the other shore; from about Harlingham down to the mouth of Bristol Bivor Avon, particularly, from Avon Cliffe to the river’s mouth (about 8 miles) all that flat, called the Marsh, was drown’d. They lost many sheep and cattle. About 70 seamen were drown’d out of the Canterbury store-ship, and other ships that were stranded or wreck’d. The Arundel man-of-war, Suffolk and Canterbury storeships, a French prize, and a Dane, were driven ashore and damnified; but the Arundel and the Danish ship are got off, the rest remain on ground. The Richard and John, of about 500 tun, newly come into King road from Virginia, was staved. The Shoram rode it out in King road; but I suppose you may have a perfect account of these things from Bristol. But one thing yet is to be remembred, one Nelms of that country, as I hear his name, was carried away with his wife and 4 children, and house and all, and were lost, save only one ‘girl, who caught hold of a bough, and was preserved.

There was another unfortunate accident yet in these parts, one Mr. Churchman, that keeps the inns at Betesley, a passage over the Severn, and had a share in the passing boats, seeing a single man tossed in a wood-bus off in the river, prevailed with some belonging to the customs, to carry himself and one of his sons and 2 servants aboard the boat, which they did, and the officers desired Mr. Churchman to take out the man, and come ashore with them in their pinnace. But he, willing to save the boat as well as the man, tarried aboard, and sometime after hoisting sail, the boat overset, and they were all drowned, viz., the man in the boat, Mr. Churchman, his son and 2 servants, and much lamented, especially Mr. Churchman and his son, who were persons very useful in their neighbourhood. This happened on Saturday, about 11 of the clock. — Your humble Servant, Tho. Chest.

Mr. Tho. Little, Minister of Church, in Lynn, in the county of Norfolk, being requested to give in the particulars of what happened thereabouts, gave the following short, but very pertinent, account.

Sir, — I had answer’d yours sooner, but that I was willing to get the best information I could of the effect of the late dismal storm amongst us; I have advis’d with our merchants and ship masters, and find that we have lost from the port 7 ships, damage whereof at a modest computation, amounts to 3000l.; the men that perished in them are reckon’d about 20 in number. There is another ship missing though we are not without hopes that she is gone northward, the value of ship and cargo about 1500l.

The damage sustained in the buildings of the town is computed at 1000l. at least. — I am, your faithful friend and Servant, Tho. Little.

Lyn, Jan 17, 1704.

We have had various accounts from Bristol, but as they all contain something of the same in general, only differently expressed, the following, as the most positively asserted, and best expressed, is recorded for the public information.

Sir, — Observing your desire, (lately signified in the Gazette) to be further informed concerning the effects of the late dreadful tempest, in order to make a collection thereof. I have presumed to present you with the following particulars concerning Bristol, and the parts near adjacent, being an eye-witness of the same, or the majority of it. On Saturday the 27th of Nov. last, between the hours of one and two in the morning, arose a most prodigious storm of wind, which continued with very little intermission for the space of six hours, in which time it very much shattered the buildings, both public and private, by uncovering the houses, throwing down the chimneys, breaking the glass windows, overthrowing the pinnacles and battlements of the churches, and blowing off the leads. The churches in particular felt the fury of the storm. St. Stephen’s tower had three pinnacles blown off, which beat down the greatest part of the church. The cathedral is likewise very much defac’d, two of its windows, and several battlements being blown away; and, indeed, most churches in the city felt its force more or less; it also blew down abundance of great trees in the Marsh, College-green, St. James’s Church-yard, and other places in the city. And in the country it blew down and scattered abundance of hay and corn mows, besides almost levelling many orchards and groves of stout trees. But the greatest damage done to the city was the violent overflowing of the tide, occasioned by the force of the wind, which flowed an extraordinary height, and did abundance of damage to the merchants cellers. It broke in with great fury over tho marsh country, forcing down the banks or sea-walls, drowning abundance of sheep, and other cattle, washing some houses clear away, and breaking down part of others, in which many persons lost their lives. It likewise drove most of the ships in Kingroad a considerable way upon the land, some being much shatter'd, and one large vessel broke all in pieces, and near all the men lost, besides several lost out of other vessels. To conclude, the damage sustained by this city alone in merchandise, computed to an hundred thousand pounds, besides the great loss in the country, of cattel, corn, &c., which has utterly ruined many farmers, whose substance consisted in their stock of horse hay. So having given you the most material circumstances, and fatal effects of this great tempest in these parts, I conclude your (unknown) friend and Servant, Danial James.

From Huntspill, in Somersetshire, we have the following account from, as we suppose, the minister of the place, though unknown to the collector of this work.

Sir, — The parish of Huntspill hath received great damage by the late inundation of the salt water, particularly the west part thereof suffered most: for on the 27th day of November last, about four of the clock in the morning, a mighty south-west wind blew so strong as (in a little time) strangely tore our sea walls; insomuch, that a considerable part of the said walls were laid smooth, after which the sea coming in with great violence, drove in five vessels belonging to Bridgewater Key out of the channel, upon a wharf in our parish, which lay some distance off from the channel, and there they were all grounded; it is said, that the seamen there fathomed the depth, and found it about nine foot, which was taken notice to be four foot above our walls when standing; the salt water soon overflowed all the west end of the parish, forcing many of the inhabitants from their dwellings, and to shift for their lives: the water threw down several houses, and in one an antient woman was drowned, being about fourscore years old: some families sheltered themselves in the church, and there staid till the waters were abated: three window leaves of the town were blown down, and the ruff cast scaled off in many places: much of the lead of the church was damnify’d; the windows of the church and chancel much broken, and the chancel a great part of it untiled; the parsonage house, barn and walls received great damage; as also, did some of the neighbours to their houses; at the west end of the parsonage house stood a very large elm, which was four yards a quarter and half a quarter in the circumference, it was broken off near the ground by the wind, without forcing any one of the moars above the surface, but remained as they were before: the inhabitants (many of them) have received great losses in their sheep, and their other cattle; in their corn and hay there is great spoil made. This is what information I can give of the damage this parish hath sustained by the late dreadful tempest. I am, Sir, Your humble servant,

Sam. Wooddeson.

