A full and true relation of the most terrible
A Full and True
Of the most Terrible and Dreadful
Tempest of Thunder & Lightening, Hail and Rain
That ever yet was seen or heard in England.
Giving a Faithful Account
of the vast Losses, Damages, and Calamities sustained theirby in the Towns of Hitching, Offly, Eccleford, Potton, Clifton, Henly, Bigglesworth, with several other Villages and Market-Towns in the Counties of Hartford, Bedford, Huntington, &c Wherein even Men have some by Lightening, and others by the Fury of the Hail been miserable and suddenly slain, particularly one at Offley, whose Dead Body by the force was driven three Miles towards a Town called Hitchin, nigh to which place three Horses were taken up with Saddles, &c. On their Backs, their Riders having miserably perish'd by the Hail.
To which is added,
particular Account of the sad and dismal Disasters that happen'd at Potton in Bedfordshire, where the Lightening was so extraordinary scorching, as to burn up the very green Corn as it grew in the Fields, with this hightening circumstance of Wondert that one Acre should be Burnt to the old Clods, and the very next not in the least touched As also a particular Relation of the great Damages sustan'd by Sq. Harvey and others, in their Houses, Corn, Cattle &c.
The Whole communicated in a Letter out of Hartfordshier from Mr. I. Tord, to his Son-in-law Mr Burchfield near the Blew-Coat at Bishopsgate Barrs
The Truth of this Relation will be Confirm'd by Mr. [...]Beaumont, at the sign of the Hand in Hand [...] [...]
PUBLISHED BY J. Wilkins.
1.1. True and particular Account of the late terrible and dreadful Storm of Hail, &c.
I Having received the full Particulars of the ensuing dreadful Relation, not only from the aforesaid Worthy Gentleman, but also from several other liberating Circumstances, and being well satisfied with Truth thereof, as a subject worthy of our most serous consideration, I have carefully publish'd the same from the Original Copy, which is as follows.
[...] here send you a very dreadful and strang Relations from Hitching, Potton, and Offly, but indeed it got more strang then true; for so it happen'd, that is the Fourth of this Instant, about Three of the Clock in the Afternoon, at Offly, about Three Miles from Hitching, in the County of Hartford, there arose out of the Southwest a very strang dark Cloud and several other great dark Clouds arose from the East, and [...]e from the West and some North, meeting with [...] fury as tho' they design'd to rush in Battel, breaking out into most dreadful cracks of Thunder, and flashes of great Lightening one against another, in an unusual and strang manner, being so very great in many places that the very Houses shook and totterd, [Page 3] even where I was tho' I was not near the biggest of the Tempest by Five, or Six Miles.
About Offley it began to be so very dreadful, and the People began to be very sorely affrighted, not only with the Lightening, and Thunder, but also the greatness of the Hail, which came down in such prodigious manner, that never the like was seen or read of in this Kingdom, there fell, some as big as Hen Eggs, some as big as Penny Loves, and some bigger. Many People do affirm there were as big as a Crown of a Hat, most of them in strang shapes and forms, much like pieces of thick Ice, which held wring down for about half an Hour, in which time it cover'd the Eearth in several places Five, or Six foot in Thickness, especially on the Hills and dry cha [...] pion Ground notwithstanding the Rain which fell with it
It did much harm about Offley, one Man being in an adjacent Field, was either kill'd by the Lightning or knock'd on the Head by the Violence of the Hail and Rain, by which his Body was driven away down the Hills, and taken up near Hitching, after having flowed near three Miles: There was also taken up to the SaddleHorses, and an Horse with a Pannel on the Back, the Riders whereof, 'tis fear'd where kill'd by the Hail, tho their Persons, perhaps covered with Earth, are not yet found; for the Ground being very dry, and the Storm suddain and violent, it was over flow'd in some places five or six Foot deep, to the Consternation of the People of those parts, it happening to be on the Market-Day, many were in the Market and [Page 4] passing and repassing on the Road: I believe several, getting the Rainbow, the Seal of God's Covenant [...]h Noah, expected nothing less than a Universal Deluge; the Hail was measur'd, and (when much wast [...] some were Eight and others Ten Inches round: [...]credibly reported that the weight of several were fifteen, sixteen, and some twenty Ounces.
One Man that was in the Field, tho in the very [...]ts of the Storm, told me himself, that notwithstanding he crept into a thick Hedge for shelter, yet a Hailstone struck through and hit him such a blow as [...]ded him for a long time, and he verily believed, that the same Hailstone would have beat his Brains out, had he not been shelter'd by the Hedge.
The Harm done at Hitching is very considerable, and I believe the whole is not as yet known; for it's [...]r'd there are more slain than are yet found out, [...]withstanding we have an account of seven persons suddenly destroyed. From Lightening and Tempest; in Plague, Pesilence, and Famine, from Battle and Murder, and from Sudden Death, Good Lord deliver us.
