Our Changing Climate by Dr. Felicity Liggins

Dr. Felicity Liggins

Dr. Felicity Liggins

In the UK, the winter of 2013/14 was truly record-breaking. During a lecture at Dorset County Museum on 11th February Dr Felicity Liggins of the Meteorological Office talks about the possible causes of this exceptional weather and discusses whether climate change could at least partly to blame.

The series of winter storms in 2013 was exceptional in its duration and led to the wettest December to January period since records began. Heavy rains, strong winds and high waves led to widespread flooding and coastal damage causing significant disruption to individuals, businesses and infrastructure. But the UK wasn’t alone in experiencing extreme weather. It also coincided with exceptionally cold weather in Canada and the USA and enhanced rainfall over Indonesia.

Felicity Liggins is a senior climate consultant bringing interpretation of climate science to a range of customers including the oil and gas industries and local government. She helps organisations identify the challenges and opportunities climate change could bring both in the UK and around the world, providing the confidence to make appropriate decisions.
Felicity also leads the Met Office’s STEM Outreach programme, coordinating a network of over 170 Ambassadors and working with other organisations around the UK. The programme promotes the work of the Met Office to young people and wider communities and highlights how a career in science, technology, engineering or maths can be exciting, rewarding and of benefit to society.

The lecture on our changing climate takes place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 11th February and doors are open from 6.30pm. The event is free but donations are welcome and all are welcome to attend. The event is FREE of charge but a donation of £3.00 is encouraged to cover costs. For further information please see www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or telephone 01305 262735.

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Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol 135 – 2014

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Volume 135 - 2014The Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol 135 – 2014 is out now and available at the Dorset County Museum shop for £15.00. For more enquiries Tel: 01305 262735 or email enquiries@dorsetcountymuseum.org

One of the articles featured in the Proceedings and which is of particular interest this time of year is the folk custom of Mumming Plays.

Mumming plays, like several other winter customs, have enjoyed a huge revival in modern times, largely due to the enthusiasm of morris sides. This paper written by Jerry Bird titled  ‘Mumming Plays in Hardy’s Wessex’, delves into the mysterious origins of the Christmas mumming play, before examining its extent and importance in the County of Dorset.

The Mummers, as remembered by Thomas Hardy for the Mummers' play in the 'Return of the Native' performed in Dorchester in 1920 by The Hardy players

The Mummers, as remembered by Thomas Hardy for the Mummers’ play in the ‘Return of the Native’ performed in Dorchester in 1920 by The Hardy players © DCM

Thomas Hardy famously used a mumming play as a dramatic device in his novel Return of the Native, and seems to have had an abiding interest in folk-drama generally; his last published work which was not poetry was The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall, billed as a ‘play for mummers’. He came from a long line of folk-musicians and his cousins performed in the Puddletown play. Despite this, the play he used in his novel appears not to have a local origin, though his description of the players was accurate, and he later borrowed a genuine Dorset script to write a new version for a stage production of ‘Return of the Native’ in the 1920s, thus inadvertently becoming an early revivalist.

Jerry Bird has collected together numerous references to mumming plays in Dorset, and the paper is well illustrated with photographs from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and elsewhere. The incident in which the Fordington mummers did battle with the Bockhampton band in Dorchester in 1845 is covered, with contemporary newspaper accounts reproduced here in full for the first time.The author explores the social and economic background to this event in the context of the upheavals of the time amongst the rural workforce, which included rick-burnings and the’Swing riots’ as well as the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ trial.

The well-known folklorist John Symonds Udal, author of Dorsetshire Folk-lore was an early collector of mumming plays, and fortunately the author was able to have access to his original play scripts and notes. There seems to have been a distinctive character to West Dorset plays in particular, which incorporated other traditions such as the ‘hobby horse’ and the Dorset Ooser.

The Appendix includes the scripts of ten Dorset plays, including Hardy’s own version. These are well annotated with extensive notes, and illustrations, including some musical notation and a photograph of one of Udal’s original scripts.

