Volcano Seasons
Weather reports from northern Britain, 1785

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Presented here are reports relating to weather in 1785 from two northern English newspapers, the east-coast Newcastle Courant, and the west-coast Cumberland Pacquet (published in Whitehaven). [My own occasional comments appear in square brackets.]

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CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 4 Jan 1785: Last Tuesday a boat belonging to Allonby, caught 108 maze of herrings.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 8 Jan 1785: Since our last, the following additional subscriptions for relief of the poor inhabitants of Shetland, have been received at the Tyne Bank: Amount of subscriptions last week, £180 5 0
[8 subscriptions listed, mostly one or two guineas, but including £21 from the Corporation of Newcastle.] At a General Meeting of the Subscribers to the above Charity, held at Bella's Coffee-house, on Tuesday the 4th inst. Resolved, that the Subscription be kept open at the Tyne Bank, until March, at which time, it appeared from the accounts then produced, the relief would be most seasonable.— That a vessel shall then be loaded with Oat and Barley Meal, to the amount of the Subscription, and sent down to be distributed by the Ministers of each parish, to the poor inhabitants.— That Mr Lamb, Mr Skelton, and Mr Batson, be appointed a Committee, to carry the above resolutions into execution.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 11 Jan 1785: We are informed that the snow is 40 feet deep upon the road up to Black Hambleton, at Sutton-under-Whitestonecliff, and that it will not be passable for many days, neither can any road be cut through, as it overhangs so much that there would be the utmost danger of the workmen being buried beneath it.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 11 Jan 1785: Accounts from various parts of the country describe the storm on Tuesday night, as the most severe of any that has been this winter; it was a heavy rain here, and at a few miles distance there was a great fall of snow; at Keswick, the rain came down in such abundance that the water entered almost every house in the town, while, at a very little distance, several of the roads, which had been perfectly open, were, in places, entirely blocked up by the snow. It is probable that the effects of the same storm had been felt in a similar manner in the interior parts of the kingdom, as the post did not arrive here on Friday, till four hours after the usual time.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 15 Jan 1785: Tuesday se'nnight we had a violent rain, which continued some time, attended with a strong wind from the West; and accounts from various parts describe it as the most severe storm of any that has been this winter. It was a heavy rain in Whitehaven and Hexham, and at a few miles distance of each of those places there was a great fall of snow. At Keswick, the rain came down in such abundance, that the water entered almost every house in the town, while, at a very little distance, several of the roads, which had been perfectly open, were, in places, entirely blocked up by the snow; and a tradesman of Allandale Town, on his return home from Hexham market, not being able to get through the snow, after struggling till he was overcome with fatigue, laid himself down, and died.
We hear that the snow is 40 feet deep upon the road up to Black Hambleton, at Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe. Sunday afternoon the ice on the Tyne began to give way at Corbridge; and, on Monday, it broke up, and came down, on that and the succeeding day, in large bodies, so that the river is now completely open.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 15 Jan 1785: It appears that the present distress of the inhabitants of the Shetland Islands is occasioned, in a considerable degree, by the want of Seed Corn last spring; at which time Messrs Bruce, Bolt and Riddell say, in their letter to Mr Alison of Hull, dated Dec. 7, "Necessity obliged them to save their own lives, by eating the Seed they should have thrown into the ground."

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 15 Jan 1785: We hear from Sunderland, that several more ships, which were drove on shore in the late gale, to the southward of that town, have been got off this week, three of whom are arrived in that harbour.
We hear with pleasure that the Elize, West Indiaman, stranded upon this coast, near Bondicar, given up by her owners as irrecoverable, and afterwards sold to Mr Francis Hurry, of Howdon Dock, was, by the vigilance of his people, got off on Wednesday, and arrived safe at Shields on Thursday morning.
A correspondent writes us, who has been privy to the calamities of the late dreadful storm upon this coast, "that in justice to the inhabitants within the bounds of the unhappy sufferers, he cannot be silent without thus publicly announcing how ardently they afforded every assistance, and painted with affection the true colours of christianity."

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 22 Jan 1785: Saturday last we had so hard a frost that the Tyne had the appearance of being again closed up, but a fine thaw came on from the West on Sunday evening, and on Monday the ice above the bridge, attended with a great fresh, came down with such force as drove three ships from their moorings at the Quay, but fortunately no damage happened.
Friday se'nnight as Mr Blackett's servant, of Helton Hall, near Appleby, was crossing over a stubble field, in which was a hollow place filled with snow, he thought he heard a noise or something stir amongst it; when he found a ewe, which had remained in that situation forty days; she looks well, and as likely to live. Saturday in a field adjoining Bolam Moor-house, a sheep lying under the snow was scented by two dogs, and on digging it was taken out alive, although it had been six weeks buried, without any other hurt than being stripped of the skin on its knees, by laying so long upon them; the farmer is now nurturing it with milk and hay, and it appears to be in good spirits.
