» Categories » Disasters
YearDay/MonthTitle / Details
Aethelstan (924 - 939)
933Edwin is drowned
 Accused of conspiring against his own family Edwin, Aethelstan's own brother, is put on a ship without sail or rudder to drift. Edwin throws himself into the sea to avoid the horrors of starvation. Edwin's accuser it later found to invented the crime and is put to death. The whole story could be a fabrication and comes from the works by William of Malmesbury.
Edgar (959 - 975)
962St. Paul's burns down
 The church of St. Paul's built by Ethelbert burnt down this year.
Harthacnut (1040 - 1042)
1041A year of storms and disease
 Stormy weather destroyed crops and diseases killed many cattle during the year.
Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066)
1046Severe winter
 Extremely cold weather caused many deaths amongst animals and people.
 A large earthquake is supposed to have been felt across England.
1049May 1Earthquake in Midlands
 A large earthquake was felt in Worcester and Derby and many people were reportedly killed.
1053Dec 21Strong winds
 Extremely strong winds destroyed churches and buildings.
William the Conqueror (1066 - 1087)
1086Stormy weather and disease
 Violent storms killed many people while cattle died from disease.
William Rufus (1087 - 1100)
1087St. Paul's Cathedral Burns down
 Work on rebuilding St. Paul's Cathedral started after the Old St. Paul's burnt down and a good deal of London as well. The person in charge of the rebuilding work was Mauritius, chaplain to William the Conqueror and Bishop of London. The new Cathedral was reportedly extremely large.
1089Aug 11Earthquake
 An earthquake was felt across England.
1091Violent storm hits London
 London was hit by a terrible storm, possibly a tornado. Damage was done to the Tower of London, the old wooden London Bridge and many churches and buildings.
Henry I (1100 - 1135)
1100AugWilliam buried at Winchester
 William Rufus was buried under the tower of Winchester Cathedral. The tower fell down (either in 1101 or 1107 ?). The cause was blamed on the wickedness of the King's bones but was probably due to poor construction or uncertain foundations.
1103Aug 10Strong winds damage crops
 On the morning of mass day of St. Lawrence, strong winds did more damage that anyone could remember. (St. Lawrence's day appears to be August 10, but this not have been the case in medieval times.)
1106JanVenice hit by a series of disasters
 In January Venice was hit by severe floods. Shortly afterwards a fire broke out destroying several districts of the city. Several months later another more deadly fire started. As many of the buildings were constructed of wood the fire spread out of control. The disasters led to future buildings being constructed of stone and brick.
1111Severe winter
 An extreme winter prevented the growing of crops and cattle died of disease.
1113JunWorcester Cathedral damaged by fire
 The city of Worcester, its cathedral and castle were damaged by an accidental fire.
1114Chichester Cathedral fire
 Chichester Cathedral suffered a disastrous fire in this year.
1116Fire destroys Peterborough Abbey
 An accidental fire destroys the abbey at Peterborough.
1120NovWilliam Adelin is drowned
 The son of Henry I was drowned attempting a crossing from Normandy to England. It should have been a straight forward sea crossing from Normandy to England and the weather was good, but the young prince and his young friends had delayed the sailing with their merrymaking in Normandy. The crew of the White Ship were supplied with beer were in no state to handle the ship safely. The ship his rocks and began to sink. Prince William was initially saved and placed in a small boat but on his orders he tried to rescue his sister and the boat was overwhelmed by others hoping to be saved. The small boat tipped over and the prince was drowned.
1122Gloucester fire
 A fire that started in the town of Gloucester spread to the Cathedral destroying treasures and all but a few books.
1130Fire at Rochester
 On the same day that Henry I attended the consecration of Rochester Cathedral, a fire took hold in the city and damaged the newly finished building.
1133Aug 4Earthquake
 An eye-witness account (William of Malmesbury) tells of an earthquake affecting many parts of England. (Symeon of Durham's Historia Regum, by John of Hexham.) This is interesting as it occurred just after an eclipse. See year 1185 when another eclipse and earthquake occurred.
Stephen (1135 - 1154)
1136London Bridge damaged by fire
 The old wooden London Bridge across the Thames was destroyed by fire this year or in 1135. Note that St. Paul's was also damaged so the fire must have affected a large area of the city.
JanA fire at St. Paul's
 Reconstruction work on the Cathedral at St. Paul's had been going on since the last major fire of 1087, and this fire again did much damage to the building.
1137Bath Abbey fire
 A fire badly damages the church at Bath Abbey.
York Minster damaged by fire
 York Minster was partially damaged by fire in this year. The near-by church of St. Mary's and some other 37 churches were also damaged. (Need to find out what was happening here.)
1141Lincoln Cathedral damaged by fire
 The roof of the Cathedral burnt down. Bishop Alexander the Magnificent started rebuilding work.
Henry II (1154 - 1189)
1170Jun 29Huge Eastern Mediterranean Earthquake
 A large earthquake hit the eastern Mediterranean along the fault line that runs along that region. A huge amount of damage was done causing a major loss of life. The earthquake was so powerful that the massive castle Krak des Chevaliers was damaged and needed repairing.
1174Canterbury Cathedral fire
 Canterbury Cathedral suffered another disastrous fire and was damaged so badly that it needed almost completely rebuilding. William of Sens was given the task of constructing a new Cathedral. William was injured by a fall from scaffolding and the work was continued by William the Englishman.