Other Papers in the Proceedings include:

  • Mabel St Clair Stobart 1862-1954: The Lady of the Black Horse, Peter Down, 1-19
  • ‘Primitive Betrothal’: The Portland Custom and Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved, Jacqueline Dillion, 20-32
  • Sir Claude Scott and the development of Lytchett Minster in the nineteenth century, June Palmer, 33-45
  • How the Newburghs of Lulworth came to own Sutton Poyntz, William Egerton, 46-55
  • The Poets’ Christmas Eve: mythology into verse, Alan Chedzoy, 56-61
  • An account of Mary Anning (1799-1847), fossil collector of Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, published by Henry Rowland Brown (1837-1921) in the second edition (1859) of Beauties of Lyme Regis, Michael A. Taylor and Hugh S. Torrens, 62-70
  • An anonymous account of Mary Anning (1799-1847), fossil collector of Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, published in All the year round in 1865, and its attribution to Henry Stuart Fagan (1827-1890), schoolmaster, parson and author, Michael A. Taylor and Hugh S. Torrens, 71-85
  • Mumming Plays in Hardy’s Wessex, Jerry Bird, 86-148
  • The Cyril Diver Project, John Newbould and David Brown, 149-159
  • The Steve Etches collection of Kimmeridge Clay fossils: a Jurassic jewel on the Jurassic Coast, David M. Martill, 160-164
  • Severe drought and exceptional summer flooding: consequences for the South Winterborne macroinvertebrates, J. A. B. Bass, Patrick D. Armitage and J. L. Pretty, 165-166
  • Coastal landslide mapping of the Black Ven Spittles complex, Charmouth, Chloe Morris and Servel Miller, 167-180
  • New insect fossils from the Lower Lias (Lower Jurassic) of West Dorset, Robert A. Coram, 181-188
  • The gastropod and ammonite fauna of two anomalous facies in the Inferior Oolite of Burton Cliff, South Dorset, John Whicher, David Sole and Robert Chandler, 189-197

Archaeology

  • Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth, Mike Trevarthen, 198
  • Wood Hill, Charlton Down, Charminster, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 198
  • 2 Wick Lane, Christchurch, Mike Trevarthen, 198
  • HMP Dorchester, Dorchester, Tom Weavill, 198
  • Max Gate, Dorchester, Mike Trevarthen, 198-199
  • Wall behind Wadham House, 50 High West Street, Dorchester, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 199
  • New sea wall, Kimmeridge Bay, Kimmeridge, Mike Trevarthen, 199
  • Keates Quarry, Home Field, Acton, Langton Matravers, Mike Trevarthen, 199
  • Lewis Quarry, Home Field, Acton, Langton Matravers, Peter Bellamy, 199
  • Bottle Knap Cottage, Long Bredy, Mike Trevarthen, 199
  • Geophysical survey of the South Lawn, Kingston Lacy Park, Pamphill, Martin Papworth, 199-200
  • Limekilns at Inmosthay Industrial Estate, Inmosthay, Portland, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 200
  • Land to the west of Reap Lane, Southwell, Portland, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 200-201
  • Sherborne House, Newland, Sherborne, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 201
  • Belle Vue Farm, Herston, Swanage, Lilian Ladle, 201
  • Geophysical survey of Long Mound, Beacon Knap, Swyre, Martin Papworth, 201-202
  • Chapelhay Gardens, Weymouth, Peter Bellamy, 202
  • Land to the south of Chickerell Road, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 202
  • South Dorset Ridgeway: Purlands Farm (Winterborne St Martin) to north of Tatton House (Portesham), Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 202-203
  • Cross Farm, Church Street, Yetminster, Richard Tabor and Cheryl Green, 203
  • Dewlish Roman villa: post-excavation report 2013, Iain Hewitt, 203-204
  • The Langton Herring mirror and grave goods, Jon Murden, 205-208
  • The Roman villa at Druce Farm, near Puddletown, Lilian Ladle, 209-211
  • Ower Quay, Keith Jarvis, 212-216
  • The Durotriges Project, phase one: an interim statement, Miles Russell, Paul Cheetham, Damian Evans, Ellen Hambleton, Iain Hewitt, Harry Manley and Martin Smith, 217-221
  • Roman Purbeck Limestone mortars, John Palmer, 222-234
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme 2013, Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen, 235-236
  • Excavation of c. eighteenth-century wall footings at Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock, Martin Papworth, 237-240
  • Roman remains found at Hyde Farm, Shapwick, Kingston Lacy Estate, Martin Papworth, 241
  • The Romano-Celtic temple at Badbury Rings, Dorset, Martin Papworth, 242-271
  • Investigations on the south shore of Brownsea Island by the Dorset Alum and Copperas Industries Project, Peter S. Bellamy, Gill Broadbent, Mark Corney and Clare Wilson, 272-283
  • Investigations at Kimmeridge Bay by the Dorset Alum and Copperas Industries Project, Peter S. Bellamy, Gill Broadbent, Mark Corney, Alan Hawkins, Mike Trevarthen and Clare Wilson, 284-296
  • Investigations on the Studland Circles by the Dorset Alum and Copperas Industries Project, Peter S. Bellamy, Gill Broadbent, Mark Corney and Clare Wilson, 297-310