Saturday se'nnight, Mr Newby, schoolmaster at Thirsk, went with a young man (one of his pupils,) up to Hambleton and got to Cold Kirby. On their return home on Monday, the fog set in so very much that they were separated, and on Tuesday Mr Newby was found dead in the snow. The young man had sat down and fallen asleep; after he awoke he wandered about a long time, and at length got to Cowsby, about eight miles from Cold Kirby, before he knew where he was. It is remarkable that Mr Newby very narrowly escaped being lost in the snow twelve or fourteen years ago. It appears by a regular journal of the weather kept at Belfast, in Ireland, that they had two hundred and twenty-five days without a drop of rain in the year 1784.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 29 Jan 1785: On the 20th inst. a sheep belonging Mr Thomas Hall, of Four Dargue House, near Alston, was taken out of Alston Quarry, where it had stood since the snow came on, and could get at nothing but snow; as soon as it got out it run home to the hay stack, at the distance of about 300 yards.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 29 Jan1785: Wednesday the Blackbird, of Sunderland, _____ Dobison, Master, drove on shore, in the late gale, between Easington and Hartlepool, was got off, and brought into Sunderland harbour.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 1 Feb 1785: A Great deal of snow fell here on Sunday last, accompanied with a heavy gale of wind from the N.W. which last continued all night, and the greatest part of yesterday.— During Sunday night the frost has been the most intense that can be remembered, and the roads in the neighbourhood are, in some places, scarce passable. The adjacent hills of Scotland are all covered with snow.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 1 Feb 1785: Since the thaw came in, two arches of Duddon bridge, near Broughton, in Lancashire, have fallen down.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 5 Feb 1785: Sunday, at noon, a great storm of snow came from the south, afterwards it shifted to the east, at night it got full north, with a most violent wind, which lasted till next morning, when it greatly subsided; a severe frost then set in, which has continued ever since, and the Tyne, above bridge, is again closed up; but happily we hear of no material damage at sea. The snow fell very deep in several parts of the country, and the Hexham Road was rendered impassable for two days, so that the carriers from Carlisle, which generally arrive here on the Tuesday's, did not come in till Thursday; and the Barnard-castl carriers, which should have been here yesterday, are not yet arrived.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 5 Feb 1785: Sunday night, from a shower of snow, a ship, making this harbour, got not a sight of the Light House, till so near the shore, that it with difficulty altered its course, and got in with safety.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Feb 1785: Monday se'nnight, two fashionable young gentlemen passed through the city of Edinburgh in a sledge, drawn by one horse. It had the appearance of the body of a chaise, but without wheels, and was in imitation of the machine used in Russia, for travelling on the top of snow.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Feb 1785: The following subscriptions are received at Darlington Bank, in addition to the 66£ 11s formerly mentioned, for Shetland,
[five subscriptions totalling £6 16s 6d, the largest being two of £2 2s each , from a Friendly Society at the Buck Inn, in Staindrop, and from an anonymous donor.]

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Feb 1785: Tuesday as several loaden keels were sailing down the river, by the rapidity of a high spring tide, and the force of the ice, two of them were sunk near the Bridge, and another overset, by getting fast under one of the arches of the Bridge.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Feb 1785: Monday se'nnight, the John and Ann, of Sunderland, Edward Robson, Master, by stress of weather sprung a leak at sea, which obliged them to run her on shore near the Spurn Point, where they lightened her of her cargo of coals, after which she was got off without material damage. We are sorry to learn there are others, of which the particulars are not come to hand.
A letter from Whitby, dated Feb 1, says, "Yesterday, in a hard gale of wind at N.W. the Apollo, Meggitt, of Hull, lying below Bridge, broke from her Moorings, and received considerable damage. She greatly injured the Bridge, and drove several houses down."

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Feb 1785: Last week the bodies of three sailors, drowned in the late storm, came ashore near Marsdon Rocks, and were buried at Whitburn.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 15 Feb 1785: All the dreadful effects of the late violent storm, on the east coast, have not yet been made known; we have it from indisputable authority, that not less than one hundred and four bodies, which had been cast up, were interred one day, in a church-yard in Northumberland.