1179Rochester fire
 In 1177 or 1179 another fire took hold in the city of Rochester damaging the Cathedral.
1184MayFire destroys Glastonbury Abbey
 A serious fire damaged the abbey at Glastonbury resulting in the need for major rebuilding work.
1185Earthquake in Sicily
 Reports of an earthquake in the Plantagenet Chronicles occurring in Sicily. Need to confirm.
Lincoln Cathedral damaged
 Earth tremors damaged the Cathedral at Lincoln beyond repair. The earthquake must have been very powerful as it was said that it was felt throughout the country. Only the West front survived in good shape and rest of the building had to be demolished.
1187Another fire at Chichester Cathedral
 Chichester Cathedral suffered another disastrous fire.
Richard I (1189 - 1199)
1192Rebuilding of Lincoln Cathedral
 After the damaging earth tremors of 1185 Bishop Hugh of Lincoln started rebuilding work on the Cathedral at Lincoln. His new scheme was followed even after his death apart from minor alterations up to the completion of the Angel Choir in 1280.
John (1199 - 1216)
1200Fire destroys the cathedral at Rouen
 The early cathedral at Rouen in France was badly damaged by a fire that destroyed other churches and parts of the city as well.
1201JunStorms do much damage
 Severe thunderstorms and floods during the summer affected England.
1202Worcester Cathedral fire
 The devastating fire in this year caused so much damage that the building needed to be rebuilt.
1211Rheims Cathedral destroyed by fire
 The French cathedral was left beyond repair after a fire.
1212A Great fire of London
 Fire broke out on the southern shore of the River Thames and crossed the river starting more fires on the northern shore. Many people were killed. Boats tried to rescue people trapped on London Bridge but the boats became overloaded and many drowned. This appears to be a big a disaster as the fire of 1666.
Henry III (1216 - 1272)
1216May 18A storm hits John's fleet
 John's fleet of ships was badly damaged by storms as they prepare to defend against an invasion from France. This left the way open for Prince Louis to sail to England a few days later.
1220Tower Collapse at St. David's
 (Or 1200) The central tower collapsed at St. David's Cathedral destroying the presbytery resulting in construction work to repair the damage.
1223Fire at Pershore Abbey
 A fire destroys part of the abbey church at Pershore.
1237Lincoln tower collapses
 During a sermon by one of the canons of the cathedral, the newly finished central tower collapsed burying some of the congregation.
Edward I (1272 - 1307)
1275Earthquake destroys Tor church
 The church at the top of Glastonbury Tor was badly damaged by an earthquake.
1292Carlisle Cathedral damaged by fire
 The Cathedral is extensively damaged by fire.
Edward II (1307 - 1327)
1323Sections of St. Alban collapses
 Parts of the ceiling of the church collapsed when several columns in the nave fell down.
Edward III (1327 - 1377)
1347The Black Death
 Kipchak Mongols besieging a Genoese trading centre on the Crimean coast catapulted their own dead into the city. The cause of death was a mysterious disease. The Genoese escaped by sea taking the 'Black Death' with them. They landed at Messina in Sicily. Bubonic plague, which the Black Death was, was spread by the rat flea. The name Black Death came from the colour of the swelling in the groin, armpit or neck. The person suffering went into a coma and dies soon after. In Europe an estimated 25 million people died. The plague reached Britain in 1348 and again in 1360 and the population may have been reduced by a half.
1362JanHurricane damages spire at Norwich
 A fierce storm or hurricane hit Britain and the spire at Norwich Cathedral fell. The spire damaged the presbytery as came down..
Richard II (1377 - 1399)
1382May 21Earthquake
 An earthquake occurred somewhere in the Straits of Dover and was felt in southern England and in the Low Countries across the North Sea. The event happened during a meeting to condem the works of John Wycliffe.
Henry VI (1422 - 1461)
1436DecSevere Frosts
 A severe winter in 1436-37 causes many deaths and hardship.
1437JanLondon bridge collapse
 The severe cold of this year caused a collapse at London Bridge. One of the piers that held a gate fell down taking some houses as well.
Edward IV (1461 - 1470)
1463Norwich third spire destroyed
 Lightning once again hit the wooden and lead spire at Norwich Cathedral causing a fire that spread to the roof. After this disaster stone was used in the roof to provide vaulting and used in the new spire to replace the wood.
Edward IV (1471 restored - 1483)
1481JulRheims Cathedral damaged by fire
 The roof and tower of Rheims Cathedral were badly damaged by fire after workmen left a lit brasier unattended overnight in the roof space.
Henry VII (1485 - 1509)
1497DecSheen Palace burns down
 Henry VII had plans to spend Christmas at his royal palace of Sheen but it was destroyed by fire. Alternative date of 1498. Henry had the palace rebuilt and renamed the building Richmond Palace in honour of the Earl of Richmond title that he held.
1508Sep 19Earthquake
 This earthquake was felt throughout Scotland and England.
Henry VIII (1509 - 1547)
1509Norwich Cathedral fire
 Repairs at Norwich Cathedral, because of a fire, resulted in the transept roofs being replaced by stone vaulting.
1512Fire damages Westminster Palace
 Westminster Palace was damaged by a fire in the year. The Palace had been used as a royal residence up until this point.
1545Jul 19Sinking of the Mary Rose
 Henry VIII watched from Portsmouth as the flag ship of his navy mysteriously sank with the loss of hundreds of lives.
 Britain was affected by another outbreak of the plague.