Aurora Borealis in Chapel-en-le-Frith, 1716

Another oddity from a parish register, this time Chapel-en-le-Frith: “Upon the 30th day of March [1716] betwixt the hours of 9 and 12 at night, there appeared in north and north east a strange sort of light in the air it streamed up like unto long picks of a large bignes some black some the color of the rainbow some a whitish collor and at last it broak out into flashes like lightnig or smoake as if it had been the smoake of guns discarging as fast as you could clap your hands very terible to behould it lasted to for the space of an hour and then turned to streams again it happened to beg a the year before within one day at the same time of month but [there] was no lightning at that time but [it] was far lighter the yeare before for there were severall could have read in a book at that time of night I have seen it my self severall nights besides but not so violent as it was these 2 nights but could never hear by any what the cause should be.” The cause, we can now work out, was the aurora borealis. A little googling of the text reveals that it is not my discovery at all (shame!) but was published over a century ago in John Charles Cox’s “Parish Registers of England” (London: Methuen, 1910). But it is new to me, so I shall post it anyway.

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