County Boundary Survey

  • Hampreston: A parish in the counties of Dorset and Hampshire, J. W. Hart, 311-315
  • Boundaries of Dorset, J. W. Hart, 316-319
  • The Dorset County Boundary Survey 2013, Katherine Barker, 320-324
  • The Dorset County boundary at Biddlesgate, between the parishes of Cranborne (Dorset) and Damerham (Hampshire from 1885; formerly Wiltshire), Katherine Barker, 325-333

Reviews

  • A. Eccles, Vagrancy in law and practice under the Old Poor Law, Martin Ayres, 334-335
  • Michael Millgate and Keith Wilson (eds), The collected letters of Thomas Hardy, volume VIII: further letters, Will Abberley, 335-336
  • Michael Hill, East Dorset country houses, Helen Brown, 336-337

Obituary

  • Liz-Anne Bawden MBE (1931-2012), Max Hebditch, 338-339

Natural history reports 2013

  • General weather survey, John Oliver, 340-341
  • Dorset rainfall, John Oliver, 341-345
  • Butterfly survey, Bill Shreeves, 345-349
  • Frome Valley winter bird survey, John Newbould and John Campbell, 350-351
  • Some Dorset plant gall record highlights, John Newbould, 351-352
  • Field meeting reports, John Newbould, 352-355
  • County Boundary Survey visits, Katherine Barker and John Newbould, 355-357

Local auction report 2013, Gwen Yarker, 358-359

Report of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 2013, 360-372

Index, 373-376

Notes for contributors, 377-378

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On a Whirlwind at Bloxworth

Plate A: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Plate A: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Here is an article written by Rev. Octavius Pickard-Cambridge, M.A., F.R.S., &c. from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 17,  1896 entitled ‘On a Whirlwind at Bloxworth’

Most of us, I suppose, have observed those curious rotatory gusts of wind which in summer-time raise the dust (and even sometimes the gravel) along the roads in a spiral form; sometimes raising the dust high into the air, sometimes running a course of only a few yards, at other times considerably more. I have myself seen one of these traverse a hay field, carrying the hay along in a spiral path and whirling it onwards high in the air, depositing it, as the force of the gust died away, in any place but where the unfortunate owner desired, leaving also a well marked and cleared track of some yards in width behind it.

One of the most interesting, in some senses, of these I witnessed in the month of June last, interesting on account of its small size and perfect development, being a whirlwind in miniature. I was standing on a gravel path close to my house; the path was covered with loose, light, sandy gravel, much mixed with minute particles of dead leaves. A little rustling noise at my feet made me look down, when, with the slightest possible sound, the sand and dead-leaf fragments began to rise and move along the path in a spiral form, rising to about two feet high, increasing in speed and width, until at about four yards’ distance the whole had subsided. The whole performance took no more than two minutes, if as much. The cause of these rotatory winds is not, I believe, known; but whatever it may be, we may fairly, I think, conclude that it is, in degree, the same as the cause of those whirlwinds which are of much greater extent and often do great damage in their course. They are of comparatively rare occurrence in this country, but are sometimes noteworthy as presenting many features in common with those of enormous extent and resulting in great destruction, which occur in tropical regions.

