The Severn Tsunami?

Severn

By a happy coincidence – or is it just good timing, given the weather we have been having? – a new book on the floods of 1607 was recently ordered just as our colleague cataloguing Cardiff’s rare books was discovering a contemporary pamphlet about the same event. The Severn Tsunami? The story of Britain’s greatest natural disaster has been written by Mike Hall, a retired geography teacher, and it claims to be the first comprehensive account of the flood of 30 January 1607, which modern science now suggests may have been a tsunami.  It was a catastrophic event: a huge wave swept up the River Severn and flooded the land on both sides, killing many people and sweeping whole settlements away. The book is written in a fairly informal style, appealing to a general readership rather than a strictly academic one, but it nevertheless examines the sources thoroughly, drawing on several contemporary accounts. The pamphlet which we hold in our Special Collections is not directly quoted, although some of the same material and a similar illustration from  other sources are used. You can read about our seventeenth century pamphlet over on our Special Collections blog here, and if that has whetted your appetite you can borrow the modern book from the Salisbury Collection on the third floor of the Arts and Social Studies Library.

Detail from the woodcut on our 1607 pamphlet, "A true report of certaine wonderfull overflowings of water" in the Cardiff Rare Books collection in SCOLAR

Detail from the woodcut on our 1607 pamphlet, “A true report of certaine wonderfull overflowings of water” in the Cardiff Rare Books collection in SCOLAR

Hall, Mike (2013) The Severn tsunami? The story of Britain’s greatest natural disaster
Stroud: The History Press
9780752470153
Classmark: Celt GB1399.5.G7.H2 (ASSL Salisbury Collection)

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