Huntspill, January, 6, 1704.

From Minehead, in Somersetshire, and Swansea, in Wales, the following accounts are to be depended upon.

Sir, — I received yours, and in answer to it these are to acquaint you, that all the ships in our harbour except two (which were 23 or 24 in number, besides fishing boats) were, through the violence of the storm, and the mooring posts giving way, drove from their anchors, one of them was staved to pieces, nine drove ashoar; but ’tis hoped will be got off again, though some of them are very much damnified: several of the fishing boats likewise, with their nets, and other necessaries were destroy’d. Three seamen were drowned in the storm, and one man was squeez’d to death last Wednesday, by one of the ships that was forc’d ashoar, suddenly coming upon him, as they were digging round her, endeavouring to get her off.

Our peer also was somewhat damaged, and it is thought, if the storm had continued till another tide, it would have been quite washed away, even level to the ground; which if so, would infallibly have ruined our harbour: our church likewise, was almost all untiled, the neighbouring churches also received much damage: the houses of our town, and all the country round about, were most of them damaged; some (as I am credibly informed) blown down, and several in a great measure uncovered: trees also of a very great bigness were broken off in the middle, and vast numbers blown down; One gentleman, as he told me himself, having 2500 trees blown down.

I wish you good success in these your undertakings, and I pray God that this late great calamity which was sent upon as as a punishment for our sins, may be a warning to the whole nation in general, and engage every one of us to a hearty and sincere repentance; otherwise, I am afraid we must expect greater evils than this was to fall upon us. From your unknown friend and servant,

Frist Chave.


Swanzy, January 24, 1704.

Sir, — I received yours, and accordingly have made an enquiry in our neighbourhood what damage might be done in the late storm, thro’ mercy we escap’d indifferently, but you will find underwritten as much as I can learn to be certainly true. The storm began here about 12 at night, but the most violent part of it was about 4 the next morning, about which time the greatest part of the houses in the town were uncovered, more or less, and one house clearly blown down; the damage sustain'd to the houses is modestly computed at 200l., the south isle of the church was wholly uncovered, and considerable damage done to the other isles, and 4 large stones weighing about one hundred and fifty or two hundred pound each, was blown down from the end of the church, three of the four iron spears, that stood with vanes on the comers of the tower, were broke short off in the middle, and the vanes not to be found, and the tail of the weather cock, which stood in the middle of the tower was blown off, and found in a court near 400 yards distant from the tower. In Cline wood belonging to the Duke of Beaufort, near this town, there is about 100 large trees blown down; as also in a wood on our river belonging to Mr. Thomas Mansell, of Brittonferry about 80 large oakes. The tydes did not much damage, but two ships were blown off our bar, and by ProvidenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction. one came aground on the salt house point near our harbour, else the ship and men had perished; the other came on shore, but was saved. I hear farther, that there are several stacks of corn overturn’d by the violence of the wind, in the parishes of Roysily and IsTgenny in Gower; most of the thatcht houses in this neighbourhood was uncovered. Sir, this you may rely on to be true. Yours, &c.,

William Jones.

From Grimsby, in Lincolnshire, the following account is taken for favourable.

Sir, — The late dreadful tempest did not (blessed be God) much affect us on shore, so far was it from having any events more than common, that the usual marks of ordinary storms are not to be met with in these parts upon the land. I wish I could give as good an account of the ships then at anchor in our road, the whole fleet consisted of about an hundred sail, fifty whereof were wanting after the storm. The wrecks of four are to be seen in the road at low water, their men all lost, three more were sunk near the Spurn, all the men but one saved, six or seven were driven ashoar, and got off again with little or no damage. A small boy, not having a man on board, was taken at sea, by a merchant ship, what became of the rest, we are yet to learn. This is all the account I am able to give of the effects of the late storm, which was so favourable to us. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,

Tho. Fairweather.

From Newport and Hastings, the following accounts are chiefly mentioned to confirm what we have from other inland parts, and particularly in the letter printed in the Philosophical Transactions, concerning the salt being found on the grass and trees, at great distance from the sea, of which there are very authentic relations.

Sir, — I received yours, and do hereby give you the best account of what hapned by the late storm in our island; we have had several trees blown down, and many houses in our town, and all parts of the island partly uncovered, but blessed be God, not one person perisht that I know or have heard of; nor one ship or vessel stranded on our shores in that dreadful storm, but only one vessel laden with tin, which was driven from her anchors in Cornwal, but was not stranded here till the Tuesday after, having spent her main-mast and all her sails. On Sunday night last, we had several ships and vessels stranded on the south and south-west parts of our island; but reports are so various, that I cannot tell you how many, some say 7, other 8, 12, and some say 15; one or two laden with cork, and two or three with Portugal wine, oranges, and lemons, one with hides and butter, one with sugar, one with pork, beef and oatmeal, and one with slates. Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday, came on the back of our island, and some in at the Needles, the fleet that went out with the King of Spain, but it has been here such a dreadful storm, and such dark weather till this afternoon, that we can give no true account of them; some say that have been at the wrecks this afternoon, that there were several great ships coming in then: there is one thing I had almost forgotten, and I think is very remarkable, that there was found on the hedges and twigs of trees, knobs of salt congealed, which must come from the south and south-west parts of our sea coast, and was seen and tasted at the distance of 6 and 10 miles from those seas, and this account I had myself from the mouths of several gentlemen of undeniable reputation.

Yours, Tho. Reade.


Hastings, in Sussex, Jan. 25, 1704.

Sir, — You desire to know what effect the late dreadful storm of wind had upon this town; in answer to your desire, take the following account This town consists of at least 600 houses, besides two great churches, some publick buildings, many shops standing upon the beach near the sea, and yet by the special blessing and providenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction. of God, the whole town suffered not above 30l. or 40l. damage in their houses, churches, publick building and shops, and neither man, woman or child suffered the least hurt by the said terrible storm. The town stands upon the sea shore, but God be thanked the sea did us no damage; and the tydes were not so great as we have seen upon far less storms. The wind was exceeding boisterous, which might drive the froth and sea moisture six or seven miles up the country, for at that distances from the sea, the leaves of the trees and bushes, were as salt as if they had been dipped in the sea, which can be imputed to nothing else, but the violent winds carrying the frofth and moisture so far. I believe it may be esteemed almost miraculous that our town escaped so well in the late terrible storm, and therefore I have given you this account. I am, Sir, your friend,

Stephen Gawen.