The one on which I propose to offer a few remarks to-day is one of a kind of which we do occasionally hear in this country ; but it has an especial interest in the present instance because its path from beginning to end is so plainly traceable, and its effects not only disastrous but in some points curious. This whirlwind took place just at the culminating point of a strong south-westerly gale, on the 10th of November last (1895). The wind rose rapidly during the day, veering from S. to S.W., and continued to blow heavily with heavy rain all the evening ; the barometer fell during the day very nearly three-fourths of an inch, and reached its lowest point (29 inches) near midnight. At just a quarter of an hour later, above the normal noise of the gale I heard a rushing sound as of many heavy goods trains approaching; it roared by, and in five minutes had quite passed away. The gale itself almost immediately slackened, and in half-an-hour or so all was still and quiet. On going, the next morning, into my orchard, I was little prepared for the scene of devastation that presented itself; half the orchard, comprising an area of 21 acres, was as complete a wreck as a dozen or score of men could have made of it in a week’s work. Almost every tree was uprooted, some lying one way, some another; and looking along the line of destruction, each way, the timber (mostly oak) presented a somewhat similar wreck. Some trees were snapped off at the middle of the trunk, others (and those most numerous) with almost every limb torn off, twisted and hurled about in every direction. As soon as I could I traced the path of the whirlwind, and most satisfactorily marked both its beginning and ending (these are shown on the map which I have drawn to illustrate it).    The whole length of the course is exactly one mile, and its width varies from 60 to 80 yards.

Track of Whirlwind at Bloxworth

Track of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

It is as nearly as possible a straight course, and its edges are remarkably well defined; though here and there a tree somewhat away from it is destroyed, and there are at places a tree or trees, quite in the track, untouched.     The direction of the track is exactly S.W., no doubt following the general direction of the gale of wind blowing at the moment.    It began (see map, letter A.) by uprooting a large birch tree, breaking off and otherwise mauling a lot of oak trees, but none of large size. Two elms and various oaks were thrown down in its continuance, until it reached a wood of timber and coppice (letter E.), where several oaks of considerable size were uprooted and many  others torn  to  pieces,  leaving a very   well marked path through the wood; thence the track lay through my orchard (letter I).). Here, referring to the plan, you may see that, crossing the orchard in a diagonal direction, the whirlwind laid low just half of it, as well as broke off or tore to pieces several oak trees in the hedge. * The apple trees were all, excepting one or two, cleanly and completely uprooted.    Some of them were lifted and dropped again at distances varying from two to twenty feet, looking much as though plucked up like a cabbage plant and thrown down a little way off.

Plate B: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Plate B: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

The trees, with earth and all adhering, thus raised could scarcely weigh less than a ton and a-half or more each; they were not thrown down in one direction, but, like the oaks, lay some in one, some in another. The force of the wind thus appears not only to have come in a spiral form, but to have had also a distinct upward stroke. The rest of the track lay through grass fields, and the trees for the most part were in the hedges.   I have marked in the plan with red spots the sites of the principal trees destroyed.   At the bottom of the orchard a transverse red line marks the position of a large limb broken off and blown from an oak tree at about sixty yards’ distance in the wood below it, and shown in one of the photographs exhibited.   Adverting to the  feta of some trees here and there in the track escaping, I may point to letter C. in the plan, where there were eight or ten large elms, some of them directly in the line ; but not a twig even of any one of them showed signs of the wind, whereas a large one close by in the fence at F. was broken off at the trunk. Occurring in the middle of the night, it was not witnessed by any one ; if it had taken place in the day time it would have been a fine sight, and doubtless a bystander might have stood close to the edge of the track and experienced no inconvenience whatever.

The only previous occurrence of the kind, of which I have myself seen any such effects as I have above described, took place in Bloxworth some 20 or 25 years ago, but although its general character and effects were similar the latter were by no means so traceable, or so disastrous; in this former instance the path of the whirlwind was about two miles in length, the attendant circumstances were also very similar—viz., a very rapid previous fall of the barometer, a gale of wind from S,W., and an immediate dropping of the wind after the blast had gone by. I have represented roughly in the plan, by red spots, the various trees destroyed, the larger spots noting the larger trees; but of course I do not pretend to any exact numerical accuracy. The number of apple trees destroyed, however, is just over 40, and they average from 8 to 15 inches in diameter of the trunk; all were planted by myself just 51 years ago. I may mention here that the photographs I have shown were done by one of our Members, Mr. F. J. Beckford, and kindly given to me for the purpose of  illustrating my account of this whirlwind.

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‘Mock Suns’ as seen from Waterson Ridge, Feb 15th 1909

Sun Dogs

“MOCK SUNS,” As seen from Waterson Ridge, Feb 15th 1909 © DCM

Strange Weather Phenomena taken from the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. XXX 1909

MOCK SUNS.- INTERESTING PHENOMENON. – The PRESIDENT read a letter from the Rev. C. W. H. Dicker, vicar of Piddletrenthide, who unfortunately could not attend the meeting, sending a rough sketch of an interesting phenomenon which he saw from Waterson Ridge as he was driving home on Monday, February 15th — apparently- a pair of ” mock suns.” They appeared in a bank of grey mist. The discs were reddish, but sent out white rays. The apparition lasted, he thought, from five o’clock to 5.15.

