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These notes should be read alongside the data contained on this site and are written by Martin Rowley to compliment his research which results in the Weather in History time sections from 11,000 BC here.

In an attempt to make it easier to pick out 'wet' from 'dry', 'cold' from 'hot' events etc., I have colour-coded according to the following scheme.

(='hot' or 'cold' events)


(='wet' or 'dry' events)


(=stormy [i.e. windy] events)

When looking at the files for more specific dates etc. please note carefully the following:
(a): It is not always clear what area of the country (England / Britain / UK) we are talking about; best to assume, if not otherwise stated, that notes apply to the 'English Lowlands' from roughly the Humber Estuary across the Midlands to Dorset/ Devon and southeast of that line. If no details are available for area affected, then it is assumed to be for 'London/South', and so annotated.

(b): For winter events, it is not always clear, where a single year is given, whether this relates to the year of the December, or the January / February etc. I assume it relates to the latter, but sometimes the entries imply otherwise. There is further confusion possible for events in the far past with respect to winter, as the year was often reckoned to start on Lady Day (March) of one year and end 12 months later. Thus "January 1504" in the contemporary chronicles might actually be January 1505 by our reckoning!

(c): Something to remember is that rivers up until the 18th century would not have been managed in the same way as we are used to. No major banking to restrain the flow, and in general, rivers would have meandered much more, been slower-moving and would have both 'flooded' and 'frozen' much more readily than English (or British) rivers do now.

(d): With very early occasions (roughly prior to AD1000), there is considerable doubt as to years, never mind actual dates.

(e): Much work using dendrochronology (dating via tree-ring widths), depends on the crude relationship that a warm year >> implied enhanced tree growth (wider tree rings in spring/early summer), provided there is enough moisture. However, this latter factor is more difficult to assess, and so some caution is always advised.


Where possible, I have listed the sources above, but remember that these often simply quote others - refer to the original work for a full bibliography.

1. Climate, history and the modern world.
H.H. Lamb

2. Woodlands.
W. Condry

3. The Observer's Book of Weather.
R. Pearce

4. World Climate from 8000 to 0 B.C.
[ Proceedings of the International Symposium held in 1966 ]
Various contributors
Royal Meteorological Society

5. British floods & droughts.
C.E.P. Brooks & J. Glasspoole

6. The English climate.
H.H. Lamb
English Universities Press

7. The Elements Rage.
F.W. Lane
David & Charles

8. London Weather.
J.H. Brazell
HMSO (Meteorological Office)

9. Contemporary Climatology.
Henderson-Sellers & Robinson
Longman Scientific

10. The climate of the British Isles.
P. B. Wright (Ed: Chandler & Gregory)
Longman Scientific

11. Regional climates of the British Isles.
D. Wheeler and J. Mayes

12. The Bude Canal
Helen Harris & Monica Ellis
David & Charles

13. Weatherwise
Philip Eden
1995 (and updated)

14. The Weather Factor
Erik Durschmied
Hodder & Stoughton

15. Shell Guide to Britain
(ed.) Geoffrey Boumphrey
Ebury Press
1969 (but data checked / amended against later sources)

16. The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History
Colin McEvedy
Penguin Books

17. The Daily Telegraph "Book of the Weather"
Philip Eden

18. "Climate in Everyday Life"
C.E.P. Brooks
Ernest Benn

19. "Encyclopædia Britannica (Multimedia ed.)"
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

20. "The Long Summer"
Brian Fagan
Granta Books

21. "Weather"
Abercromby & Goldie
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.

22. "Weather Men"
Bernard Ashley
Allman & Son

23. "Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles & NW Europe"
H. H. Lamb
Cambridge University Press
1991 (paperback)

24. "The Dorset Weather Book"
Mark Ching & Ian Currie
Frosted Earth

25. Quoted in "Marine flooding in the Thames Estuary ... (etc.) "
James A. Galloway & Jonathan S Potts
Journal compilation, Royal Geographical Society
2007 (copy provided by J. Galloway)

(Source abbreviations: web links may not be available:
17CWx= Extensive notes provided by Jim Storrar (Moffat, Scotland) collating reports relating to 17th century weather events;
[Contact me if you want more information on this source.]
ARMAGH= Record from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland ex. Met Office web site.
CEPB= Climate in Everyday life/Brooks;
CET= Central England Temperature series (Met Office / Hadley Centre);
CHMW/Lamb= Climate, history & the modern world/HH Lamb);
COL=Climatological Observer's Link / reports contained in monthly summaries;
CUMB= Chronicle of Magistrates, Cumbrian Genealogy (;
DWB= The Dorset Weather Book / Mark Ching & Ian Currie;
DWS/MWS= Various Monthly/Daily Weather Summaries (UK Meteorological Office);
EWP= England and Wales Precipitation series (Met Office / Hadley Centre);
GOTT= Entry based on Gottschalk's survey of Medieval Storms to affect the coastal Netherland **(1970s/var.)
GPE= Philip Eden's articles in the Daily Telegraph & elsewhere;
LW= London Weather/Brazell;
LWH= Landmarks of World History web site (;
ORAM= The farming diary of John Oram of Co. Mayo, Connaught, NW Ireland: I have more HERE.
PHILTRANS= On-line resource: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society [ individual papers and annual weather summaries]
RJP= Bob Prichard's summaries of the 20th century; var.
RMS= Royal Meteorological Society 'Weather Log';
SBM=  Stories of the Border Marches (Scotland/England) at:-
TEC= The English Climate/Lamb;
TREF= Web site:
usw= contributors to newsgroup);
VOLC=  Volcanoes/Decker & Decker);
[ ** I have decided to add some events based on Gottschalk's work published in the 1970s; the focus of her work was on the Netherlands, and may not always have had a major impact on the English coastal communities. ]