On Easter Monday April 13, 1360 during what has be come known as the Hundred Years War there was a major battle. Now a little history leading up to this battle. England and France were involved in one conflict or another over many centuries. The Hundred Years War was fought in spurts from 1337 to 1453. The cause of the war had to do with the death of a French monarch Charles IV who died without a male heir. During that period of time, women were not allowed the throne. The wife of the deceased king, Isabella wanted her nephew, King Edward III of England to take the crown. This didn’t sit well with France so Phillip VI, who was part of the French royal family became king. So the Hundred Years War was a power struggle for the rule of France.
King Edward III of England was bound and determined to conquer France, which he deemed rightfully his. At the time, residents of England lived under a feudal system which separated them into classes from kings and lords down to peasants and serfs. In 1346, King Edward III commanded every man-at-arms to join the army or send a substitute. Feudal lords were commanded to send men-at-arms and archers proportionately to their income. Many of them came from the peasants or serfs. If you didn’t obey this command, you were sent to prison.
In October of 1359, Edward took a massive army of 10,000 men across the English Channel to Calais in France. The invading force consisted of 4,000 men-at-arms, 5,000 mounted archers, and over 700 mercenaries from the European Continent. On Easter Monday, April 13th, Edward’s army arrived at Chartres. The French refused battle and took shelters behind their fortifications. Without much of a force to fight, it appeared that the French would be overwhelmed by the English siege. So, the old strategy of (lay low and hope for a miracle) was implemented again. Nightfall, on what would be a fateful evening, was fast approaching so the English army began to settle down and camp just outside of Chartres. By many accounts, soon after, the skies became angry, the wind became vicious, the temperature dropped quickly, bolts of lightning became more frequent. A cold, and wind-driven rain was falling when all of a sudden large balls of ice began to fall from the sky and pelted the army and their horses. The French had received their “miracle”.
The storm lasted less than an hour. All told, estimated casualties from the storm were nearly 1,000 soldiers dead, along with 6,000 horses. Two of the soldiers died after being struck by lightning. Edward was convinced that the storm was a sign from God as punishment for the pillaging of the French countryside during Lent. He turned toward the church of Our Lady at Chartres and vowed to the Virgin Mary that he would accept terms of peace from the French.
After some back and forth communication, the French wasted no time coming up with peace initiatives. In fact on the very next day, the French sent representative Androuin de la Roche with a proposal for a treaty. The Treaty Of Bretigny ended what was called the first phase of the Hundred Years War. The peace lasted nearly a decade before hostilities resumed once again.
There are plenty of questions surrounding this weather event. How can a hailstorm kill 1,000 men and 6,000 horses? Several publications indicate that this is exactly what happened but some chronicles over the centuries indicate that some men could have died from exposure (hypothermia) to the severe elements. Others indicate that the storm itself spooked hundreds of horses leading to a deadly stampede.
Some weather history for Sunday, April 21, 2019
1958 – Portions of Montana were in the midst of a spring snowburst. Snowfall amounts ranged up to 55 inches at Red Lodge, 61 inches at Nye Mine, and 72 inches at Mystic Lake. (David Ludlum)
1967 – Severe thunderstorms spawned 48 tornadoes in the Upper Midwest. Hardest hit was northern Illinois where sixteen tornadoes touched down during the afternoon and evening hours causing fifty million dollars damage. On that Friday afternoon tornadoes struck Belvidere IL, and the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn, killing 57 persons. (David Ludlum)
1980 – The temperature at International Falls MN hit 90 degrees. (The National Weather Summary)
1987 – Unseasonably warm weather prevailed from the Gulf of Mexico to New England and the Great Lakes Region, with twenty-nine cities reporting record high temperatures for the date. Afternoon highs of 82 degrees at Caribou ME, 94 degrees at Mobile AL, 95 degrees at Monroe LA, and 93 degrees at New Orleans LA, were records for the month of April. (The National Weather Summary)
1988 – After having had just twelve rainouts in the previous twenty-six years at Dodger Stadium, a third day of heavy rain in southern California rained out a double-header at Dodger Stadium which had been scheduled due to rainouts the previous two days. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1989 – The temperature at Las Animas, CO, soared to 100 degrees to establish a state record for April. Twenty-two cities in the central and southwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date. Eight cities equalled or exceeded previous April records. (The Weather Channel) (The National Weather Summary)
1990 – Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced golf ball size hail in Oklahoma, and also caused some flash flooding in the state. Thunderstorms over the Southern High Plains produced golf ball size hail at Roswell NM and El Paso TX. Easterly winds and temperatures near zero produced wind chill readings as cold as 50 degrees below zero for the spring festival (Piuraagiaqta) outdoor events at Barrow AK. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
2007 – The South Plains and Panhandle of West Texas were hit by an outbreak of severe thunderstorms. Between the hours of 5 and 6 pm, several thunderstorms developed across the western South Plains. Around 7 pm, a supercell produced a tornado which touched down around Fieldton (southwest of Olton) and then moved just south and east of Olton, doing damage to several structures and equipment. The thunderstorm continued to move northeast across northeast Lamb, northwest Hale, southeast Castro and southwest Swisher Counties, producing a long-lived tornado (along with hail up to the size of tennis balls). By 7:45 pm, the storm approached the town of Tulia in Swisher County. A tornado touchdown was reported in the town, causing major damage. The tornadic thunderstorm continued to move northeast across Swisher County over open country through about 8:30 pm. (NWS Lubbock, TX)
I hope you all have a Joyful and Happy Easter weekend.
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