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(T: warm/cold events; R: dry/wet events; S: 'stormy' events)

 Date T R S  Description  Ref:
 April 1600  24th: a deep snowfall (no details as to location).  6
 1601  Storm in London on 1st February.  8
(Late spring & all summer)
 According to East Anglian & Low Countries chronicles, the period covering (roughly) April to August was very dry across these regions. This would imply a persistence of anticyclonic weather.  x
(Winter & early Spring)
  Possibly a severe winter in Scotland, lasting from November to the end of April. Frequent heavy snowfall. [ If the winter was severe enough for comment in Scotland, then no doubt it was equally so across northern England & perhaps further south, but I have no data as to that. It is also interesting to speculate that given the anticyclonicity implied by the entry for late spring/all summer (above), and the requirement for at least some element of high pressure to the north or northeast of Britain for a notably cold winter, then this may be an exceptional spell of anticyclonically, blocked conditions for these longitudes. ]  x
 1602  Drought in autumn & winter (London/South).  8
 January 1607
[1606 in reckoning of the time.]
 Flood: 2,000 died around the Severn Estuary, Tuesday, 20 January 1606 (OS)/30th January 1607 (NS). Lowlands on both sides of the Estuary suffered inundation, with the Somerset & Gwent levels suffering devastating effects. It is thought that a Severe gale from the west or southwest was responsible, coupled to an astronomically high tide: the excess over prediction was some 2.3m. As well as the cost in human life, much damage / loss of housing etc., and also cattle, sheep & horses perished. There would have been a great deal of salt-contamination of arable fields too. Bristol & Barnstaple were badly affected.
It is worth noting that great damage due to flooding was also recorded from East Anglian towns and villages, particularly across the Fens. ('Weather'/Oct 2006/Horsburgh & Horritt); H. Lamb hasn't included this event in his 'Historic Storms' (Ref: HS), yet it seems as if this may have affected at least the southern North Sea.
[ There is some debate whether this event was a 'standard' wind-driven storm-surge, or a Tsunami-like occurrence. Contemporary accounts mention 'high tides' & 'strong west winds', so I would plump for the more likely storm-surge cause.] [confusion with dates: although listed in original documents as January 1606, the 'year' 1606 would have run from March 1606 to March 1607 (in our reckoning).]
R. Met.S,
 1607  Dry/hot summer (London/South).  8
 The 'Great Winter'**: apparently, trees died due to the severity (and length) of the frost; ships were stranded by ice several miles out into the North Sea - this latter a major concern as much commerce was done in these days via coastal shipping. In December, a "deep" frost until mid-month, then a thaw until just before Christmas, then from ~21st December(OSP) intense freeze for much of the time until at least mid-January. Ice formed on the Thames in London, sufficient to bear all sorts of sports, perambulations and even cooking! The frost lasted overall for some two months. (much of the foregoing from Ian Currie). The severe weather lasted in parts of England until about 20th February(OSP), though with variations in depth of cold. For example, in records from Kendal (Westmorland / Cumbria) 'hard frost' is noted from November 3rd, 1607 to March 6th, 1608(OSP).
The Firth of Forth is noted as being 'frozen' during January 1608 & the River Exe (south of Exeter) also experienced major ice formation by the latter-third of January - at this latter location, damage was caused to a local weir.
(** lots of winters will be found in the literature known as "The Great Winter": treat this title with some caution, however, in a series developed by C.Easton, in CHMW / Lamb, this ranks near the top of the most severe winters of the last 1000 yr.)
[ This may have been the first occasion of the use of the term 'Frost Fair' ]
 1, 6, 8, usw
 Great frost commenced in October & lasted four months. Thames frozen and heavy carriages driven over it. (Possible confusion with 1607/08).  8,
 1610  Hot, dry summer (London/South); from other records I have, there is mention of 'four months' of drought at Derby, so as might be expected, these hot, dry conditions extended across a greater part of southern & central England at least - more than that it would be wrong to assume.  8
 1610: (September)  On Michaelmas Day [29th September / OS] "blizzards" raged throughout Derbyshire. Snowstorms were 'unparalleled' in recent history.  17CWx
From various reports across England, overall it was probably a wet year: floods were noted in January and February, especially in the West of England (e.g. Avon river system & specifically noted in Tewkesbury [Gloucestershire]). July & August were also noted as being wet with flooding, though this may have been as the result of intense convective downpours / thunderstorm activity, rather than broad-scale synoptic activity: the hay harvest was severely affected in places. By November and December, more widespread flooding was being reported which suggests a return to generalised cyclonic activity.