In Offley field or near it in the forenoon of the same [...], it is affirm'd, by several that saw it, that where they had Plowed, and laid their Land upon Stiches and in the Afternoon the violence of the Hail had [...]t all the Earth down again, and laid it as plain tho' it had not been Plow'd, but rowled with a howl even and plain to the great Astonishment of the holders. Besides the dreadful fright and Amazement the People were in, lest their Houses should be [Page 5] beat down on their Heads, (for their Tyles and Windows were all shatter'd to pieces) there was also much Harm done by the Water in several Cellars, S [...] and Ware-houses, some particular persons having two-Hundred pounds worth of Harm done in less than half an Hours time.
This dreadful and Astonishing Tempest, with [...] fury, passed from Hitching, where it left Hail, as aforesaid. Five Foot in Thickness, and so rais'd the Water in a short time that no person could pass, so went over the Fields and came near to Clifton and Henly in Bedfordshire, and so towards Bigglesworth, and so to Potton, another Market-Town, and from there down into Huntingtonshire, where, for the present we shall leave traceing it, and proceed to an ex [...] Relation of the Loss, damage, and Harm sustain'd and about the Township of Potton.
And first, On the South-West side of the Town there was Rye growing, a great deal whereof ever Green as it was entirely was consum'd and Burnt [...] but what scap'd the fiery Lighiening, fell by the side of the Hail, and was beat down beyond Hopes of any Recovery: But what is most astonishing is That a part of the Crop of a Field or Close should be destroy'd, and the other not in the least harm'd: One Man's Corn burnt up, another Man's beat flat to the Ear and yet prehaps a Plat of Ground betwixt both rather on one Hand or the other in the least wrong in notwithstanding the Corn in each was of equal groth, But yet we cannot attribute this so wonderous a Judgment to any thing of Sin more in one Man [Page 6] then another, if we remember what Christ told his Disciples in the 13 of Luke, when some told him of the Galileans Whose Blood Pilate had mingled with their Sacrafice; Suppose ye (said he) that those Galileans, were sinners above all the Galilans, becase they suffer'd such things? I tell you, nay; but except ye repent, ye [...]l all likewise perish. Or those Eighteen upon whom the [...]er of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye they were Sinners above all Men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell [...]nay, &c. I could heartily wish that those principally concerned, would look upon it as a Warning and Repent, and that others would esteem it as a Memento not to be ungrateful to Heaven, which in Mercy has preserv'd their Persons and Substances from the [...]y, Misery, and Calamity of so dreadful and sudden a Judgment. Ingrato homine terre pejus nil creat [...] very Heathens could say; but to be concise.
In the Town of Potton, as aforesaid, so terrible and monsterous was the Tempest that besides several greatly damaged, two New Houses were intirely levell'd with the Ground; And indeed so strange and wonderful was the Shower or rather Storm, that the People would neither discern any thing that was above Two [...]es off them, there was no intermission of Drops, but the Water power'd down like a River out of the Clouds [...]hout any seperation.
At Eccleford near Sandy, the Hail broke most part the Tyles and Windows of a great House, belonging to one Squire Harvies the reparation where of a modest compution will cost about a Hundred [...]nd.
Of any particular persons in or about this Town Killed I have no certain Account, yet there is several (more is the Pity) in the Borders of Huntingtonshire. Nor is the Loss amongst Cattel, of all sorts, less than the Damage in Corn: The whole being indeed without any addition in respect both of the Thunder Lightening and Hail, even more dreadful and terrible that can be well related, or easily conceived.
Upon the whole I crave leave to observe, that this terible Judgment is little inferior in dread those fearful ones executed, at several times on the sinful and rebellions Israelites, obstinate Pharoah &c. so there is all reason imaginable to believe that the [...]dos, as those did formerly, forebode and forer [...] something very extraordinary: I could heartily with it would be every man's particular care and good prudence (let his profession be what it will) serious to examine whither this so very visible Finger of God is pointed out unto us, as a Tryal of our Faith, Patience, &c. or as a just reward for our hainous Sir and vile Iniquities; for my own part, I am veri [...] perswaded; that now, even now, the Ax is laid unto the Root of the Tree; therefore every Tree that bringed not forth good Fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the Fire.
Jehovah, like a tender hearted Father, deals with us, and happy were we would we but see it, he [...] allures and strives to win us by Mercies and Favours and then upon refusal, gently corrects, not furiously in rage and passion, but with a sweet Mixture and a day of Mercy shews us the evil of our ways and foolisness of our doings. Wo be unto us if we take note [Page 8] note of these things, if we do not, then as the Scripture says it will certainly be more tollerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the great day of the Lord than [...]s.
To sum up the whole, and to prevent, as much to be, the world from being abused with false Reasons I could not but think my self obliged to de [...] that this before recited dreadful Relation con [...] nothing but very matter of fact, as the same was [...] y abstracted from the Original Letter sent to Mr. [...]field next door to the Blew-Coat in Bishops-Gate- [...] near the Barrs: which said original Letter, for further and better Satisfaction of such as may be [...]tful of the truth hereof, is to be seen at Mr Ni [...]Beaumonts at the Sign of the Hand in Hand-Ally [...]out Bishops-Gate.