Weather in the archives

The Annals of Croxden Abbey

Croxden Abbey - watercolour
Croxden Abbey - watercolour
Reference: William Salt Library SV-III.168a
By courtesy of the Trustees of the William Salt Library
© William Salt Library Stafford
The earliest and source of information, which we have for weather in Staffordshire, is the Annals of the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary’s Croxden, c 1066- 1374, usually known as the Croxden Chronicle. The chronicler was William de Schepisheved, a monk of the Abbey who recorded information retrospectively from 1288 back to 1066 and then contemporaneously until 1320. After his death the Annals were continued until 1374. 

The original document is at the British Library (Cotton MS. Faustina B vi ff. 41.91). However there is a partial printed translation of the Chronicle in the William Salt Library Stafford in The Abbey of St Mary Croxden by Charles Lynam, published in 1911.

The Chronicle contains some description of the weather, not only where there was a damaging impact, as for example on crops or buildings, but also where the weather was favourable, resulting in an early harvest. Events such as solar eclipses, comets and the Northern Lights were seen as omens by the chronicler, noted in the Chronicle and often then linked to a following war, pestilence or bad weather.

Extracts from this archive source can be found alongside other source material in the Month by Month section, arranged chronologically to show the progression of weather through each month.