However, note that in contrast with the above, there are several notes of a notable drought (probably an agricultural / meteorological drought, rather than a hydrological drought) affecting large areas of England from the end of February to May - which was then followed by " great rains " from early June. It should be noted that Lamb assesses that the 1610s were generally years of low rainfall, so 1611 may be an oddity for this decade.
 Possibly a severe winter, at least for southern & central England.
[ It is interesting to speculate, given the entry below, that once again some long-lived anticyclonic activity was involved - see for example, 1601/02 above. ]
(winter / spring)
 Drought from January to May (London/South). The extended period of dry weather was apparently widespread over England at least, with that affecting the Lake District noted as not breaking until early August.  8,
 Overlapping with the entry above (q.v.), it was apparently a hot, dry summer over England at least.  17CWx
(Spring & Summer)
 Drought at York lasting from spring to August - severe shortage of fodder and grain.
[ Obviously, this would have affected a much wider area - this is just the record from the ecclesiastical centre for the North Country. ]
(winter/early spring)
 Several reports of 'great snowfall' from various parts of the country; for example, from Derbyshire, a major snowfall began on the 20th January(OSP) and further new snowfall was noted until at least 12th March(OSP); great snowfall was also recorded across Yorkshire. Further north, in Scotland, this winter was noted as being of 'great severity' (Annals of Scottish History), & by February, the Tay was frozen over, such that foot and horse traffic could pass over it. An 'enormous' fall of snow took place early in March (place unspecified), but this ties in with the Derbyshire report [above]. In Scotland, this was stated to have lasted at least three days, to be the greatest 'within living memory' and many deaths (horses and men) occurred as people tried to move about. It was particularly bad across northern Scotland.  (LWH & others)
 Following the heavy snowfall as noted above, significant flooding ensued following thaw (& presumably heavy rain - you tend to need a high-yield rainfall event for significant flooding after snow), with Yorkshire being particularly badly hit. The Ouse flood lasted around 10 days, carrying away bridges - the dates are not given, but as April was noted as being fair/dry with a dusty ground and significant drought (until late summer), then the melt-event probably followed the final snowfall in the second week of March.  x
 1st (C? / OSP & probably 'May Day' - it might not have attracted notice otherwise!) A late snowfall; Snow to 1 foot (~30cm) depth reported from Derbyshire.
[ The problem here is that there are parts of Derbyshire today that would get a useful snowfall on May 1st - particularly in the Peak District villages, so it is difficult to know how significant this report is. ]
(late Spring to mid-summer)
 Extended dry conditions / notable drought across central & southern Britain - great stress due to lack of fodder, harvest etc; In Derbyshire (and almost certainly across a much wider area of Britain), noted as running from 25th March (Lady Day) to 4th August (both OSP). Great dearth of corn & hay.  17CWx
 1616  Hot summer with drought (London/South & almost certainly elsewhere across England).  8,
 River Aire flooded houses in Leeds (Yorkshire) after 38 hours of rain.  x
 From reports of shipwrecks, wet weather & floods, it appears that the summer of 1617 was notably unsettled.  17CWx
  Possibly a very wet summer.  17CWx
 Frost fair held on the Thames. A severe winter over western Europe / implied much of Britain. (Easton, in CHMW/Lamb)  1, 8
& Autumn)
 Noted as being 'very dry' in eastern Scotland, but 'very cold & wet' further south. However, through the autumn, particularly around 'harvest-tide', all contemporary records note a lot of rain, with a poor crop for the winter. It would not be unusual for eastern Scotland to have a distinctly different rainfall regime from elsewhere, so on balance I suspect that the rainfall was the dominant weather type for a lot of Britain in this period.  17CWx
(August &
Although mixed data, it looks as if the late spring & much of the summer across Britain, but especially across Scotland & the north of England, was 'inclement', such that the harvest was poor: in Scotland in particular, the harvest was stated to be 'catastrophic'. Reports suggest that the poor weather was primarily due to excessive rainfall (see also the previous summer above). [ Reports from the winter, spring & early summer of 1622/1623 state that there was great distress in the population of Scotland, with death-rates much higher than normal; this was stated to be due to the famine prevalent following the poor harvest noted above, and presumably the fact that this was (at least) the second very poor year in a row had a lot to do with the lack of produce etc. ]
August 18th(C?) - An "extreme & vehement" storm struck the Tamar Valley. (Devon Co. C web site)
[ No other details, i.e. thunderstorm, wind-storm etc., so it is difficult to decide the character of this: it may be akin to the Boscastle storm of 2004 August q.v., given the topography of the areas which drain into the Tamar valley. ]
.. 1)
 At Oxford & other places in the south of England (e.g. Bath, Bristol), the summer was noted as hot & dry. (But see entry below - split island!)  17CWx
.. 2)
  Another poor summer [ see 1622 ] in Scotland. Often noted as being STORMY & WET, with failure of harvests etc. (but see entry above; if this is correct, it would imply a succession of poor summers for Scotland since at least 1620).  17CWx
  Hot, dry summer Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire (at least, and presumably further afield across lowland central & southern England).  17CWx
  Possibly a wet winter, at least across England, and specifically London.