The contributions made for the relief of the numerous families who have suffered by this general calamity, in the different towns, are a credit to the inhabitants.— The town of Sunderland, in particular, has distinguished itself by the spirit displayed on so melancholy an occasion.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 19 Feb 1785: Wednesday night we had a most violent gale of wind from the N.E. attended with a considerable fall of snow; and, on Thursday morning, it blew particularly strong, when the fall became severer than at any time during this winter; about noon it began to clear up, and the wind became moderate, but the fall, attended with a very strong frost, has continued at intervals, and the Tyne is closed up from the Bridge to the middle of Sandgate.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 19 Feb 1785: Harwich, Feb. 7. This day arrived here the brig Balloon, from Sunderland with coals, Mr William Johnson master, after receiving considerable damage in the violent gale of wind on Monday last, when she was obliged to part from her anchor and cable off the Spurn Head, bearing N.N.W.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 19 Feb 1785: The Brig Brothers, of and for Scarborough, from Petersburgh, with hemp, iron, and deals, forced on the rocks at Boulmer, in Northumberland, December 6th, was got off last Monday very much damaged, and sailed for this river to repair.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 22 Feb 1785: We had another very heavy fall of snow, in this part of the country, last week, which has been succeeded by a most inveterate frost.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 22 Feb 1785: A most uncommon quantity of cod fish have lately been, and continue to be, taken on the coast of this county.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 26 Feb 1785: Leeds, Feb. 22. Sunday morning at eight o'clock, a Fahrenheit's Thermometer, placed on a south aspect, stood at twenty degrees below the freezing point.— A degree of cold not frequently experienced in England.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 5 Mar 1785: The Most Noble Errington having ordered his Agents to distribute corn to the poor in the neighbourhood of Beaufront, last week and this they have given to upwards of 160 necessitous persons a Winchester kenning of barley each, which well-timed act of generosity has greatly relieved the hardships they have suffered in this inclement season.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 5 Mar 1785: Saturday one George Hedley, a labouring man, perished in the snow in going from Edmondbyers to Stanhope, where he lived. He was a stout young man, and not 30 years of age. His body was found last Tuesday. He has left a wife and four small children.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 8 Mar 1785: The river Tyne was so much frozen the week before last, that the London traders, arrived at Shields, were not able to get up to Newcastle, to discharge their cargoes.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Mar 1785: Notwithstanding the long continuance of the frost, we are happy to inform the public, that the river is now open, and the craft are now all at full employ.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 15 Mar 1785: In the last frost, which was remarkably severe in this neighbourhood, there was an ox of an enormous size roasted on the Lake of Windermere, near Rawlinson's Nab.— An amazing concourse of people, of all ranks, from the neighbouring towns and villages, assembled together on this important occasion.— A select band of music was procured from Kendal, and many hogsheads of strong October were plentifully distributed to the populace. After this, the gentlemen proposed a skaiting match, for a hat of considerable value; the distance was two miles and a half, which the victor performed in three minutes.— One of them, jut approaching the goal, (such is the fickleness of fortune) fell prostrate on the slippery surface, and dislocated his shoulder. The bets were very considerable.— Afterwards there was a wrestling match for a belt, in caulkered clogs, which afforded infinite diversion.— The evening concluded with a magnificent assembly at Low Wood Inn.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 19 Mar 1785: Extract of a letter from North Shields, March 17.
"The tide on Friday afternoon was reckoned the most rapid indraught ever remembered: the wind had blown fresh at W.N.W. all the morning, at about two in the afternoon the wind chopt suddenly about to the N. and N.E. blowing very hard, and accompanied with severe hail and snow. Several ships had hove out of the Girt expecting a sea tide, when this change of wind, and the violence of the flood, caused them to drive upon other ships, and in a few minutes the whole harbour was a scene of confusion and distress. Amongst many others, the following ships received damage, viz. John and Dorothy lost her foremast, mizzen mast, bowsprit, and otherwise damaged— Prudent lost her bowsprit, anchors, and 70 fathoms of cable— Ward and Isabella lost her bowsprit— Fishburn lost three anchors, and drove on Jarrow's Lake— Golden Grove had her starboard bow stove in, and lost her bowsprit.— Elizabeth lost two anchors— A boy was killed on board the Hannah, Chapman, by his head being caught in the bite of a rope, and nearly tore off, two others dangerously wounded; besides the above, there were a number of other ships lost their anchors, and received damage to their rigging, &c."

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 22 Mar 1785: A meteorological correspondent assures us from observation, that from the 18th of October till last Thursday, which is a period of 142 days, there have been only 26 in which the thermometer has not been from one to 18 degrees ½ below the freezing point, which is a more constant succession of cold weather than has been known in this climate.— Last year there were 89 days of frost, and in the year 1776 there were 84; in 1763 there were 94 days of frst, and the celebrated winter of 1739 there were only 130 which are 12 fewer than the present winter.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 9 Apr 1785: York, April 5. Last Thursday night and Friday morning, we had the greatest fall of snow that has been at any one time this season, accompanied with an intense frost. The snow on Friday morning, on a level where none was drifted, measured above 12 inches deep. Since then we have had many heavy showers of snow, and at intervals some fine sunshine gleams. On Saturday morning Farenheit's Thermometer stood at 19.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 7 May 1785: A letter from Newry says, that the Constant Trader, Capt. Campbell, from Aberdeen, is put in there in great distress, having lost her main and mizen masts and bowsprit in a hard gale of wind, in which she also sprung a leak, and the crew had worked hard at the pumps to keep her above water, but she sank soon after she got in, and one man and a boy were drowned.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 10 May 1785: We hear that, for some time past, great quantities of cod-fish have been taken off Ravenglass, which is said to excel in flavour any fish of that species ever got on this side of the land. The fish having chiefly left the Allonby coast, several boats from thence have plied off Ravenglass with great success; a conveyance from Stubb-Place to Manchester, where there is a consumption for any quantity that may be caught, is established; proper carts are always in waiting, and there is no doubt that if suitable attention was paid to it, something considerable might be done in the fishing trade, at Ravenglass.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 10 May 1785: Saturday last a gentleman, angling in Ennerdale Lake, caught a Salmon upwards of six pounds weight.— It is the first salmon ever remembered to have been taken in that water.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 24 May 1785: Accounts from various parts of this county, mention the most remarkable changes in the weather that ever were experienced at this season of the year; bleak winds, with frequent showers of sleet; and even snow has fallen in several places. The mountains on Tuesday and Wednesday presented an appearance of December, and the air as uncommonly sharp and piercing.— Throughout the whole county, a want of rain is generally complained of, the ground having yet received little nourishment, except from the very timely and gentle melting of the winter snows, which produced an effect equal to that of the most kindly showers; but its influence seems now to be nearly at an end.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 7 Jun 1785: Green pease, the first this season, were sold in our market on Thursday last.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 11 Jun 1785: Messrs Jos. Lamb, Jona. Skelton, and Wm Batson.
