Maulds Meaburn Historical Records

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Local Historical Weather Events and Facts for the Maulds Meaburn area of Cumbria

This page will undoubtedly be 'a work in progress' forever more. New information will be discovered or hopefully provided by any person who should read this and be able to re-count a particular year, day, event of note and better still, have the data as well. Information undoubtedly exists, it is just a case of finding it and that will bring a particular joy when some long lost records are discovered. So please be patient, keep checking in and with time this page will grow.

Firstly a brief explanation of 'Local' - this will obviously be: Maulds Meaburn, Crosby Ravensworth, Reagill, Sleagill, Morland and for general interest and comparison, rainfall figures for Appleby, Orton and Temple Sowerby. I have decided against including Shap (apart from a few illustrative examples), which, despite its proximity, quite often experiences weather quite different to our own and in many ways could be the sole subject of a historical study.

I am indebted to 'Symons's British Rainfall Guides' which is a truly unique source of information and that ran from 1860 - 1991 (albeit Symons's name was finally dropped and they became just the British rainfall guides). I am also grateful to the county archives and libraries in Carlisle and Kendal, Roy Chetham and Stephen Burt who provided me with some important information to complete the various rainfall records and to Paul Crabtree (of Brampton weather) for his overall encouragement in this and the bigger Wiki project and for also providing some missing information.

CROSBY RAVENSWORTH AND REAGILL

To date the earliest information that I have for Crosby Ravensworth is for the period 1869-1878 and comes from the British Rainfall Guides, when the Rev. G.F. Weston employed an 8 inch rain gauge set just 5 inches above the ground. Whilst I do not know the exact location it is shown as being 600ft above sea level (asl). Google earth shows that the land around the then Vicarage (now Weston House) was 613ft asl and one must presume that the gauge was set here.

To have 10 years worth of data is quite valuable especially when it can be compared, for 7 years, with the rainfall at Reagill which is shown below. However, the Rev. Weston had his rain gauge set far too low. The standard was to become a 5" gauge set at 1ft above the ground as it was found that gauges set too low over recorded as during spells of heavy rain it would 'splash back' into the gauge. Certainly when compared to the figures at Reagill, those of the Reverend do seem a little high.

The details are:

Crosby Ravensworth  1869-1878
  1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 Average
Inches 55.53 46.27 51.38 67.56 40.54 52.44 46.81 45.14 65.5 38.61 50.98
MM 1410.5 1175.3 1305.1 1716.0 1029.7 1332.0 1189.0 1146.6 1663.7 980.7 1294.9
Rain Days 179 170 158 226 158 169 171 158 211   177

 

The Rev. Weston was still at Crosby Ravensworth when he died in 1887. I do not know if he was still recording rainfall after 1878, but there are certainly no other entries after this year. As with a lot of the data from other sites to be shown below, a lot can be traced to either the county archives or to the Met' Offices own library archive, but to date I have not yet discovered the Reverend's records.

For the period 1872 - 1889 (17 years) Mr. Wilkinson the school master at Reagill provides us with an excellent rainfall series and whilst there may seem to be some obvious flaws it is non-the less an excellent record.

Wilkinson's rainfall records are stored in the Met' Offices archive, shown as published 1885, Ref: Archive Y12.D1-D3. These records, along with the ones shown below for Crosby Ravensworth and Morland, have been deemed too large a request for the Met' Office library to scan and send to me!

Initially Wilkinson employed a 6" diameter rain gauge set at 6" above the ground, which then changed in 1874 to an 8" gauge set at 1ft above the ground and was then changed again in 1881 to 6" above the ground. I have visions of him tearing his hair out as each year passed by with him unable to explain why his gauge was recording less than that of the Reverend Weston. How and where it is positioned is clearly quite crucial. The annual amounts for those years are shown below.

Reagill 1872-1889
  1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 Average
Inches 61.81 35.00 48.40 39.19 41.30 56.79 37.50 32.24   45.94 46.19 48.25 42.88 38.89 48.69 29.38 37.81 30.06 42.37
MM 1570.0 889.0 1229.4 995.4 1049.0 1442.5 952.5 818.9   1166.9 1173.2 1225.6 1089.2 987.8 1236.7 746.3 960.4 763.5 1076.2
Rain Days 217 ** 207 182 168 214 151 148   142 168 154 139 136 169 ** 141 ** 166.9

Unfortunately records for 1880 do not appear in the Rainfall Guides and enquiries with the Met' Office show that they to do not have this information.

The ** above show that the number of rain days is not listed and it would seem that Mr. Wilkinson was possibly a little bit lax in his daily recordings as the number of days on which he records rainfall would appear to be very low.

