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Cuckfield July 1853: one inch diameter hail stones shatter windows in freak storm

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 12 July 1853


—About half-past ten on Thursday night, we were visited by a most terrific tempest, accompanied with an unprecedented hail shower, which seemed to threaten destruction to all it came in contact with. The roar of the approaching storm was awful. Some feared the end of the world was come—others seriously reflected on what calamity could be approaching.

The arrival of the storm dispelled all doubt. It was a hail storm, and no mistake: it rattled on the slated roofs as if it would crush them in, and through the glazed sky-lights it passed, as if they were but tissue paper.

We have not heard of any serious damage being done to the growing crops here, but the greenhouses, graperies, sky-lights, and windows which had a south or south-west aspect (the quarter the storm came from), were completely smashed—in instances not a pane of glass escaped. Those of the Misses Dealtry's, of Boinore, Warden Sergison, Esq., Cuckfield-park, Rev. F. A. Maberley, Vicarage, Mr. Payne, Mr. Loveday, and many others sustained damage; but a newly-erected greenhouse near the tonwn, having an east aspect, escaped uninjured.

We observed a plat of cabbages so perforated by the hail stones as to have the appearance of having received a charge from musketry. The hail stones varied in size, from a quarter of an inch to an inch in diameter, perfectly round, and very hard. They descended the chimneys, bounded and rebounded in the rooms like marbles. The rain came down so hastily that our town sewers could not carry it away effectually, and a flood ensued, carrying away the surface of the main road. The lightning was very vivid, but the thunder not very loud here.

About twelve o'clock all had passed over to our north-east neighbours, and left us quiet again, and the inhabitants retired to rest, some no doubt reflecting on the cost of repairing the injury their property had sustained, and regretting the loss of choice fruit and flowers by so unwelcome a visitor as a hail storm in July.


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