GENTLEMEN,       Lerwick, in Shetland, 20th April, 1785.
Some days ago, Captain Barras, of the Industry, arrived here, and landed us your much esteemed favor, of the 31st ult. his cargo consisting of 858 winchester bushels of barley, and 6½ tons of oat meal, is now landed safe and in good condition. This donation has come most seasonably to the relief of the poor inhabitants of Shetland; their distresses have been, and are still very great; but they owe the highest gratitude to Heaven, for having moved the passion of so many humane and benevolent persons, who could know no more of them than that they were miserable; we cannot find language to express our feelings on this occasion; we shall only assure you that the strictest obedience shall be given to your orders, and that in managing the distribution so far as we are concerned, the utmost attention shall be paid to the necessities of the people; and we beg leave, in name of the many objects of your compassion, to return you their and our most sincere thanks, for an instance of beneficence so seasonable and unexpected.
The distribution of this cargo among the poor, requiring immediate dispatch, and being impossible to procure a meeting of the Clergy in proper time, we the subscribers hereof, have divided it among the several parishes, in such a way, as we have reason to think will afford general satisfaction, leaving the partial sub-division of each parish allotment, to the Minister and Elders, who you may rest assured will execute the trust with all possible fidelity and attention.
We have done every thing in our power to promote the sale of the seven lasts oats, brought in by Capt. Barras, on his own account; but as yet our endeavours to this purpose are without success, and indeed the funds of the country, both public and private, are so exhausted, by providing for the poor in these several successive years of famine, that we cannot promise on accomplishing it. Such is our frustration, that we have been difficulted even in paying Captain Barras's freight, moderate as it appears. Mr Bruce, the Collector has been obliged to give bills for it, payable at the house of Sir William Forbes, James Hunter, Esq; and Co. Bankers in Edinburgh, without (at present) knowing how he is to be reimbursed.
We have recommended it to the Ministers of the several parishes, to send us for your satisfaction, accurate and authentic lists of the numbers relieved by this gracious bounty; these lists shall be transmitted to you by first opportunity that may offer after they come to our hands; together with a particular account of our management in the whole business, which we trust will meet with your approbation.
We have the honour to be with much esteem and gratitude,
GENTLEMEN, Your most obedient servants,
JOHN BRUCE, Collector of Customs.
JAMES MACQUARSON, Sheriff Substitute for Shetland.
JAMES SANDS, Minister of Lerwick.
Subscriptions received at the Tyne Bank for the relief of the Poor Inhabitants of Shetland £224 11 6
Paid for 858 Bushels of Barley, sent to Shetland, by Capt. Barras— 126 0 0
6½ Tons of Oat Meal— 75 14 1
Freight and Labourage on Barley from Lynn— 8 19 3
Insurance on ditto— 3 8 10
200 Bags, at 9d. each — 3 15 0
Labourage, Shipping, Barley and Oatmeal— 0 10 7
Advertisements— 6 3 9
£224 11 6

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 14 Jun 1785: The country every where looks very promising, and the weather, at present, is as fine as could be wished.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 14 Jun 1785: A large fine herring was washed ashore, by the surf, last Friday, behind the Old Quay; and it is said that a considerable shoal of them has been discovered at a little distance from the shore.— This is little short of a phoenomenon at so early a part of the year.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 25 Jun 1785: We hear from Appleby, that on Wednesday se'nnight in the afternoon, there was a very heavy shower of hail at Bolton, in Westmorland, attended with thunder; and that several of the hail-stones were as large as a common nut.
Thursday se'nnight a most dreadful storm of thunder and lightning happened in the neighbourhood of Greenhammerton. It began at twelve o'clock at noon, when the thunder and lightning succeeded each other with such violence and repeated claps and flashes for the space of 20 minutes, that it threw people into the utmost confusion. At about half past twelve it shivered a large oak tree, near the town, entirely to pieces, tearing it up by the roots, and casting some limbs, near half a ton, the distance of 20 yards; other smaller branches were cast near 100 yards on all sides. Two women being near the place were struck down by the violence of the lightning; one of them remained speechless for some time, but happily they received no other injury. Much damage has been done at and near that place by the hail, some of which were near an inch and a half in circumference, particularly to the tops of pease and beans, which are almost entirely cut off, and many geese, &c. were killed; but at one o'clock it much abated.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 2 Jul 1785: This week the hay harvest has become pretty general through this country, but the crops prove very thin; and, in many parts, people are obliged to put the cattle upon the meadows, for want of grass in the pastures.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 5 Jul 1785: During the greatest part of last week, the temperature of the air was uncommonly hot.— A considerable quantity of hay has been cut, but it is apprehended the crops in general will not be so great as last year. However the most refreshing rains that could be wished have fallen since Friday.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 9 Jul 1785: Chester, July 5. It is a very pleasing truth, that there has not been a finer hay season than the present for many years; and the quantity of good hay made is equal to any that has been for twenty years past.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 12 Jul 1785: Most of the pumps in this town have been dried up for several days past.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 12 Jul 1785: We hear from Appleby, that the hay is chiefly go in there; it is very good, but the crops thin.