[ Difficulty with dating - might be the previous winter depending upon how you interpret the convention. ]
 Possibly a wet summer, at least over England & Scotland; in Scotland, it was noted that the 'rains' had been heavy/persistent since the middle of May.   17CWx
 October 13th(?C / OSP) - At Tiverton, 53 houses were thrown down and destroyed by a great flood of water.(Devon Co.C website)
[ Again, no great detail, but given the month, it suggests an exceptional rain-storm following a prolonged period of autumnal rains soaking the ground. ]
 1626  Dry, hot summer (London/South).  8
(Late Spring
& Summer)
 Possibly a wet late spring & summer - at least in Scotland.   17CWx
 Possibly a wet period, sufficient to cause much shortage of foodstuffs produced from the land.  17CWx
(or 1638) (Summers)
 Series of dry / warm summers, particularly 1636, 1637 & (perhaps) 1638; for 1636, in the London/SE area, it is noted as a "very hot & dry summer, not a drop of rain from March to August".  8
(Autumn &
early Winter)
 Possibly a notably wet period, ending with a frost.  17CWx
(early in year)
 A 'great storm' in the Scottish border region, when vast numbers of sheep perished; severe frost.  SBM
(Autumn &
early Winter)
 Another wet period. There are notes that this year saw a major failure of the harvest in places - so perhaps 1632 & 1633 stand out from the generally benign/excellent spell noted against the entry for 1630-1637 summers [above].  17CWx
 Possibly one of the stormiest (& coldest) in Scotland, with snow in the fields lying from December to March.  17CWx
 A cold, dry spring, no doubt due to persistently anticyclonic conditions with a bias to E/NE winds: during April & May no rain for seven weeks. [ But note that areas so affected not clearly specified.]  17CWx
(Summer /
early Autumn)
 The summer was reported to be 'fine' and early autumn / harvest-tide also proved benign; it appears that these 'fine' conditions were confined to the southern parts of Britain (see below).  17CWx
(Autumn /
early Winter)
 In contrast to entries above [ which in any case relate only to 'southern' Britain ], the remainder of autumn & early winter was wet. Also, it appears that the far north of Scotland, along with Orkney & Shetland, were plagued by persistently stormy conditions, often wet, such that great distress was caused due to famine. The harvest on Orkney in particular was described as a 'disaster'.  17CWx
 Severe winter; Thames frozen. Depending upon dating practice, there are other reports from the time that suggest that this winter (1634 / 1635) was widely cold/snowy. In parts of England, a frost lasted from the 15th December 1634(OSP) until 11th February 1635(OSP), with frequent snowfall. In Scotland, a lot of snow and great depth of frost noted, with the snow lying in places from the 9th December(OSP) to the 9th March(OSP). Particularly snowy (and probably with significant blizzard conditions at times) between 26th January(OSP) & the 16th February(OSP) at Perth. The river Tay was frozen over. Significant hardship.  8
 A mild but wet autumn with heavy rains and several reports of flooding. (Location/s not known)  17CWx
 Mar-Sep 1636  Extended dry / drought period began 1st March 1636: by September, serious drought effects. Noted as completely rain-less in 'London Weather' from March to August. [ see also entry below which overlaps.]  6, 8
 Possibly a warm year overall, with a 'forward spring' & 'very hot' summer; there are also references to it being 'extremely dry' [probably only applies to southern & central England though]. Specifically, a drought was noted as having lasted from 1st March to well into September, with sources noting 'completely rainless' conditions. Trees by August were as if it were mid-winter, given the loss of leaves.  8,
 1636-1638  Three successive fine summers (possibly): see also entry Mar-Sep 1636 above.  8,
