Buried in salt water

The following is an account of flooding in Somerset in January 1607.

In January last, towards the end of the month, the sea flowing fast and meeting with the land so violently, the bankes were eaten through and a rupture made at Somersetshire. No sooner had this furious invader entered but he encountered with the river Severn, and both boild in such fury that many Miles (to the quantity of 20 in length and four or five at least in bredth) were in a short time swallowed up by this torrent. The inundation began in the morning and within a few houres covered the whole face of the earth thereabouts to the depth of eleven or twelve feet. Men that were going to their labours were compelled to fly back to their houses, yet before they could enter, death stood at the doores ready to receive them. In a short time did whole villages stand like Islands, and in a more short time were those villages undiscoverable and no where to be found. The tops of trees and houses only appeared as if at the beginning of the world towns had been built at the bottom of the Sea. Inhabitable houses were sunke clean out of sight. Hunsfielde (a Market Towne in the sayde shire) was quite drowned. Kenhouse another village covered all over, Kingson a third village likewise lies buried in salt Water. So besides, Brian Downe, a village quite consumed. Add unto these peopled places the loss of Corne-fields, Pastures, Meadows and so forth, the misery of it no man can expresse. In this civill warre betweene the Land and the Sea, many Men Women and Children lost their lives, to save which, some climbed uppe to the tops of the houses, but the rage of the merciless tide grew so strong, in many, yea most, of the villages the foundations of the buildings being washed away, the whole frame fell down, and they dyed in the waters. Others got into trees, but the trees had their rootes unfastened by the self-same destroyer. An infant was found in a Cradle some mile or two from the place where it did live, and so was preserved for the Cradle was not of wicker as ours are, but of strong thicke bordes, closely joynted together, and that saved the infants life.

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One comment

  • March 21, 2010 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Your woodcut reminds me very strongly of the Government’s climate change TV ad, which shows cartoon puppies and kittens drowning because someone left the landing light on. Perhaps they had this very image in mind when pitching the idea. I think we should be told…

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