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Winter of 1739-40


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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    A very severe winter with a CET of -0,4, here are some extracts on this winter. Harrod's "Antiquities of Stamford"

    In the hard frost of 1740, at two different days, a sheep and a hog were roasted on the river Welland, where the ford is at the opening in Water Street. The printers also came and got much money by printing person's names who assembled there. The hard frost began Christmas Eve and lasted til Lady Day 1740; the greatest degrees of cold was on January 5th in the morning; it frequently relented in the forenoon but was sure to return at night; however it was not so intense as the frost of 1709, when the Adriatic sea was so frozen that it might be passed on foot, so that the Venetians been at war with the Turks their city might have been taken by a land army..."

    By a Dr Huxham of Plymouth

    December The weather in this month was altogether surprising; in the beginning we had a northeast wind and a severe frost, presently a rainy and turbulent south wind; in a very short time after a south-westerly and a great deal of rain, the barometer nevertheless rising. The 14th and 15th, the wind was northwest; the 16th, northeast and a return of the frost; the 19th and 20th, a violent southeast; on the 21st again, a stormy southwest; from that of an easterly, a cold northeast wind intervening, the 25th and 27th then a most severe storm from the east, with an exceeding severe frost and a constant exceedingly small snow to the very end. In an instant, a most piercing cold froze up everything, both within doors and without, nay, the very strongest kinds of wines were frozen; indeed, whatever was exposed to the air instantly turned to ice.  People even shivered by the largest firesides nor could keep themselves warm in their very beds. January The severity of the cold still continued, such indeed, as was never known in this country. Although the first day of the month, there was a great thaw and a fall of rain, nevertheless the north-easterly wind and a most sharp frost instantly returned which lasted til the very end of the month and although the heat of the sun; all things thawed by day, yet by night were bound by a most rigid frost. The coldest days were the 11th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 26th, 27th, 28th; nay so severe was the frost which now prevailed that all kinds of wine being exposed out of doors which immediately turned to ice, nay, the very saltwater upon the shores was so, a thing this which very seldom happens in these parts. Innumerable trees and shrubs were cut off by the cold and even the very hardy furzes themselves. A vast number of seabirds flew hither and numbers from foreign countries, which had never been seen here before.

    From George Smith of Richmond (Surrey), a proctor to Queen Anne

    Thames froze over in 4 days, storm of wind 48 hours (30th Dec) Some people walked over the Thames (1st Jan) Frost continued till February 1st, when a thaw began in day, frost returning each night. Ice all gone in Thames upward but not broke about London (Feb 11th) Ice beings to run in Thames (13th Feb) Ice broke in Thames (17th) Ice gone at London (23rd) This was the severest frost I ever known and the kindliest thaw. No rain, roads good, all garden stuff destroyed. Hard frost again in March. A very backward spring, dry and dusty as summer, no considerable rain for 3 months past; the river a slow as ever known. (31st Mar) Very great storm of snow and wind from 10 to 2 (21st Apr) A very cold unkind season (30th Apr) Extraordinarily dry dusty and cold, very unpleasant season (31st May) The coldest weather ever known at Michaelmas, piercing cold (30th Sep) A very unkind year, no good fruit, nor warm weather; winter severe; storms and frost with great snow."

    Searching through the newspapers from this period here are reports from this winter and other months during 1740


    BncNKAS.jpg  HJWxRMl.jpg5fOYfs3.jpg rD9esib.jpgbfRfeNJ.jpg





    From an 1877 Derby newspaper on 1740



    Dec 13    H2JnzZX.jpg   Dec 11  s5Hknkv.jpg Dec 4 jE6hwJJ.jpg

    Dec 1 QTSSnnj.jpg dkvsq2k.jpg   Nov 25  NU3FcbH.jpg  Nov 15 U9EIiWV.jpg

    Nov 13  xtBPo6Z.jpg    Oct 11  xtBPo6Z.jpg    May  2pcKc8v.jpgF3ARj5p.jpg

    Apr 23 N4Tg3J3.jpg  Mar 31 Rk347F0.jpg



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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    9 hours ago, trickydicky said:

    Fascinating. Ani ideas what caused it? Was this around the time of all the eruptions in Iceland? Frozen rivers in September must be a one off?!

    Something strange happened because from about 1727 up to 1740, the years were fairly warm compared to the years previous. 

    Odd how these years just seem to pop up out of nowhere from time to time: 1860, 1879 and most recently 2010. 



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  • Location: Bratislava (240m)
  • Location: Bratislava (240m)

    It's hard to find daily data from this far back but here's Zwanenburg in the Netherlands (Gregorian calendar):

    Could contain: Plot, Chart


    Het jaar 1740 is het koudste jaar van de afgelopen 300 jaar, de gemiddelde temperatuur kwam uit op 6.5 graden en dat betekent dat het jaar 3 graden te koud

    Link is in Dutch, but the charts and tables should be clear enough. It didn't get above freezing from the 5th to the 30th of January. Check out the huge drop in temperature on the 9th, with the 11th and 12th staying below -14C during the day. There was another significant drop later in the month, plus one in the last week of February. It might give some idea as to how the winter panned out across the North Sea on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

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