The following melancholy account from the town of Brighthemstone, in Sussex, is sent us.

Sir, — The late dreadful tempest in November 27, 1703 last, had very terrible effects in this town. It began here much about one of the clock in the morning, the violence of the wind stript a great many houses, turn’d up the. leads off the church, overthrew two windmills, and laid them flat on the ground, the town in general (upon the approach of daylight) looking as if it had been bombarded. Several vessels belonging to this town were lost, others stranded, and driven ashoar, others forced over to Holland and Hamborough, to the great impoverishment of the place. Derick Pain, Junior, master of the Elizabeth ketch of this town lost, with all his company. George Taylor, master of the ketch call’d the Happy Entrance, lost, and his company, excepting Walter Street, who swimming three days on a mast between the Downs and North Yarmouth, was at last taken up. Richard Webb, master of the ketch call’d the Richard and Rose, of Brighthelmston, lost, and all his company, near St. Hellens. Edward Friend, master of the ketch called Thomas and Francis, stranded near Portsmouth. Edward Glover, master of the pink call’d Richard and Benjamin, stranded near Chichester, lost one of his men, and he, and the rest of his company, forced to hang in the shrouds several hours. George Beach, junior, master of the pink call’d Mary, driven over to Hamborough from the Downes, having lost his anchor, cables and sails. Robert Kichener, master of the Cholmley pink of Brighton, lost near the Roseant with nine men, five men and a boy saved by another vessel. This is all out of this town, besides the loss of several other able seamen belonging to this place, aboard of her Majesty’s ships, transports and tenders.


From Lymington and Lyme, we have the following letters.

Sir, — I received your letter, and have made enquiry concerning what disasters happen’d during the late storm; what I can learn at present, and that may be credited, are these, that a Gunisey privateer lost his fore-topmast, and cut his. mainmast by the board, had 12 men wash’d overboard, and by the toss of another immediate sea three of them was put on board again, and did very well; this was coming within the needles. That six stacks of chimneys were, by the violence of the wind, blown from a great house call’d New Park in the forrest, some that stood directly to windward, were blown clear off the house without injuring the roof, or damaging the house, or any mischief to the inhabitants, and fell some yards from the house. Almost 4000 trees were torn up by the roots within her Majesty’s forrest call’d New Forrest, some of them of very great bulk, others small, &c A ship of about 200 tun, from Maryland, laden with tobacco, called the Assistance, was cast away upon Hurst Beach, one of the mates, and 4 sailors, were lost. By the flowing of the sea over Hurst Beach, two salterns were almost ruined, belonging to one Mr. Perkins. A new barn, nigh this town, was blown quite down. The town received not much damage, only some houses being stript of the healing, windows broke, and a chimney or two blown down. Considerable damages amongst the farmers in the adjacent places, by overturning barns, out-houses, stacks of corn and hay, and also amongst poor families, and small houses, and likewise abundance of trees of all sorts, especially elms and apple-trees, has been destroyed upon the several gentlemen’s and others estates hereabouts. These are the most remarkable accidents that I can collect at present; if anything occur, it shall be sent you by — Your humble servant, Lymington, Feb. 1704. James Baker.

A true and exact account of the damages done by the late great wind in the town of Lyme Regis, and parts adjacent in the county of Dorset, as followeth.

Sir, — Impri. Five boats drove out of the cob and one vessel lost, broke loose all but one cabel, and swung out of the cob, but was got in again with little damage; and had that hurricane happened here at high water, the cob must, without doubt, have been destroyed, and all the vessels in it been lost, most of the houses had some damage: but a great many trees blown up by the roots in our neighbourhood, and four miles to the eastward of this town: A Guernsey privateer of eight guns, and 43 men drove ashoar, and but three men saved of the 43; the place where the said privateer run ashoar is call’d Sea Town, half a mile from Chidock, where most of there houses were uncovered, and one man killed as he lay in bed: this is the true account here, but all villages suffered extremely in houses, trees, both elem and apples without number — Sir, I am your humble servant,

Stephen Bowdidge,


From Margate, and the island of Thanet in Kent, the following is an honest account.

Sir, — The following account is what I can give you, of what damage is done in this island in the late great storm; in this town hardly a house escaped without damage, and for the most part of them the tiles blown totally off from the roof, and several chimneys blown down, that broke through* part of the houses to the ground, and several families very narrowly escaped being kill’d in their beds, being by Providence just got up, so that they escaped, and none was kill’ d; the like damages being done in most little towns and villages upon this island, as likewise barns, stables and out-housing blown down to the ground in a great many farm-houses and villages within the island, part of the leads of our church blown clear off, and a great deal of damage to the church itself; likewise a great deal of damage to the churches of St. Lawrance Minster, Mounton, and St. Nichola: in this road was blown out one Latchford, of Sandwich, bound home from London, with divers men and women passengers all totally lost: and another little pink, that is not heard of, blown away at the same time, but where it belonged is not known; here rid out the storm the Princess Anne, Captain Charles Gye, and the Swan, both hospital ships, had no damage, only Captain Gye was parted from one of his anchors, and part of a cable which was weigh’d and carry’d after him to the river, by one of our hookers. All from

Yours to command,

P. H.

From Maiden, in Essex, and from Southampton, the following accounts.

Sir, — By the late great storm our damages were considerable. A spire of a steeple blown down: several vessels in this harbour were much shatter’d, particularly one corn vessel laden for London, stranded, and the corn lost to the value of about 500l., and the persons narrowly escaped by a small boat, that relieved them next day: many houses ript up, and some blown down: the churches shatter'd, and the principal inn of this town, thirty or forty pounds damage in tilling. At a gentleman’s house (one Mr. Moses Bourton) near us, a stack of chimneys blown down, fell through the roof upon a bed, where his children was, who were drag’d out, and they narrowly escaped; many other chimneys blown down here, and much mischief done.