The crops of hay, in this county, yield considerably more this season, than in counties farther South.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 12 Jul 1785: We hear from the Isle of Mann, that the hay-harvest is very forward there, and the barley harvest is expected to begin this week, near Port Iron, in the West End of the Island. The crop of upland, or rye-grass hay, is very scanty; but the dry summer has been peculiarly favourable to the low meadows, which will be a compensation for the deficiency of the other.— The herring fishery has likewise commenced, and hitherto proves very successful.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 12 Jul 1785: Upwards of a thousand acres of sheep ground were destroyed the 29th ult. near Rothbury in Northumberland, by the imprudence of a country-man, who set fire to an adjoining heath, in order to get more easily at a moss, in which he was casting peats. It burnt for four days and nights, and exhibited a most tremendous spectacle.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 16 Jul 1785: We are assured that the crops of hay in the north, notwithstanding their thinness, yield immeasurably more this season than farther south.
The crops of wheat are very promising, and though not very thick upon the ground, yet the ear must be very full, and the produce very good; and the weather continuing very favourable for wheat, the prices of late are much reduced.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 19 Jul 1785: A correspondent, lately returned from a journey through the Northern Counties, says that the farmers and inhabitants in general, in this county and Westmorland, have great reason to be satisfied with the crops their lands yield, as, on a comparison with Durham and Northumberland, the present season is greatly in their favour.— In the latter county especially, the greatest distress for fodder is every where evident, and the meadow grounds, in many places, are parched in such a manner as to promise little or no supply for the winter.
The scarcity of water is a general complaint throughout this neighbourhood; almost every rivulet is dried up, and the springs, in many places, seem exhausted.
A fine refreshing rain fell here last Sunday.
We hear from the Isle of Mann, that they are greatly distressed by the present drought; the cattle, in some parts, are driven five miles to water.
Considerable quantities of fresh herrings arrived here in the course of last week, from the Isle of Mann.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 19 Jul 1785: The uncommon drought which has prevailed, not only in this kingdom, but all over Europe, during the last Six Months, having naturally attracted the attention of the public, a correspondent has favoured us with an account of the quantity of rain (including snow and hail) which has fallen at LANCASTER, in that space of time, contrasted with what fell in the same months of the preceding year; the accuracy of which may be depended on.— N.B. By a line is meant the twelfth of an inch.
1784 inches lines | 1785 inches lines
January 1 9 | January 2 6
February 3 3 | February 0
March 2 | March 0 1
April 3 0 | April 1 8
May 3 0 | May 1 6
June 5 9 | June 1
Total inches 19 | Total inches 7

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 23 Jul 1785: A correspondent informs us, that there is a greater quantity of corn in the farmers hands at present in the North of England, than has been known for many years past, at this season; and as the crops of wheat are remarkably promising, not only in England, but also in foreign parts, there is every reason to believe that the prices will fall considerably.
Last week a parcel of ripe barley was cut at Kelso.
Tuesday se'nnight, there was a most dreadful storm of thunder and lightning to the eastward of Kelso. Near Coldstream, a man and two horses were struck dead, and the cart and coals set fire to by the lightning.
All the late advices from the Shetland and Orkney Islands being very melancholy representations of the distressed state of the inhabitants of those parts, who are drove to the utmost distress, having no necessary of life but fish to support them. Nothing could more exalt a British Minister than to take the proper steps to remove the hardships under which those helpless people labor, who only sigh in secret over the ills they are bound to suffer, and who have none to plead before those in power.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 26 Jul 1785: Since our last, frequent fine showers of rain have fallen in this neighbourhood, which are likely to prove of the greatest service to the ground.
The Mary, Capt. Stewart, arrived on Friday last from Holland and Jersey; she had been only eight weeks from Whitehaven.— By her we learn, that the drought is most severely felt in Jersey; numbers of cattle have died for want of nourishment, several when she left it (the 13th inst.) were scarcely able to stand, and great quantities had been sent over to the nearest part of England. Not a drop of rain had fallen in Jersey for four months.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 26 Jul 1785: The mean depth of rain which falls in England, one year with another, is about 24½ inches, of which a large proportion usually falls in the winter months; the following will serve as an illustration of what was inserted in our last, particularly to those who have not attended to such observations; and, from the whole, an accurate idea may be formed of the present drought.
