You often hear the term ‘the coldest winter,or hottest summer on record etc’ but the oldest ongoing instrumental record of temperature in the world is the Central England Temperature record, started in 1659.
Although I am not disputing the climate change, the fact is there have been climate changes or freak weather events ever since the world has existed.
On Easter Monday, 13th April 1360, a freak hail storm broke over English troops as they were preparing for battle with the French during the Hundred Years’ War. So brutal was the storm that over 1,000 men and 6,000 horses lost their lives that night. Convinced it was a sign from God, King Edward rushed to pursue peace with the French, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
In April 1360, Edward’s forces burned the Paris suburbs and began to move toward Chartres. While they were camped outside the town, a sudden storm materialized. Lightning struck, killing several people, and hailstones began pelting the soldiers, scattering the horses. One described it as “a foul day, full of myst and hayle, so that men dyed on horseback .” Two of the English leaders were killed and panic set in among the troops, who had no shelter from the storm.
French friar Jean de Venette credited the apocalyptic storm as the result of the English looting of the French countryside during the observant week of Lent.
On May 8, 1360, three weeks later, the Treaty of Brétigny was signed, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
The legacy was mentioned in Shakespearean work:
“It was not for nothing that my nose fell a- bleeding on Black Monday last, at six o’clock i’ the morning.” —Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, ii. 5.
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