Mr. MIDDLETON recalled seeing a somewhat similar phenomenon many years ago at Henley Regatta. The real sun in the middle, with a mock sun on either side of it, had also a third mock sun immediately over it, and the three mock suns were connected with the real orb by arching rays of light. Dr. FIELDING said that such a sight was not uncommon on the Norwegian coast, where the sailors and fishermen regarded it as a premonition of foul weather.

Effect of Gale on Beach East of Weymouth 1899

Fig.1 - General view of beach looking towards Preston Coastguard Station in the Distance. Sea on right, Lodmoor (Flooded) on left. Road entirely covered by shingle in storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Fig. 1 – General view of beach looking towards Preston Coastguard Station in the Distance. Sea on right, Lodmoor (Flooded) on left. Road entirely covered by shingle in storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Here is an article written by Nelson M. Richardson, B.A., F.E.S. from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 20,  1899 entitled ‘Notes on the Effect of Gale on February 11-13, 1899, on the Beach to the East of Weymouth’ 

During a violent south-westerly gale which blew from February 11th to 13th, 1899, the tides were unusually high and much damage was done in many places in the South of England. At Weymouth Harbour the tide was stated to have been higher on the morning of Monday, February 13th, than had been the case during the past 20 years. Some damage was done in Weymouth and a ship was driven across on to the rocks at Osmington Mills from her anchorage in Portland Roads.

Fig. 2 - View of lodmoor side of beach, showing damage to road and shingle promontories washed into Lodmoor © DCM

Fig. 2 – View of Lodmoor side of beach, showing damage to road and shingle promontories washed into Lodmoor © DCM

One of the most striking effects of the gale was in connection with the beach and road which run from Greenhill to the Preston Coastguard Station. This ridge of beach is, like the neighbouring Chesil Bank, raised a few feet above high-water mark, though not to the same extent as the latter, and is somewhat over a mile in length and about 40 yards in breadth, including the road. At about a quarter of a mile from Greenhill Gardens it begins to widen, and gets wider as it approaches Weymouth. The height at the old Gatehouse is about 7 feet above high-water mark, and at the point represented in Fig. 3, about a foot lower, the height falling gradually towards the Coastguard Station, near which point the ground rises suddenly and the beach entirely loses its peculiar character, becoming an ordinary sloping sea-beach. This also occurs where the ground rises at the Weymouth end. On the inner or land side lies Lodmoor, a marshy and very low tract of land which is generally flooded in the winter. The road to Preston from Weymouth runs along the land side of the beach, which rises 5 or 6 feet higher between it and the sea, whilst on the sea-side, near the Preston end, are still to be seen, at about the same level as the present road, portions of concrete, which formed the road many years ago. From this we may infer that the beach has been moving inland at a rate possibly approaching 2 to 3 feet in a year, but there do not seem to be sufficient data for accurate measurement. It would also seem probable, considering the effect of the storm of February last, that much, if not the whole, of the movement was caused by large steps in previous storms and was not the result of any gradual process, as except in very rough weather the waves do not nearly reach the top of the beach.

Fig. 3 - Men cleaning shingle from road about half way between old gatehouse and coastguard station after storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Fig. 3 – Men cleaning shingle from road about half way between old gatehouse and coastguard station after storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

During the gale, an immense quantity of shingle was thrown over on to the road, covering it for the space of about half a mile of the Preston end to the depth of some feet ; in one place it is stated to have amounted to 6 ft., but usually the depth was about 3 feet. On the side of the road adjoining Lodmoor much damage was done in places by the scooping out of large hollows in the road, and down these hollows masses of shingle were poured, forming promontories projecting into Lodmoor. This is well shown in Fig. 2, where the lady (Mrs. Richardson) is standing at the middle of the road. This photograph was taken from the edge of one of the shingle promontories. Preston Coastguard Station is seen in the distance, and about midway lies a very long shingle promontory.

Fig. 1 is taken from the top of the beach and gives a general view of the whole, the road being quite invisible. In the distance is the Preston station, with the sea to the right and Lodmoor flooded to the left. Far away on the left of the beach are the men, about 80 in number, employed to clear the road.

