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Much of the information contained in these records must of necessity be 'tentative' to say the least! Up to about 1000 years ago, we only have archaelogical evidence to reconstruct the record: some Roman chroniclers provide cursory evidence for the Romano-Celtic / British era, but it is not until roughly from AD 800 that documentary records make a major contribution - and of course, the era of instrumental record doesn't really start until the 17th century, and even then, inconsistencies / errors in the instrumentation make the early record questionable.

Prior to the age of scientific enquiry, the climatological data have been reconstructed using 'proxy' data, such as tree ring records (dendroclimatology), ice-core sampling, estate records, tales of war and the administration of great kings, monastic lists etc.

Use this matrix (below) if you have a particular year, or period in mind; if you want to see how the various events fit into the overall picture, use the TIME-SLICE option. You can also return to the main 'MetIndex' entry page, and use the "Site Search" facility, courtesy of Google.

MAIN HISTORICAL MENU TIME - SLICE MENU
4000
- 100BC
100BC
-499AD
500
-750
751
-999
1000
-1099
1100
-1199
1200
-1299
1300
-1399
1400
-1499
1500
-1599
1600
-1649
1650
-1699
1700
-1749
1750
-1799
1800
-1849
1850
- 1899
1900
- 1949
1950
- 1974
1975
- 1999
2000
- 2049
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This graph will help put the "ups and downs" of temperature into some historical context; remember though that for years before instrumentation, the graph is estimated from proxy records, and individual workers have different interpretations of the raw data.


These notes should be read alongside the data contained on this site

KEY TO COLOUR SLICING AGAINST EVENTS
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.

 T
(='hot' or 'cold' events)
 hot
 cold
 R
(='wet' or 'dry' events)
 wet
 dry
 S
(=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.

MAIN HISTORICAL MENU TIME - SLICE MENU

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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
Methuen
1982

2. Woodlands.
W. Condry
Collins
1974

3. The Observer's Book of Weather.
R. Pearce
Warne
1980

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

5. British floods & droughts.
C.E.P. Brooks & J. Glasspoole
Benn
1928

6. The English climate.
H.H. Lamb
English Universities Press
1964

7. The Elements Rage.
F.W. Lane
David & Charles
1966

8. London Weather.
J.H. Brazell
HMSO (Meteorological Office)
1968

9. Contemporary Climatology.
Henderson-Sellers & Robinson
Longman Scientific
1986

10. The climate of the British Isles.
P. B. Wright (Ed: Chandler & Gregory)
Longman Scientific
1976

11. Regional climates of the British Isles.
D. Wheeler and J. Mayes
Routledge
1997

12. The Bude Canal
Helen Harris & Monica Ellis
David & Charles
1972


13. Weatherwise
Philip Eden
Macmillan
1995 (and updated)


14. The Weather Factor
Erik Durschmied
Hodder & Stoughton
2000


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
1961


17. The Daily Telegraph "Book of the Weather"
Philip Eden
Continuum
2003


18. "Climate in Everyday Life"
C.E.P. Brooks
Ernest Benn
1950


19. "Encyclopædia Britannica (Multimedia ed.)"
(various)
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
1999


20. "The Long Summer"
Brian Fagan
Granta Books
2004


21. "Weather"
Abercromby & Goldie
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
1934


22. "Weather Men"
Bernard Ashley
Allman & Son
1970


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
1997


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 (homepages.Tesco.net/~rolygrigg/);
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 (www.phenomena.org.uk/);
ORAM= The farming diary of John Oram of Co. Mayo, Connaught, NW Ireland: I have more HERE.
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:-
http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/4/4/1/14416/14416.htm
TEC= The English Climate/Lamb;
TREF= Web site: www.timeref.com
usw= contributors to uk.sci.weather 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. ]

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