From August 1774, to August 1775, there fell 27½
August 1775, to August 1776, 29½
August 1776, to August 1777, 32½
In the year 1780 the fall of rain was only 17 inches; and in the year 1781 it was only 18 inches; whereas, it appears, by the observations made at Lancaster, it amounted in six months of the last year, to 19½ inches, or nearly, which may be supposed at the rate of thirty nine inches for the year; and in the last six months at the same place, it only reached 7 1/3 inches, or at the rate of 14 2/3 inches; little more than one half of what falls one year with another.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 2 Aug 1785: For a fortnight past, the inhabitants of Bowness in this county have been under the necessity of bringing all the fresh water they used, from Scotland.— A circumstance truly uncommon, and a great proof of the excessive drought which has prevailed in some parts.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 2 Aug 1785: A correspondent at Garlistown, in Scotland, informs us that on Tuesday last they had the most tremendous storm of thunder and lightning ever remembered; it continued, without intermission, from two till ten, in the evening, and did some damage. A horse and two cows were killed [etc.]

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 6 Aug 1785: Tuesday a quantity of new oats was sold in Hexham market at a moderate price, belonging to Mr Ralph Reed, of Walwick Grainge, who for some years past has sold the first oats there, some of which have been manufactured and yielded a very great quantity of meal, and from appearance at present, there is the greatest reason to hope that grain of all kinds will this year be plentiful and early.
This week some fields of barley were cut in this neighbourhood, which prove fine crops.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 6 Aug 1785: In one of the thunder storms last week, four sheep were killed by the lightning in the neighbourhood of Yetholme.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 6 Aug 1785: Edinburgh, August, 1. On Tuesday last a violent shower of hail fell within a few miles of this place, which destroyed the growing corns almost entirely wherever it fell. Happily it was not general, otherwise the prospect of a good crop, in this neighbourhood, would have been entirely blasted. We hear that the hailstones were so large as to break above 1000 panes of glass in a nobleman's house in Fife.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 9 Aug 1785: We hear from Penrith, that on Friday the 29th ult. there was a prodigious heavy shower of rain and hail; in less that a quarter of an hour, the streets were all overflowed; several hailstones were taken up of an enormous size.
The harvest about Penrith is very forward this year; some oats have already been cut, and a great deal of barley is nearly ripe.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 9 Aug 1785: This week some fields of barley were cut in this neighbourhood, which prove fine crops.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 13 Aug 1785: The harvest is begun in the south and south-east parts of the county of Durham, and the crops far exceed the farmers' expectations.
We hear that Mr Thomas Simpson, of Westgate-street, proposes to send to Market, this day, some bolls of fine new wheat, the produce of his farm at Low Elswick. This wheat was sown about 14 days after some in the neighbourhood, and owes its early state of maturity, in great measure, to a particular method of cultivation, which, with the large produce of three acres, we are informed, Mr Simpson intends, at a proper time, to communicate to the Agriculture Society of the county of Durham.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 13 Aug 1785: Extract of a letter from Dublin, Aug. 2.
"Whatever complaints of drought might have existed in the southern and eastern parts of this kingdom, it is a certain fact, that the northern parts have no complaints on this head, for they never experienced a season which promised such abundance."

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 23 Aug 1785: Considerable damage was done a few days ago, by the sudden rising of the rivers Nith and Tiviot in Scotland; a great quantity of hay, several webs of linen-cloth, sheep-skins, &c. were all swept away.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 27 Aug 1785: Friday se'nnight the river Tiviot suddenly rose to a considerable height, and carried off a great number of linen webs, clothes, sheep-skins, &c. The swell was so sudden and so unexpected, no great quantity of rain having fallen at Kelso, that hardly any thing was saved which lay within reach of the current. Those who observed it say, that the water came rolling along like the sudden opening of a great sluice, and had been occasioned, most probably, by a water spout, or some other uncommon fall of rain up the country, such as happened there about sixteen years ago.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 27 Aug 1785: The harvest is now become general through Cumberland, &c. and affords the pleasing prospect of a very plentiful crop, if the weather proves seasonable; at present there is a general complaint of to much rain.
The following well authenticated instance of vegetation is inserted for the perusal of the curious: There is now growing in a close between Norton and Whitwall Newk, Yorkshire, belonging to Mr John Norton, Farmer, in New Malton, a turnip which on the 14th inst measured 14 feet 6 inches in circumference, and the square length each way 4 feet 10 inches. As the present wet season favours its growth, it is expected to be much larger.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 3 Sep 1785: Harvest would have been general last and this week but for violent rains, which it is feared will much damage all kinds of grain, and be attended with very bad consequences.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 3 Sep 1785: Monday night last, ten of the ships making for Sunderland harbour, were drove upon the North Sand, since which they are all got off, though some of them have received much damage.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 10 Sep 1785: The present dry summer has caused the deadly nightshade (solanum lethiferum) to produce more ripe berries than usual. They are chiefly to be found in the shady banks of old hedges, facing the north and east; their colour, beautiful bright red, pleasing to the eye; but if eaten, they are one of the strongest poisons which this country produces. Many children, and some grown persons have lost their lives by eating them. It is therefore earnestly recommended to all parents, &c. to see that those berries be destroyed wherever they are found.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 13 Sep 1785: Last Friday night, the Northern Lights made a most beautiful appearance.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 13 Sep 1785: We hear from Keswick, that there was a most brilliant, and by far the most numerous concourse of ladies and gentlemen at the Regatta, on Tuesday last, ever known on any former occasion; notwithstanding the very tempestuous weather.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 17 Sep 1785: Accounts from London, and different parts of the Island, and particularly the southern mention that the wind was particularly tempestuous on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Much damage has been done among the shipping, and many chimnies &c. been blown down. The wind was at that same time very strong here, but no damage, that we have heard, was done.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 24 Sep 1785: We have the pleasure of assuring our readers, that it appears from the accounts of the different ports in these kingdoms, that the late storm has been attended with very little loss amongst the shipping. It was apprehended much damage had been done.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 28 Sep 1785: The Cumberland hills have been white with snow these three days past.