Fig. 4 - Men cleaning shingle from road (nearer coastguard station than Fig.3). Shingle 3ft. deep or more over road.

Fig. 4 – Men cleaning shingle from road (nearer coastguard station than Fig.3). Shingle 3ft. deep or more over road.

Figs. 3 and 4. show the men employed in clearing away the shingle. Fig. 3 is taken at a spot about midway between the old gate house and the Coastguard Station, where the shingle was about 2 feet deep. Fig. 4 at a spot nearer Preston where the shingle was about 3 feet deep. It shows a bank of about 6 feet high thrown up on the sea-edge of the road, with the sea just visible over the top.

The whole of the movement of shingle and destruction of the road is said to have taken place early on the morning of Monday, February 13th, and to have been accomplished in the short space of half-an-hour. This may have been the case, considering that the full effect of the sea would only be felt whilst the tide was at its greatest height. No similar covering up of the road by shingle has occurred for many years, if ever, and the present one is confidently ascribed in many quarters to the erection of the new breakwater. In the absence of direct evidence on this point, it would seem that the very high tides and violent S.W. gale coming together might have been amply sufficient to cause the disaster, had the new breakwater not existed.

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1824; Weymouth, the Great Storm

VICTORIAN TALES FROM WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND

This being the morning before zero hour…I thought that this might well be a good time to write about the Great Storm of 1824 that hit the country. Those living on the South coast were worst hit.

This is a tale of a storm that was so severe and so destructive that it has gone down in Weymouth’s legend. My father used to recount the tale, it had been handed down through the family, as I’m sure it had been through many others. You mention the year 1824 to any old Weymouthian, and they’ll shake their head as they recall tales told of the devastation to the town and nearby.

Well, here we are again, and if the amount of media hype around he forthcoming ‘Storm’ is anything to go by, this could be another biggun that’ll go down in the history books! But the again it might just be…

View original post 1,350 more words

Freak Weather in Dorset

Water Spout over Batcombe?

Water Spout over Batcombe?

We might think we have had some strange weather this year. However some strange and devastating storms have occurred in Dorset, as highlighted in the Anniversary Address of the President of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club in 1891.

“A remarkable phenomenon in the shape of a waterspout occurred at High Stoy, the highest point of a range of hills between Melbury and Minterne, on the 7th of June last, about six o’clock p.m.

It followed the road which traverses the crest of the hill, tearing up the largest stones from its foundation. It was preceded by much thunder and lightning, but with little rain, during the previous afternoon. The column of water, which was described as being about the thickness of a man’s body, moved at a rapid rate in the direction of the axis of the hill range, shown by the devastation it occasioned.  Holes eight or nine feet deep were dug out in several part of the road, and an overwhelming stream hurled the material down the hill side. The Rev. A. J. Poole, of Stowell Rectory, in his description of it said there was no other evidence of the destructive effects of the waterspout neither on the other parts of the road nor on the surrounding land, and that the holes could not be assigned to the action of a storm, as the height.

The contents of the waterspout were poured out in its passage over Batcombe, Hannaford, and Chetnole on the west side ; Cerne and Minterne on the north. The tumultuous torrents poured down the hill side and took the course of a small stream, which soon overflowed its banks, carrying destruction to everything which opposed Its course.

At Hannnaford Mill much stock was drowned, and at Chetnole Mills the men had scarcely time to escape before they had reached the first floor.  Large trees were uprooted and carried down some distance by the force of the stream.

About a hundred yards of Major Wingfield Digbys gardenwall and his greenhouse were thoroughly wrecked.  Through his help several school children were promptly rescued from a watery grave.  The atmosphere disturbance in the neighbourhood were very excessive; thunder and lightning, accompanied with torrents of rain, occured at Cattistock in the afternoon of the 7th of June. At Melbury there was thunder and lightning without rain. A terrific thunder storm occurred at Langton Herring on the night of the 6th.

At Whatcombe there were heavy thunderstorms that night, which lasted until 11.30 p.m.; the rain was inconsiderable. Mr. G. T. Symons, F.R.S., the eminent meteorologist, regretted that the contents of the waterspout had not been tested so as to ascertain whether the water which supplied it was fresh or salt. Mr. Poole states a lady of his acquaintance saw a large waterspout a few years ago carried up from the sea with one of its spouts hanging over Batcombe Hill, which ultimately became absorbed in the clouds.”