It was a common theme in those days and one that caused Symons much consternation, that the observers did not always check their rain gauges daily. The monthly/yearly rainfall total would not be affected but the number of days on which rainfall was recorded, was. Just 0.01 inch (0.2 mm) is enough to be recorded as a 'Rain day'.

A few comparisons with other nearby sites demonstrates the point:

1885 saw 25.28 inch of rainfall on 175 days in Appleby and on 198 days in Shap (Reagill was 38.89 inch on just 136 days)

1886 saw 42.90 inch of rainfall on 190 days in Appleby and on 226 days in Shap (Reagill was 48.69 inch on just 169 days)

The British Rainfall Guides contained sections for the observers to comment on the following: notes on principal phenomena, notes on the months and notes on the year. In those 8 years Wilkinson only submitted one entry, it is from 1886 and reads:

'The oldest people here say they have never known so stormy a year nor one so bad for farming. In the early part there were several heavy falls of snow, with rapid thaws for a time, then sudden change to hard frost The time for both hay and corn harvest was very wet; the corn crops were much damaged and were not secured until late in October - a considerable part not till late in November.'

Mr. W. Hoggarth was the observer for Copy Hill in Shap and he did submit more substantial reports, extracts from his reports for January and February read:

JANUARY - 'Remarkably changeable. Heavy showers of rain then hard frost....then heavy falls of snow which drifted in many places. The latter part of the month was one continual fall of snow which lay at the close to a very great depth; walls were not to be seen...roads and railway hard to keep open; many small birds died.'

FEBRUARY - 'Very seasonable. Most of the January snow was still lying, at the close of this month, in heavy drifts behind the walls and in narrow lanes, some of which were quite full. Keen frost prevailed and farm work was at a standstill.'

And unfortunately at present that is were the trail goes cold for some considerable time....until 1946.

The 'River Eden Catchment Board' employed a 5" gauge at 1ft above the ground at 612 ft asl. I do not know the exact location of the site, but a clue might be had from 1973.

This site, for which the rainfall records are actually shown as 1945-49, was an official Met' office rainfall site and had the station code of 3677/1. The monthly rainfall records are held in the archives at the Met' Office (ref' Archive V01.A-V05.A) and are some of those too large to copy to me, but the three years of records as shown in the Rainfall Guides are:

inches mm's

1946 46.49 1180.8

1947 46.55 1182.4

1948 53.97 1370.8

The figures for Reagill, those of the Reverend Weston and these three years for Crosby Ravensworth when compared to my own figures (2008-2011), those of 1946-1948 are more comparable, but three years is no real basis for a meaningful comparison. But those at Reagill, whilst I think they are slightly under recorded (and the Reverend's over recorded) are not to dissimilar and certainly 17 years is a reasonable amount of time to start making meaningful comparisons - once I have more years of my own data with which to compare then it might all slot into place!

We then have to jump forward to the years 1973-80 when once again a rain gauge was back in the village - This again would appear to be concerned with River Eden Catchment and was an official Met' office site, station number 599437, the records being held by the Met' Office archive (Ref: Archive V07.B1-V11.A5). Unfortunately I do not have the annual rainfall amounts and only know that the mapping for the site locates it somewhere in the vicinity of Low Row farm, but this is far from certain.

MORLAND

Once again the British Rainfall Guides prove to be an excellent source of information regarding Morland and what is especially pleasing is the high number of years that weather observations were made there, running into decades.

It was also an official Met' Office rainfall site, station number 3687 and once again the monthly returns are held in the Met' office archive (Ref: Arcive V01. A-V05.A).

Yearly rainfall amounts for Morland first appear in the rainfall guides in 1902 and then cease in 1942 (although the Met' office records show records to 1944). But with some help from colleagues I have managed to collect the annual rainfall amounts for every year. This is truly a superb historical rainfall history and I personally was slightly surprised by the low yearly average recorded.

The observer listed for this site is one Miss M. Markham (in 1912 being slightly amended to Miss. M.F Markham) and she is still shown as the observer in 1918. She employed a 5" gauge at 1ft above the ground, located at 456Ft above sea level. Moving onto 1934 and 1936 the observer is listed as F.R. Markham esq. and the rain gauge is now shown at 455ft asl (possibly just a slight correction on the original figure?).

Using Google earth I find that the grounds to Morland House are indeed 455/456 ft above sea level and with the Markham connection to the property it seems a reasonable assumption that the rain gauge was sited here - did they record anything else such as temperature?

Curiously in the 1934 edition, but not in 1936, there is an entry for Morland Hall, observer a W.G. Shorrock, esq. Shorrock recorded rainfall of 32.50 inches compared to 35.75 inches recorded down in the village.