Southampton, February the 17th, 1704. Sir, — Tours I have received, in which you desire me to give you an account of what remarkable damage the late violent storm hath done at this place; in answer, we had most of the ships in our river, and those that laid off from our keys blown ashoar, some partly torn to wrecks, and three or four blown so far on shoar with the violence of the wind, that the owners have been at the charges of unlading them, and dig large channels for the Spring Tides to float them off, and with much a do have got them off, it being on a Boh sand or mud, had but little damage; we had, God be praised, no body drowned, tho’ some narrowly escape't: as to our town it being most part old building, we have suffer’d much, few or no houses have escape’t: several stacks of chimneys blown down, other houses most part untiled: several people bruis’d, but none kill’d: abundance of trees round about us, especially in the New Forest, blown down; others with their limbs of a great bigness torn: it being what we had, most material. I rest. Sir, your humble Servant,

Geo. Powell.

We have abundance of strange accounts from other parts, and particularly the following letter from the Downs, and though every circumstance in this letter is not literally true, as to the number of ships, or lives lost, and the style coarse, and sailor-like; yet I have inserted this letter, because it seems to describe the horror and consternation the poor sailors were in at that time. And because this is written from one, who was as near an eye witness as any could possibly be; and be safe.

Sir, — These lines I hope in God will find you in good health; we are all left here in a dismal condition, expecting every moment to be all drowned: for here is a great storm, and is very likely to continue; we have here the rear admiral of the blew in the ship call’d the Mary, a third rateA British navy ship of the line, carrying between 64 and 80 guns, usually with two gun decks., the very next ship to ours, sunk, with Admiral Beaumont, and above 500 men drowned: the ship call’d the Northumberland, a third rate, about 500 men all sunk and drowned: the ship call’d the Sterling castle, a third rate, all sunk and drowned above 500 souls: and the ship call’d the RestorationThe restoration of the monarchy and the return to a pre-civil war form of government in 1660, following the collapse of the Protectorate., a third rate, all sunk and drowned: these ships were all close by us which I saw; these ships fired their guns all night and day long, poor souls, for help, but the storm being so fierce and raging, could have none to save them: the ship called the Shrewsberry, that we are in, broke two anchors, and did run mighty fierce backwards, with 60 or 80 yards of the sands, and as God Almighty would have it, we flung our sheet anchor down, which is the biggest, and so stopt: here we all pray’d to God to forgive us our sins, and to save us, or else to receive us into his heavenly kingdom. If our sheet anchor had given way, we had been all drown’d: but I humbly thank God, it was his gracious mercy that saved us. There’s one, Captain Fanel’s ship, three hospital ships, all split, some sunk, and most of the men drown’d.

There are above 40 merchant ships cast away and sunk: to see Admiral Beaumont, that was next us, and all the rest of his men, how they climbed up the main mast, hundreds at a time crying out for help, and thinking to save their lives and in the twinkling of an eye, were drown’d: I can give you no account, but of these four men-of-war aforesaid, which I saw with my own eyes, and those hospital ships, at present, by reason the storm hath drove us far distant from one another: Captain Crow, of our ship, believes we have lost several more ships of war, by reason we see so few; we lye here in great danger, and waiting for a north-easterly wind to bring us to Portsmouth, and it is our prayers to God for it; for we know not how soon this storm may arise, and cut us all off, for it is a dismal place to anchor in. I have not had my cloaths off, nor a wink of sleep these four nights, and have got my death with cold almost.

Yours to command.

Miles Nobcliffe.

I send this, having opportunity by our botes, that went ashore to carry some poor men off, that were almost dead, and were taken up swimming.

The following letter is yet more particular and authentic, and being better expressed, may further describe the terror of the night in this place.

Sir, — I understand you are a person concerned in making up a collection of some remarkable accidents that happened by the violence of the late dreadful storm. I here present you with one of the like. I presume you never heard before nor hope may never hear again of a ship that was blown from her anchors out of Helford Haven to the Isle of Wight, in less than eight hours, viz:— the ship lay in Helford Haven about two leagues and a half westward of Falmouth, being laden with tin, which was taken on board from Guague Wharf, about five or six miles up Helford river, the commanders name was Anthony Jenkins, who lives at Falmouth. About eight a-clock in the evening before the storm begun, the said commander and mate came on board, and ordered the crew that he left on board, which was but one man and two boys: that if the wind should chance to blow hard (which he had some apprehension of) to carry out the small bower anchor, and moor the ship by 2 anchors, and gave them some other orders, and his mate and he went ashore, and left the crew aforesaid on board; about nine a-clock the wind began to blow, then they carried out the small bower (as directed), it continued blowing harder and harder at west-north-west, at last the ship began to drive, then they were forced to let go the best bower anchor, which brought the ship up. The storm increasing more, they let go the kedge anchor, which was all they had to let go, so that the ship rid with four anchors a head: between eleven and twelve a-clock, the wind came about west and by south in a most terrible and violent manner, that, notwithstanding a very high hill just to. windward of the ship, and four anchors ahead, she was drove from all her anchors; and about twelve a-clock drove out of the harbour without, anchor or cable, nor so much as a boat left in case they could put into any harbour. In dreadful condition the ship drove out clear of the rocks to sea, where the man with the two boys consulted what to do, at last resolved to keep her far enough to sea, for fear of Deadman’s head, being a point of land be tween Falmouth and Plimouth, the latter of which places they designed to run her in, if possible, to save their lives; the next morning in this frighted condition they steer’d her clear of the land (to the best of their skill) sometimes almost under water, and sometimes a top, with only the bonet of her foresail out, and the fore yard almost lower’d to the deck; but instead of getting into Plimouth next day as intended, they were far enough off that port, for the next morning they saw land, which proved to be Peverel Point, a little to the westward of the Isle of Wight: so that they were in a worse consternation then before, for over-running their designed port by seven a-clock, they found themselves off the Isle of Wight; where they consulted again what to do to save their lives, one of the boys was for running her in the Downs, but that was objected against, by reason they had no anchors nor boat, and the storm blowing off shore in the Downs, they should be blown on the imfortunate Goodwin SandsA 10-mile long sandbank in the English Channel lying 6 miles off the Deal coast in Kent, England. and lost Now comes the last consultation for their lives, there was one of the boys said he had been in a certain creek in the Isle of Wight, were between the rocks he believed there was room enough to run the ship in and save their lives, and desired to have the helm from the man, and he would venture to steer the ship into the said place, which he according did, where there was only just room between rock and rock for the ship to come in, where she gave one blow or two against the rocks, and sunk immediately, but the man and two boys jumpt ashore, and all the lading being tin, was saved, (and for their conduct and risk they run) they were all very well gratified, and the merchants well satisfied. — Your friend and servant,
May, 28, 1704.

