The Greatest Storm

Front Cover
Sutton, 2002 - History - 240 pages
Howling winds and surging seas wreaked havoc during the worst storm experienced in British history. The Great Storm of 26/27 November 1703 caused unimaginable devastation. Widespread flooding, over 8,000 deaths and immense losses of property and shipping make the famous storm of October 1987 seem insignificant in comparison. While most people know something about the Great Fire of 1666 and the Great Plague of the year before, the story of the Great Storm of 1703 is not nearly so well known.

The Greatest Storm is the first full account of this major disaster. Through the use of primary sources, Martin Brayne transports us back to those fateful days in November 1703, and retells the story of this tragic and catastrophic event. Among the sources he uses is the Collection of the most remarkable Casualties and Disasters which happened in the late dreadful Tempest by Sea and Land by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), the renowned novelist, pamphleteer, journalist and secret agent. Compiled in the months following the disaster, it is a fascinating and unique collection of eyewitness recollections. In addition to the host of firsthand accounts, Defoe offers trenchant observations on those who sought to benefit from the country's misfortunes.

Queen Anne, the great diarist John Evelyn, Fairford parish church's great west window, Admiral Beaumont, Henry Winstanley and Oliver Cromwell's head also feature in Martin Brayne's absorbing investigation, which ends with an assessment of the Great Storm's place in the national memory.

For those interested in natural disasters and dramatic historical stories this book is essential reading.

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