We hear, from different parts of the country, of an uncommon heavy rain having fallen, on Wednesday last.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 5 Oct 1785: Saturday last, there was a good deal of damage done to the shipping in Leith harbour, by the swelling of the river, owing to the very heavy rains.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 5 Oct 1785: Notwithstanding the rainy weather we have had for these eight days past, a great deal of the outstanding corn has been got in, in different parts of this county.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 5 Oct 1785: Derby, Sept. 28.
On Friday last they had at Ashborne the greatest flood ever remembered there by any, even the oldest inhabitant.— A good deal of rain had fell that morning, as well as the day preceding, but apparently by no means adequate to the creating of such a rise. It began about twelve o'clock at noon, and between three and four was in some places seven or eight feet above the usual level of the water.— Most of the houses in Compton and Dick-street were deluged with water, while the astonishing velocity of the torrent from the new road filled the remaining few, that the water from the brook could not reach. The miserable inhabitants of Compton, thus attacked in front and rear, had no other alternative but to fly to the upper stories of their houses, which they did with woeful precipitancy, leaving many useful articles of furniture, &c. in motion below.— The water fell with nearly the same precipitancy with which it came on.
The rains, which fell on Thursday and Friday last, in this county, though heavy, and almost incessant every where, may be considered in some degree local.— The floods occasioned by them, have rushed with great violence down some of the narrow dales in the Peak, and done considerable injury in the more open and level part of the country; but they have been attended with the most alarming and fatal effects at Lea, a village in the neighbourhood of Matlock. The principal part of a cotton mill, erected by Peter Nightingale, Esq. in a narrow dale at that place, has been thrown down and carried away. The banks of a large reservoir, formed to supply it, being unable to support the great body of water which pressed upon it, gave way, and the whole contents of the reservoir came down with all their force against the building; as the mill stood directly across the valley, the water had no passage, and at last, by its prodigious weight and pressure, obliged the walls to yield, and together with them swept away a great part of the machinery within the Works. Mr. Nightingale fortunately saw the banks of the reservoir give way, and being apprised of the consequences, hastened to the mill, called out the workmen, and saved a few bags of cotton, and property besides. After this catastrophe, the names of the work people were called over, and Mr. Nightingale had the satisfaction of finding, that not an individual was either hurt or missing. And we are glad to have it in our power to inform the public, that notwithstanding the many exaggerated reports respecting the loss of property, as well as lives, that the whole damage occasioned by this unfortunate event will not exceed 400£.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 8 Oct 1785: Whitehaven, Oct. 5. Yesterday morning a little after ten o'clock, we had a prodigious heavy shower of hail, which lasted about six minutes, The hailstones were remarkable large, many of them an oval form, but flat and sharp-pointed at one end. One of this description was picked up in King-street, and measured three inches in circumference.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 8 Oct 1785: We are happy to inform our readers, that the new wheat which has been brought to the markets, in most of the market towns in the counties of Durham and York, proves much better than could possibly be expected; and, as there is a great deal of old wheat in the country, the prices must fall soon very considerably, especially when the farmers begin to thrash; and at present there is not the least demand for shipping corn, at any of the sea-ports in the north, nor is it likely that there will be. Sunday se'nnight, they had a great fall of rain at Kelso, and on Sunday morning the Tweed was much swelled; but although they had frequently seen a flood several feet higher, yet a great deal of corn was swept off the low grounds. Some sheep, which were grazing on the island in the middle of the river at their Mills, were carried away by the flood, and part of them lost.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 12 Oct 1785: The following amazing produce was lately seen in a garden at High-Stow Bank, in the parish of Lamplugh:— on one bean stalk there grew eighty-four husks, which together contained one hundred and fifty well grown sizeable beans.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 19 Oct 1785: A prodigious heavy rain fell here, between the hours of one and two in the morning of Wednesday last; in a few minutes several parts of the town were overflowed, and considerable damage was done in the cellars, particularly at the upper part of Lowther-street, and in Catherine-street.— Some poor people who lived in the former place had their bedding and other necessaries rendered entirely useless by the quantity of mud and sand which was rolled in by the water, and in one place the lives of the inhabitants were, with difficulty, saved. A collection was made for the poor sufferers. We also hear , from several parts of the country, that a great deal of hail fell, attended with thunder and lightning; in Loweswater, large flakes of ice fell, such as have not been seen before by the oldest person living.— The peals of thunder amongst the mountains, at Lamplugh, are said to have exceeded any thing ever heard there; and they were followed by an excessive heavy rain.— Some stooks of corn were out at the time, and partial losses will, of course, be sustained; but we do not hear that they are such as can affect the farmers in any great degree. The storm appears to have been general through this county.