|The Rushden Echo, 15th June, 1900, transcribed by Gill Hollis, 2008
Terrible Storms In Northamptonshire
The Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and Raunds district happily escaped the severity of Monday’s storm, but on Tuesday a great deal of damage was done in the neighbourhood by a storm of extraordinary violence.
Shortly after 9.30 p.m. on Monday a storm, the severity of which has not been equalled for a generation, broke over the town and neighbourhood of Northampton, and hailstones of an extraordinary size fell heavily. Hundreds of windows were broken and the gardens suffered disastrously. The lightning fired the roof of a factory, but the workmen put out the fire before the flames had any very great hold. A man was knocked down by lightning but luckily was not injured.
At Wellingborough on Monday afternoon the lightning struck a house in Wood-street, and caused considerable damage. The lightning entered by the front room (downstairs) window, breaking that and sweeping the mantelpiece, and smashing the overmantel in thousands of atoms, none being much larger that an inch. Upon the mantelpiece was a large clock, which was completely wrecked, whilst two handsome bronzes were cut clean in two as if done by a very sharp knife. Singular to relate, the electric current did not damage a watch that was upon the mantelpiece. The watch was thrown off on to an armchair, and it was going all right when found. The interior of the room afterwards presented a dilapidated appearance. On the Elsden Estate, the lightning smashed a window in a house which is in course of erection. Two men had taken refuge in the house, but happened to be in another room.
A horse belonging to a resident of Brafield was struck by lightning and killed.
At Grendon on Monday a house was struck by lightning. Mrs. Stock, who was sitting in the kitchen, had a most miraculous escape. Articles were thrown from the mantelshelf, brackets torn from the walls, and crockery and glass smashed in various parts of the house, yet she escaped unhurt, excepting the severe fright.
Several cattle were killed by lightning at Thorpe Langton.
A large hail-stone which fell at Sedgebrook measured 5 inches in circumference.
At Wollaston on Tuesday two houses in Podington End, belonging to Mr. G. E. Brown, were struck by lightning. The ceilings of both houses were cracked, and a few articles on the mantelshelf were destroyed. The damage was not serious.
At Bozeat, “Sunny View,” in the occupation of Mr. H. Partridge, was struck. The outside of the building was not damaged, but the ceiling was cracked. Some of the furniture was burnt.
Raunds and Stanwick escaped any damage of a serious character. On Monday and Tuesday heavy storms passed over the district, but the damage done was not of a sensational character.
No experience of an alarming nature happily occurred at Irthlingborough.
Irchester came in for a fair share of the storms of Monday and Tuesday last but escaped the disastrous experiences of some adjacent places.
At Rushden on Monday rain fell heavily during the day, and the heavy clouds betokened the severity of the storm in the neighbourhood of Wellingborough. No great damage was, however, done in the neighbourhood of Rushden that day. Tuesday’s visitation was much more serious, a disastrous cyclone passing over the town. The lightning did serious damage to the works of the Rushden Brick and Tile Co. The lightning struck a Woolf drier which had lately been erected and completely destroyed it. The office near was also struck, and the roof was taken completely off the building, leaving nothing but the bare walls. Serious injury was also done to the engine-house. The attention of the foreman, Mr. A. Clarke, was called to the matter, and upon examination it was thought that the lightning struck two of the iron ropes that pull the cars up from the clay pits. The damage is estimated at about £300, and is covered by insurance. A number of men have been thrown out of work through the occurrence, and it will probably be some weeks before the matter is put right.
The grounds of Rushden Hall were seriously damaged by Tuesday’s storm, an avenue of oak and elm trees considered by judges to have been one of the finest in the county suffering seriously. Many of the trees were snapped off at the trunks and thrown by the force of the gale across the drive and park. The avenue is now deprived of its beauty by gaping spaces, with the stumps of the old trees only standing. Seven of the trees were broken away at the trunk, while every tree had branches torn from it. The fallen timber completely blocked the drive, huge branches being piled one upon the other. In the park trees were uprooted. The cyclone seems to have swept in a circle, and those who observed it described the storm as moving like a spiral column, the rain being caught by the gale and turned in its descent. Everywhere in the park broken limbs of tree were thrown about in all directions. A number of birds, including an owl, were killed by the falling branches.
One of the plate-glass windows in Mr. J. B. Bailey’s shop in High-street South was broken by the hailstones, whilst the sun curtain outside Mr. Knight’s hairdressing saloon in High-street South was broken by the weight of the rain.
The southern part of Rushden suffered most severely, and the cyclone apparently travelled in the direction of Wellingborough-road.
Happily there is no truth in the story about three children being killed by lightning at Arthingworth, near Kettering. Apparently a servant girl wanted to explain away her late arrival at her master’s house at Kettering and concocted the whole story.
Little Staughton church tower was struck by lightning on Tuesday. The interior of the church was also damaged.