A Great Tempest Happened

These fragments come from the late 17th Century and describe two strange weather events, the first in Bedfordshire and the second in Northamptonshire.

At sundry times, strange firie Meteors have happened in the Air, and very neare the Earth.  But I think not in this manner, as I have heard of in any story. On the 12th of May, a great Tempest happened, accompanied with prodigious Rain, Thunder and Lightning, more terrible than has been known for many years before, which occasioned the next day violent floods of Water, by coming down the Hills, and overflowing the Brooks and Rivers; But that which is most remarkable is that after a prodigious clap of Thunder about Noon, there broke out (as from a cloud0 a long stream of Fire, which appeared greater as it came near to the Earth, forming itselfe into the shape of a prodigious Firie Serpent that appeared, the Tail dragging on the ground, making a noise like a Whirlwind finding the Grass in its way, but that which formed the head was elevated as high as the highest Trees, and in the body could be seen and plainly discerned a very terrible smoak. When it came unto Shipton Brook, the Tail dragging on the Water caused a terrible hissing and spouting up of the Water, and immediately it Thundered and a terrible Storm erupted into which this body of fire dissipated and vanished. This is attested by divers who say they were Eye-witnesses of it, and much terrified at so dreadfull a sight.’

On the 16th of May, prodigious black Clouds began to gather, which caused a great darkness so that people were apprehensive of a violent Storm approaching. Immediately the Thunder began to bellow and the lightning to rend the Clouds, and flashes enlighten the Air, when immediately some great drops of Rain fell, which was followed by prodigious Hail-stones which wounded divers that were hasting for shelter. Some of these stones as big as Goose Eggs they fell so violently that they beat young Trees in pieces, greatly damaging Corn &c , lying in such prodigious Quantities for a great many hours afterward unmelted, so that Horse Carts, Coaches, and Waggons, especially in the narrow ways, could not pass without great difficulty. The storm continued about an hour and damaged a great many Buildings by beating off the Tiles and Thatch.  Some scores of Pigeons, Rooks, Daws &c have been found dead in the fields, killed by the fall of the stones, and many Horses, Cows and Oxen were so bruised and wounded that many of them are expected not to live, as also several people who were too far from substantial shelter. And no sooner were these prodigious Stones melted, but the Water came pouring down from the Hills into the Valleys and Plains where many Sheep, Swine and Cattle were swept away and driven violently by the Torrent into Meadows, Rivers and other depths and there perished. Several Mills were thrown down, that stood on Rivulets, and some people is said to have be drowned.’

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  • March 27, 2010 - 11:15 pm | Permalink

    It might make a refreshing change from all those sky scrapers.

  • March 27, 2010 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

    The weather has been so strange in New York this year that I wouldn’t be surprised if I looked out the window and saw a Firie Serpent.

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