The whole Valley was filled with Snow

These tragic snippets come from A True and Perfect NARRATIVE of the Late Extraordinary SNOWS (1674), subtitled Whereby above Twenty Families of Poor People, Men, Women and Children, were Distressed and some Destroyed at Langsdale in the Bishoprick of Durham: The Snow from the Hills covering the Tops of their Houses that they could not get out: having burnt all their Goods to keep them warm.

In a place called Langsdale, there stood several small Houses or Cottages inhabited by Shepherds and other poor people, their dwellings being only made of Loam-walls, one story, and thatcht over head. Here the Snow came down so furiously driven down the Hills by North-East Winds, that the poor people could hardly stir abroad. After the first two or three days, which had covered the ground generally four or five foot deep, but in drifts at some places it lay at least ten or twelve foot high, the heavens seemed more clear, but on the third day of March, being Shrove Tuesday, it fell a snowing again with greater violence. The whole Valley was filled with Snow, amd almost level’d with the tops of the Hills. The Houses were Covered over, and the miserable people found themselves buried alive in Snow. They that had any wood or fireing made use of use of it, hoping by that means to melt themselves out a way.

Their poverty for the most part was such as did not allow them to keep much store of Provisions in their houses, and the weather had been so bad, for above a Fortnight, that they could not conveniently either work to earn, or go abroad to buy Victuals, their stock was soon exhaused and they were at last reduced to the worst of Humane evils, a necessity of starving for want of food. The dismalness of living in continual darknesse, as in a Grave; the extremity of the Frost, the Lamentations of half distracted Women, and cries of dying Children for Bread, may easily present the imaginations with spectacles of Horror. Let it be suffice to say that cold and want at last brought welcome death to rid them of their Torments.

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One comment

  • February 1, 2010 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Crikey. I’ll never complain about six inches again.

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