And here I cannot omit that great notice has been taken pf the townspeople of Deal who are blam’d, and I doubt not with too much reason for their great barbarity in neglecting to save the lives of abundance of poor wretches; who having hung upon the masts and rigging of the ships, or floated upon the broken pieces of wrecks, had gotten ashore upon the Goodwin Sands when the tide was out.

It was, without doubt, a sad spectacle to behold the poor seamen walking to and fro upon the sands, to view their postures, and the signals they made for help, which, by the assistance of glasses, was easily seen from the shore.

Here they had a few hours’ reprieve, but had neither present refreshment, nor any hopes of life, for they were sure to be all washed into another world at the reflux of the tide. Some boats are said to come very near them in quest of bootyValuable stolen goods, especially those seized in war., and in search of plunderThe violent and dishonest theft of property and possessions, and to carry off what they could get, but nobody concerned themselves for the lives of these miserable creatures.

And yet I cannot but insert what I have received from very good hands in behalf of one person in that town, whose humanity deserves this remembrance, and I am glad of the opportunity of doing some justice in this case to a man of so much charity in a town of so little.

Mr. Thomas Powell, of Deal, a slop-seller by trade, and at that time mayor of the town. The character of his person I need not dwell upon here, other than the ensuing accounts will describe, for when I have said he is a man of charity and courage, there is little I need to add to it to move the reader to value both his person and his memory; and though I am otherwise a perfect stranger to him, I am very well pleased to transmit to posterity the account of his behaviour, as an example to all good Christians to imitate on the like occasions.

He found himself moved with compassion at the distresses of the poor creatures whom he saw as aforesaid in that miserable condition upon the sands, and the first thing he did, he made application to the custom-house officers for the assistance of their* boats and men, to save the lives of as many as they could come at, the custom-house men rudely refused, either to send their men, or to part with their boats.

Provoked with the unnatural carriage of the custom-house officers, he calls the people about him, and finding some of the common people began to be more than ordinarily affected with the distresses of their countrymen, and as he thought a little inclined to venture, he made a general offer to all that would venture out, that he would pay them out of his own pocket 5s. per head for all the men whose lives they could save; upon this proposal, several offered themselves to go, if he would furnish them with boats.

Finding the main point clear, and that he had brought the men to be willing, he, with their assistance, took away the custom-house boats by force; and though he knew he could not justify it, and might be brought into trouble for it, and particularly if it were lost, might be obliged to pay for it, yet he resolved to venture that, rather than hazard the loss of his design, for the saving so many poor men’s lives, and having manned their boat with a crew of stout honest fellows, he with them took away several other boats from other persons, who made use of them only to plunder and rob, not regarding the distresses of the poor men.

Being thus provided both with men and boats, he sent them off, and by this means brought on shore above 200 men, whose lives a few minutes after must infallibly have been lost.

Nor was this the end of his care, for when the tide came in, and it was too late to go off again, for all that were left were swallow’d up with the raging of the sea, his care was then to relieve the poor creatures, who he had saved, and who almost dead with hunger and cold, were naked and starving.

And first he applied himself to the Queen’s agent for sick and wounded seamen, but he would not relieve them with one penny, whereupon, at his own charge, he furnished them with meat, drink, and lodging.

The next day several of them died, the extremities they had suffered, having too much mastered their spirits, these he was forced to bury also at his own charge, the agent still refusing to disburse one penny.

After their refreshment, the poor men assisted by the mayor, made a fresh application to the agent for conduct money to help them up to London, but he answered he had no order, and would disburse nothing; whereupon the mayor gave them all money in their pockets, and passes to Gravesend.

I wish I could say with the same freedom, that he received the thanks of the Government, and reimbursement of his money as he deserved, but in this I have been informed, he met with great obstructions and delays, though at last, after long attendance, upon a right application, I am informed, he obtained the repayment of his money, and some small allowance for his time spent in soliciting for it.

Nor can the damage suffered in the river of Thames be forgot. It was a strange sight to see all the ships in the river blown away, the pool was so clear, that as I remember, not above 4 ships were left between the upper part of Wapping, and Ratcliffe Cross, for the tide being up at the time when the storm blew with the greatest violence, no anchors or landfast, no cables or moorings would hold them, the chains which lay cross the river for the mooring of ships, all gave way.

The ships breaking loose thus, it must be a strange sight to see the hurry and confusion of it, and as some ships had nobody at all on board, and a great many had none but a man or boy left on board just to look after the vessel, there was nothing to be done, but to let every vessel drive whither and how she would.

Those who know the reaches of the river, and how they lie, know well enough, that the wind being at south-west westerly, the vessels would naturally drive into the bite or bay from Ratcliff Cross to Limehouse Hole, for that the river winding about again from thence towards the new dock at Deptford, runs almost due south-west, so that the wind blew down one reach, and up another, and the ships must of necessity drive into the bottom of the angle between both.

This was the case, and as the place is not large, and the number of ships very great, the force of the wind had driven them so into one another, and laid them so upon one another as it were in heaps, that I think a man may safely defy all the world to do the like.

The author of this collection had the curiosity the next day to view the place, and to observe the posture they lay in, which nevertheless it is impossible to describe; there lay, by the best account he could take, few less than 700 sail of ships some very great ones between Shadwell and Limehouse inclusive, the posture is not to be imagined, but by them that saw it, some vessels lay heeling off with the bow of another ship over her waste, and the stem of another upon her forecastle, the bowsprits of some drove into the cabin windows of others; some lay with their stems tossed up so high, that the tide flowed into their fore-castles before they could come to rights; some lay so leaning upon others, that the undermost vessels would sink before the other could float; the numbers of masts, bowsprits and yards split and broke, the staving the heads, and stems, and carved work, the tearing and destruction of rigging, and the squeezing of boats to pieces between the ships, is not to be reckoned; but there was hardly a vessel to be seen that had not suffered some damage or other in one or all of these articles.

