Monday, March 28, 2011

Landsat 7 image of the Bristol ChannelImage via Wikipedia
England's tsunami of 1607...

An account of an early natural disaster and the effect it had on the West of England and Wales

The world was horrified by the tsunami that struck Asia several years ago. To most of us, it was the first time we’d heard the word, the first time such a terrifying incident could strike out of the blue, without warning.

An Account from England and Wales:

But it has happened before, many centuries ago near the Bristol Channel in England. The following is based on an account in The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1762, printed in response to a report of a disastrous storm near Quesnoy, France. It quotes extensively from a pamphlet in the Harleian library which was written soon after the event in 1607. It is worth quoting in detail:

“On Tuesday January 27 about 9 in the morning, ‘the sunne being fayrly and bryghtly spred,’ huge and mighty hills of water were seen in the elements, tumbling one over another in such sort as if the greatest mountains in the world had overwhelmed the low vallies, to the inexpressible astonishment and terror of the spectators, who, at first, mistaking it for a great mist, or fog, did not on the sudden prepare to make their escape from it; but on its nearer approach, which came on with such swiftness as it was verily thought the fowls of the air could not fly so fast; they perceived that it was the violence of the waters of the raging seas, which seemed to have broken their bounds, and were pouring in to deluge the whole land, and then happy were they that could fly the fastest. But as violent and swift were the huge waves, and they pursuing one another with such rapidity that in less than 5 hours space, most part of the countries on the Severn’s banks were laid under water, and many hundreds of men, women, and children, perished in the floods. From the hills might be seen herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep, with husbandmen labouring in the fields, all swept away together, and swallowed up in one dreadful inundation. Houses, barns, ricks of corn and hay, were all involved in the common ruin. Many who were rich in the morning were beggars before noon, and several perished in endeavouring to save their effects

Read more at Suite101: England's Tsunami of 1607

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