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 2 Nov 1785: On Tuesday night, the 25th ult. just after this paper went to press, there came on a very heavy snow shower, which, in the course of an hour covered the ground with a considerable depth, and it blew very strong from the North East; the weather continued very severe the three following days, particularly on Friday, when it blew a heavy gale of wind, and the sea run prodigious high, so as to cause an apprehension of much damage being done amongst the shipping in the harbour.— Nothing material however happened.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 5 Nov 1785: Since Sunday night last, about eight o'clock, a great deal of snow has fallen in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood, which was soon followed by rain, in consequence of which the rivers about the place have risen more than has been known for several years past.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 9 Nov 1785: Sunday last it blew a smart gale of wind, at N.W., the harbour being very full of shipping, some vessels coming in were obliged to moor on the outside of the New Tongue. The sea run very high; a Manks sloop, coal-loaden, was so much damaged that it has been found necessary to discharge her cargo; no other damage of any consequence has been done in the harbour.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 12 Nov 1785: In the afternoon of Tuesday se'nnight, a storm arose at Sneinton, near Nottingham; such a scene presented itself to view as cannot be remembered by those whom time had made hoary with age: in the course of its progress it raised a cart a considerable height from the ground, blew down a barn, and unroofed several Dwelling-houses; and did other considerable damage.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 16 Nov 1785: They write from the Isle of Mann, that the weather for some time past has been uncommonly severe. A person employed as a postman between Peeltown and Ramsey was found drowned between these two places on Saturday the 5th inst.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 16 Nov 1785: It appears by the papers, that they have had great floods at Glasgow and Dumfries, which have done some damage.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 19 Nov 1785: So very particular has the late harvest been in the neighbourhood of Hexham, that Ralph Reed, Farmer, at Walwickgrainge, began to cut his early oats the beginning of August last, and on Monday the 7th inst. great part of his barley and oats were not got into the stackgarth, and hat makes it more extraordinary, the land where the barley and oats grew, is little more than one mile from the River Tyne.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 26 Nov 1785 [from the Cumberland Pacquet, 23 Nov]: Sunday morning, between the hours of four and six o'clock, there was a great deal of lightening at Whitehaven; the flashes of fire were unusually large, and darted through the atmosphere with a velocity and rapidity of succession, truly awful; and in the afternoon, several very heavy showers of hail, of short continuance.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 30 Nov 1785: Edinburgh, Nov. 22. The snow which fell about a fortnight ago, lay so deep in the interior part of the country, that it was with the utmost difficulty that carriages could get through the Hill of Foudland.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 7 Dec 1785: It blew a very heavy gale of wind here yesterday afternoon, and during the whole of last night, from the W.S.W. About eleven o'clock a very awful scene took place: the bellmen were employed in giving notice that assistance was wanted at the quay; at that time it blew a mere hurricane, the sea ran very high, and several ships appeared off the harbour endeavouring to enter it; seven or eight, it is said, were discovered passing to the northward, with lights up, as signals of distress. About half past eleven, it became so exceedingly dark, that nothing could be distinguished.— The Fly packet from the Isle of Man, the Industry, Atkinson, and the Briton, McNamara, only got in.— Of the other vessels, amounting to thirty-three, which sailed from hence on Sunday, no account has been received, but the following.— The John & Mary, Greenhow, is on shore near Harrington; the Sally, Barnes, of Harrington, is entirely lost near the same place, and the master and his brother, drowned; two other vessels, (names not known) are said to be on shore.— The Worrel, Glaister; Rodney, Gibson; and Fell, Greenwood, got into Douglas yesterday, and several were seen going into Ramsey bay.

CUMBERLAND PACQUET (Whitehaven), 14 Dec 1785: The vessel which was lost last week was the Success of Harrington, not the Sally.— The person who unfortunately lost his life, besides Capt. Barns, was Capt. Edward Crosthwaite, late master of the Welcome, of this port.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 24 Dec 1785: The weather of late has been uncommonly fine for the season, which proves of great benefit to farmers, and we do not hear of any advance in the price of hay.
We are happy to inform the public, that the price of wheat falls in all the markets in the counties of Durham and York.

NEWCASTLE COURANT, 31 Dec 1785: Yesterday se'nnight, at night, a violent storm of wind, accompanied with a great fall of snow, came on from the N.E. which continued at intervals till Tuesday morning; and on Sunday morning, the Biddy, Sharp, of Sunderland, laden with coals, was drove on the rocks to the north of this harbour, as was the Trusty, Ross, of this port; the former is gone to pieces; the crews of both vessels are saved; a small vessel belonging to Yarmouth, is on the Herd-Sand, but it is expected will be got off.
[Also reports of vessels going ashore near Bamburgh on the night of 25 December; weather conditions not specified]

On to 1786