There were several vessels sunk in this hurry, but as they were generally light ships, the damage was chiefly to the vessels; but there were two ships sunk with great quantity of goods on board, the Russel galley was sunk at Limehouse, being a great part laden with bale goods for the Streights, and the Sarah gally lading for Leghorn, sunk at an anchor at Blackwall; and though she was afterwards weighed and brought on shore, yet her back was broke, or so otherwise disabled, as she was never fit for the sea; there were several men drowned in these last two vessels, but we could never come to have the particular number.

Near Gravesend several ships drove on shore below Tilbury Fort, and among them five bound for the West Indies, but as the shore is ouzy and soft, the vessels sat upright and easy, and here the high tides which followed, and which were the ruin of so many in other places, were the deliverance of all these ships whose lading and value was very great, for the tide rising to an unusual height, floated them all off, and the damage was not so great as they expected.

If it be expected I should give an account of the loss, and the particulars relating to small craft, as the sailors call it, in the river, it is to look for what is impossible, other than by generals. The watermen tell us of above 500 wherries lost, most of which were not sunk only, but dashed to pieces one against another, or against the shores and ships, where they lay. Ship boats without number were driven about in every comer, sunk and staved, and about 300 of them is supposed to be lost. Above 60 barges and lighters were found driven foul of the bridge; some printed accounts tell us of sixty more sunk or staved between he bridge and Hammersmith.

Abundance of lighters and barges drove quite through the bridge, and took their fete below, whereof many were lost, so that we reckon by a modest account above 100 lighters and barges lost and spoiled in the whole, not reckoning such as with small damage were recovered.

In all this confusion, it could not be but that many lives were lost, but as the Thames oftentimes buries those it drowns, there has been no account taken. Two watermen at Blackfriars were drowned, endeavoring to save their boat; and a boat was said to be overset near Fulham, and five people drowned. According to the best account I have seen, about 22 people were drowned in the river upon this sad occasion, which considering all circumstances is not a great many; and the damage to shipping, computed with the vast number of ships then in the river, the violence of the storm, and the height of the tide, confirms me in the truth of that opinion, which I have heard many skilful men own, viz., that the river of Thames is the best harbour of Europe.

The height of the tide, as I have already observed, did no great damage in the river of Thames, and I find none of the levels or marshes which lie on both sides the river overflowed with it, it filled the cellars indeed at Gravesend, and on both sides in London, and the alehouse-keepers suffered some loss as to their beer, but this damage is not worth mentioning with what our accounts give us from the Severn; which, besides the particular letters we have already quoted, the reader may observe in the following, what our general intelligence furnishes us with.

The damages in the city of Gloucester they compute at 12000l., above 15000 sheep drowned in the levels on the side of the Severn, and the sea walls will cost, as these accounts tell us, 5000l. to repair, all the country lies under water for 20 or 30 miles together on both sides, and the tide rose three feet higher than the tops of the banks.

At Bristol, they tell us, the tide filled their cellars, spoiled 1000 hogsheadsLarge casks, or measures of capacity of about 50 imperial gallons. of sugar, 1500 hogsheads of tobacco, and the damage they reckon at 100,000l. Above 80 people drowned in the marshes and river, several whole families perishing together.

The harbour at Plymouth, the castle at Pendennis, the cathedral at Gloucester, the great church at Berkely, the church of St. Stephen’s at Bristol; the churches at Blandford, at Bridgewater, at Cambridge, and generally the churches all over England have had a great share of the damage.

In King Road, at Bristol, the damage by sea is also very great; the Canterbury store ship was driven on shore, and twenty-five of her men drowned, as by our account of the Navy will more particularly appear, the Richard and John, the George and the Grace sunk, and the number of people lost is variously reported.

These accounts in the four last paragraphs being abstracted from the public prints, and what other persons collect, I desire the reader will observe, are not particularly vouched, but as they are all true in substance, they are so far to be depended upon, and if there is any mistake it relates to numbers and quantity only.

From Yarmouth we expected terrible news, and every one was impatient till they saw the accounts from thence, for as there was a very great fleet there, both of laden colliers, Russia men, and others, there was nothing to be expected but a dreadful destruction among them.

But it pleased God to order things there, that the loss was not in proportion like what it was in other places, not but that it was very great too.

The Reserve man-of-war was come in but a day or two before, convoy to the great fleet from Russia, and the captain, surgeon, and clerk, who after so long a voyage went on shore with two boats to refresh themselves, and buy provisions, had the mortification to stand on shore, and see the ship sink before their faces; she foundred about 11 o’clock, and as the sea went too high for any help to go off from the shore to them, so their own boats being both on shore, there was not one man saved: one Russian ship driving from her anchors, and running foul of a laden collier sunk by his side, but some of her men were saved by getting on board the collier; three or four small vessels were driven out to sea, and never heard of more; as for the colliers, though most of them were driven from their anchors, yet going away to sea, we have not an account of many lost

This, next to the Providence of God, I give this reason for, first by all relations it appears that the storm was not so violent farther northward, as it was there; and as it was not so violent, so neither did it continue so long: now those ships who found they could not ride it out in Yarmouth roads, but slipping their cables went away to sea, possibly as they went away to the northward, found the weather more moderate, at least, not so violent, but it might be borne with, to this may be added, that it is well known to such as use the coast after they had run the length of Flambro, they had the benefit of the weather inshore, and pretty high land, which if they took shelter under, might help them very much; these, with other circumstances, made the damage much less than every body expected, and yet as it was, it was bad enough, as our letter from Hull gives an account. At Grimsby, it was still worse as to the ships, where almost all the vessels were blown out of the road, and a great many lost.

At Plymouth, they felt a full proportion of the storm in its utmost fury, the Eddystone has been mentioned already, but it was a double loss in that, the lighthouse had not been long down, when the Winchelsea, a homeward bound Virginia man was split upon the rock, where that building stood, and most of her men drowned.