 October 1638  Tornadoes in Devon & Somerset: Sunday October 21st(OS) / October 31st(NS): at Widecombe-in-the-Moor (Devon) on the south-eastern flank of Dartmoor. A tornado struck a church with the 'utmost violence' as a service had just begun. A ball of fire moved through the church with a thunderous explosion. The roof and tower were wrecked, stone and masonry showered down both inside and outside the building. The tornado / ball lightning killed and maimed scores of men and women - and a dog. People were snatched from the pews and whirled about. About 60 people were either killed or injured. All this took place within a few seconds. There may also have been (associated?) tornadic events at Plymouth & Norton Fitzwarren (Somerset), which might imply a line-squall/cold frontal event.  6,
 Possibly a very stormy month, with particular mention for London/South.  17CWx
 From several reports throughout the year from widely dispersed parts of Britain, it seems as if this year was WET with frequent flooding. At Tewkesbury (Gloucestershire) for example, where flooding is not unknown even today, there were at least eight floods between Midsummer (24th June) and Michaelmas (29th September). August is specifically mentioned as having heavy rain in the NE England/SE Scotland area. Similarly, October was so plagued across Yorkshire & the NE of England.
[ It may also have been cold/snowy at the start as well, but there is the usual ambiguity about whether the reports belong to this year or to 1641.]
 Ducklington (Oxfordshire) 'harvest weather' was hot & dry from June until 17th September. No water in springs and grass withered. [ sounds like a significant drought.]  17CWx
 No specifics, but for Scotland at least, this was noted at the time as having been a 'wonderful' year for the fruits of the land; there are, however, reports of extended dry periods, especially in June, though this was offset around mid-month by short-period rainfall.  17CWx
& Spring)
 Possibly a wet, stormy winter & spring, at least for Scotland and with regard to the spring, for England too.  17CWx
 1643  Hot summer (London / South). Some suggestion that the fine / dry weather extended to Scotland (Edinburgh) as well - which would be logical.  8,
 Contemporary reports of this being a cold winter - presumably colder than 'normal' if such remarks are made. January in particular is noted in several accounts as being cold/snowy and in January 1644: 8-day snowfall 31st January to 7th February(OSP).  6,
 1645  Hot / dry summer (London/South).  8
 1645-1710  "The Maunder Minimum": Period of notably reduced solar activity. Possibly contributing to (or adding to), the downturn in temperatures during this period (though note, there were also some very warm summers, e.g. 1645!)  x
 31st May, 1646 (new-style converted): Notable outbreak of tornadoes in eastern England. Specifically Thetford / Newmarket, (Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk); Brandon Parva (Norfolk) and Swaffham Prior (Cambridgeshire). At least three different tornadoes involved. It was a notably hot day ("violent hot day"), with severe thunderstorms, heavy rain & large hail. The hail is noted as being of "extraordinary size", and "some hollow within like rings".   (JMet/TORRO)
(October &
 From several reports during these two months (e.g., heavy, persistent rain in Essex in October, major flooding in Norwich in November & parliamentary reports of rain/floods in early December), this autumn may have been excessively wet.  17CWx
 Very wet, but probably not as wet as 1258 & 1527. The summer in particular was described as worse than several of the past winters (i.e. 'cold & wet').  8,
 Great frost; Thames frozen.  8
 Apparently a famine this year in the north of England & Scotland because of the impact of rains (and war). Generally a 'poor' year with the weather impacting upon agriculture: cold/dry spring after severe winter (see above) & periods of heavy rain.  17CWx

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Researched by and published with permission of Martin Rowley