Three other merchant ships were cast away in Plymouth road, and most of their men lost: the Monk man-of-war rode it out, but was obliged to cut all her masts by the board, as several men-of-war did in other places.

At Portsmouth was a great fleet, as has been noted already, several of the ships were blown quite out to sea, whereof some were never heard of more; the Newcastle was heard of upon the coast of Sussex, where she was lost with all her men but 23; the Resolution, the Eagle advice boat, and the Litchfield prize felt the same fate, only saved their men: from Cows several ships were driven out to sea, whereof one run on Shore in Stokes-bay, one full of soldiers, and two merchantmen have never been heard of as I could ever learn; abundance of the ships saved themselves by cutting down their masts, and others stranded, but by the help of the ensuing tides got off again.

Portsmouth, Plymouth, Weymouth, and most of our sea port towns looked as if they had been bombarded, and the damage of them is not easily computed.

Several ships from the Downs were driven over to the coast of Holland, and some saved themselves there; but several others were lost there.

At Falmouth 11 sail of ships were stranded on the shore, but most of them got off again.

In Barnstable harbour a merchant ship outward bound was over-set, and the Express advice boat very much shattered, and the key of the town very much shatter'd

It is endless to attempt any further description of losses, no place was free either by land or by sea, everything that was capable felt the fury of the storm; and it is hard to say, whether was greater the loss by sea, or by land; the multitude of brave stout sailors is a melancholy subject, and if there be, any difference gives the sad balance to the account of the damage by sea.

The Tempest Felt Abroad.

We had an account of about 11 or 12 ships driven over for the coast of Holland, most of which were lost, but the men saved, so that by the best calculation I can make, we have not lost less than 150 sail of vessels of all sorts by the storm; the number of men and other damages, are calculated elsewhere.

We have several branches of this story which at first were too easily credited, and put into print, but upon more strict examination, and by the discoveries of time, appeared otherwise, and therefore are not set down.

It was in the design to have collected the several accounts of the fatal effects of the tempest abroad in foreign parts; but as our accounts came in from thence too imperfect to be depended upon; the collector of these papers could not be satisfied to offer them to the world, being willing to keep as much as possible to the terms of his preface.

We are told there is an abstract to the same purpose with this in France, printed at Paris, and which contains a strange variety of accidents in that country.

If a particular of this can be obtained, the author promises to put it into English, and adding to them the other accounts, which the rest of the world can afford, together, with some other additions of the English affairs, which could not be obtained in time here, shall make up the second part of this work.

In the mean time the reader may observe, France felt the general shock, the piers, and ricebank at Dunkirk, the harbour at Haver de Grace, the towns of Calais and Bulloign give us strange accounts.

All the vessels in the road before Dunkirk, being 23 or 27, I am not certain, were dashed in pieces against the pier heads, not one excepted, that side being a lee shore, the reason is plain, there was no going off to sea; and had it been so with us in the Downs or Yarmouth roads, it would have fared with us in the same manner, for had there been no going off to sea, 300 sail in Yarmouth roads had inevitably perished.

At Diepe the like mischief happened, and in proportion Paris felt the effects of it, as bad as London, and as a gentleman who came from thence since that time affirmed it to me, it was much worse.

All the north-east countries felt it, in Holland oar accounts in general are very dismal, but the wind not being N.W. as at former storms, the tide did not drown them, nor beat so directly upon their sea wall.

It is not very irrational to judge, that had the storm beat more to the north-west, it must have driven the sea upon them in such a manner, that all their dikes and dams could not have sustained it, and what the consequence of such an inundation might have been, they can best judge, who remember the last terrible irruption of the sea there, which drowned several thousand people, and cattle without number.

But as our foreign accounts were not satisfactory enough to put into this collection, where we have promised to limit ourselves by just vouchers, we purposely refer it all to a further description as before.

Several of our ships were driven over to those parts, and some lost there, and the story of our great ships which rid it out, at or near the Gunfleet, should have come in here, if the collector could have met with any person that was in any of the said vessels, but as the accounts he expected did not come in the time for the impression, they were of necessity left out

The Association, a second rate, on board whereof was Sir Stafford Fairborn, was one of these, and was blown from the mouth of the Thames to the coast of Norway, a particular whereof as printed in the annals of the reign of Queen Anne, is as follows.

Sir, — Her Majesty’s ship Association, a second rate of 96 guns, commanded by Sir Stafford Fairborne, vice-admiral of the red, and under him Captain Richard Canning, sailed from the Downs the 24th of November last, in company with seven other capital ships, under the command of the honourable Sir Cloudesly Shovel, admiral of the white, in their return from Leghorn, up the river. They anchored that night off of the Long-sand-head. The next day struck yards and top-masts. The 27th, about three in the morning, the wind at west-south-west, increased to a hurricane, which drove the Association from her anchors. The night was exceeding dark, but what was more dreadful, the Galloper, a very dangerous sand, was under her lee; so that she was in danger of striking upon it, beyond the power of man to avoid it. Driving thus at the mercy of the waves, it pleased God, that about five a-clock she passed over the tail of the Galloper in seven fathom of water. The sea boisterous and angry, all in a foam, was ready to swallow her up; and the ship received at that time a sea on her starboard-side, which beat over all, broke and washed several half ports, and forced in the entering port She took in such a vast quantity of water, that it kept her down upon her side, and every body believ’d, that she could not have risen again, had not the water been speedily let down into the hold by scuttlingDeliberately sinking a ship. the decks. During this consternation two of the lower-gun-deck-ports were pressed open by this mighty weight of water, the most hazardous accident, next to touching the ground, that could have happened to us. But the port, that had been forced open, being readily secured by the direction and command of the Vice-Admiral, who, though much indisposed, was upon deck all that time, prevented any farther mischief. As the ship still drove with the wind, she was not long in this shoal (where it was impossible for any ship to have — Uved at that time) but came into deeper water, and then she had a smoother sea. However the hurricane did not abate, but rather seemed to gather strength. For words were no sooner uttered, but they were carried away by the wind, so that although those upon deck spoke loud and dose to one another, yet they could not often distinguished what was said; and when they opened their mouths, their breath was almost taken away. Part of the sprit sail, tho’ fast furled, was blown away from the yard. A ten-oar-boat, that was lashed on her starboard-side, was often hove up by the strength of the wind, and over-set upon her gun-wale. We plainly saw the wind skimming up the water, as if it had been sand, carrying it up into the air, which was then so thick and gloomy, that day light, which should have been). comfortable to us, did but make it appear more ghastly. The sun by intervals peeped through the comer of a cloud, but soon disappearing, gave us a more melancholick prospect of the the weather. About 11 a-clock it dispersed the clouds, and the hurricane abated into a more moderate storm, which drove us over to the bank of FlandersThe modern area of northern Belgium and historically a territory in the Low Countries., and thence along the coast of Holland and Friesland to the entrance of the Elb, where the 4th of December we had almost as violent a storm, as when we drove from our anchors, the wind at north-west, driving us directly upon the shoar. So that we must all have inevitably perished, had not God mercifully favoured us about 10 a-clock at night with a south-west wind, which gave us an opportunity to put to sea. But being afterwards driven near the coast of Norway, the ship wanting anchors and cables, our wood and candles wholly expended; no beer on board, nor any thing else in lieu; every one reduced to one quart of water per day, the men, who had been harrassed at Belle Isle, and in our Mediterranean voyage, now jaded by the continual fatigues of the storms, falling sick every day, the vice-admiral in this exigency thought it advisable to put into Gottenbourgh, the only port where we could hope to be supplied. We arrived there the 11th of December, and having without lost of time got anchors and cables from Copenhagen, and provisions from Grottenbourgh, we sailed thence the third of January, with twelve merchant-men under our convoy, all loaden with stores for her Majesty’s Navy. The eleventh following, we prevented four French privateers from taking four of our store-ships. At night, we anchored off the Long–Sand-head. Weighed again the next day, but soon came to an anchor, because it was very hazy weather. Here we rid against a violent storm, which was like to have put us to sea. But after three days very bad weather, we weighed and arrived to the buoy of the Nore the 23rd of January, having run very great risks among the sands. For we had not only contrary winds but also very tempestuous winds. We lost 28 men by sickness, contracted by the hardships which they endur’d in the bad weather; and had not Sir Stafford Fairborne by his great care and diligence, got the ship out of Gottenbourgh, and by that prevented her being frozen up, most part of the sailors had perished afterwards by the severity of the winter, which is intolerable cold in those parts.

Second. — Of the Damage to the Royal Navy.

This is a short but terrible article, there was one ship called the York, which was lost about 3 days before the great storm off of Harwich, but most of the men were saved.

The loss immediately sustained in the Royal Navy during the storm, is included in the list hereunto annexed, as appears from the Navy Books.

The damage done to the ships that were saved, is past our power to compute. The Admiral, Sir Cloudesley Shovel with the great ships, had made sail but the day before out of the Downs, and were taken with the storm as they lay at or near the Gunfleet, where they being well provided with anchors and cables, rid it out, though in great extremity, expecting death every minute.

A list of such of her Majesty’s ships, with their Commander’s names, as were cast away by the violent storm on Friday night, the 26th of November, 1703, the wind having been from the S.W. to W.S.W., and the storm continuing from about midnight to past six in the morning.

Rates.Ships.Number of Men before the Storm.Guns.Commanders.Places where lost. 
Fourth—Reserve—25854John Anderson—Yarmouth RoadsHer Captain, Purser, Master, Chyrsurgeon, Clerk and Sixteen Men were Ashoar, the rest drowned.
Third—{Northumberland25370James Greenway—— ——}All their men lost.
Restoration—38670Fleetwood Emes—— ——
Sterling Castle—34970John Johnson—————Third Lieutenant, Chaplain, Cook Chyrsurgeon's Mate; four Marine Captains, and sixty-two Men saved.
     } Goodwin Sands
Fourth—Mary—27364Rear Admiral Beaumont, Edward Hopson———Only one Man saved by Swimming from Wreck to Wreck, and getting to the Sterling Castle; the Captain Ashoar, as also the Purser.
 147Vigo—21254Thomas Long—}Holland—Her Company saved except four.
Bomb. VesselMortar—5912Raymond Raymond
Advice BoatEagle—4210Nathan Bostock—Selsey—}Their Officers and Men saved.
Third—Resolution—21170Thomas Liell—Pemsey—
Fourth—Newcastle—23346William Carter—Drove from Spithead and lost upon the Coast near Chichester.Carpenter and twenty-three Men saved.
StoreshipCanterbury—318Thomas Blake—Bristol—Captain and twenty-five Men drown'd; the Ship recover'd, and order'd to be sold.
Bomb-VesselPortsmouth—444George Hawes—Nore—Officers and Men lost.

The Van Guard, a Second Rate, was over-set at Chatham, but no Men lost, the Ship not being fitted out.


The loss of small vessels hired into the service, and tending the fleet, is not included in this, nor can well be, several such vessels, and some with soldiers on board, being driven away to sea, and never heard of more.

The loss of the light-house, called the Eddystone, at Plymouth, is another article, of which we never heard any particulars other than this; that at night it was standing, and in the morning all the upper part, from the gallery, was blown down, and all the people in it perished, and, by a particular misfortune, Mr. Winstanley, the contriver of it, a person whose loss is very much regretted by such as knew him, as a very useful man to his country. The loss of that light-house is also a considerable damage, as ’tis very doubted whether it will be ever attempted again, and as it was a great security to the sailors, many a good ship having been lost there in former times.

It was very remarkable that, as we are informed, at the same time the light-house abovesaid was blown down, the model of it, in Mr. Winstanley's House, at Littlebury in Essex, above 200 miles from the light-house, fell down, and was broken to pieces.

There are infinite stories of like nature with these, the disasters at sea are full of a vast variety, what we have recommended to the view of the world in this History may stand as an abridgment; and the reader is only to observe that these are the short representations by which he may guess at the most dreadful night these parts of the world ever saw.

To relate all things that report furnishes us with, would be to make the story exceed common probability, and look like romance.

Tis a sad and serious truth; and this part of it is preserved to posterity, to assist them in reflecting on the judgments of God, and handing them on for the ages to come.