What is worthy of note is that when comparing the totals quoted for Morland to those at the nearest sites such as Temple Sowerby, Appleby and Penrith, they are vey much in keeping.

The full records are shown below. Further comments are made below:

Morland 1902-1909
  1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 Average
Inches 29.51 51.16 33.45 28.51 37.94 36.9 34.06 37.76 36.16
MM 749.6 1299.5 849.6 724.2 963.7 937.3 865.1 959.1 918.5
Rain days 201 249 205 205 213 215 211 200 212.4
Morland 1910-1919
  1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 Average
Inches 39.3 39.79 40.86 36.94 40.01 32.68 41.47 32.1 43.01 29.53 37.57
MM 998.2 1010.7 1037.8 938.3 1016.3 830.1 1053.3 815.3 1092.5 750.1 954.3
Rain days 208 195 242 214 204 184 228 212 210 216 211.3
Morland 1920-1929
  1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 Average
Inches 41.82 30.65 37.13 45.73 37.46 39.27 36.35 42.41 49.58 34.76 39.51
MM 1062.2 778.5 943.1 1161.5 951.5 997.5 923.3 1077.2 1259.3 882.9 1003.6
Rain days 229 186 199 198 204 191 192 213 212 161 198.5
Morland 1930-1939
  1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 Average
Inches 44.43 36.59 42.46 29.24 35.75 37.65 40.27 30.17 43.54 33.22 37.33
MM 1128.5 929.4 1078.5 742.7 908.1 956.3 1022.9 766.3 1105.9 843.8 948.2
Rain days 206 184 189 166 194 183 177 177 199 167 184.2

Inches mm's

1940 30.89 784.6

1941 28.12 714.2

1942 33.22 843.8

For the 41 year period it gives an average yearly rainfall of 37.21 inches (945.2 mm) on 199.4 days per year.

These 41 years worth of figures are very consistent and the other figures that we have locally (Appleby) within the period 1902-1942 reinforces this consistency. In the 1934/36 guides an average yearly rainfall figure is supplied and for Morland this is quoted as 35.6 inches.

This average is for the period 1881 - 1915 (the actual mean was 37.06 inch), but as Morland's figures only commenced in 1902 they have been 'weighted' with figures from other nearby stations with records going back to 1881. However, using all of the 1902-42 records the mean of 37.21 inches just adds to the consistency of the entire period.

WETTEST AND DRIEST YEARS

Within the period 1902-1942 the wettest year is by far that of 1903 with 51.16 inches and was the only time that 50 inches was beaten in the entire period. Only 1928 with 49.58 inches comes anywhere near and only once 91927-28) was 40 inches beaten in successive years.

The driest year is that of 1941 with just 28.12 inch and in the period five years would be classed as dry, having less than 30 inches of rain.

Regrettably the number of 'rain days' is not listed for 1941 which leaves 1940 with 137 Rain days as the year with the least rain days and 1903 with 249 rain days being the year with the most.

A few curiosities arise: the period 1902-10 had the lowest mean rainfall of the four decades but the highest number of days on which rain was recorded (rain days) and indeed there appears to be a trend in the number of rain days declining as the decades progress with marked falls from the between 19teens and the 20's and then the 20'2 to the 30's.

But I don't see anything in these figures that is unduly surprising other than the fact that the mean rainfall is more akin to that of Appleby than say a Reagill or Crosby Ravensworth.

1961 - Cold December

Taken from 'The Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald' on 3.12.11. - their 'This week in history' section from 50 years ago

'This week saw the coldest night experienced at Penrith for over 20 years. The minimum temperature recorded at Queen Elizabeth Grammar school weather station was 3°F (-29 degrees below freezing point.) The last time the temperature dropped so low was in January 1940, when it reached zero (32 degrees of frost).

At Morland this week's weather has been even colder. The minimum registered on the thermometer of Mr. R. G. Thwaites, Lowergate, was minus 5°F (37 degrees of frost) at night.

At Appleby, Mr. J. F. Whitehead recorded a minimum temperature of 10F (22 degrees of frost) the lowest for many years.'

I have spoken with Mr. Thwaites and he informs me that he employed a Thermograph which was kept in a screen which was in his then quite substantial garden. Unfortunately he gave his Thermograph away and with it the records when seemingly the on one even colder night (the date of which he does not re-call, the needle 'fell' of the bottom of the Thermograph and he thought that if he could not record the actual temperature then he was no longer interested and hence gave it way.

GREAT STRICKLAND

Whilst I only have one year's worth of data for Great Strickland, it is the earliest date of all the information that I have found to date. Once again it is taken from the British Rainfall Guides.

In 1865 when the guides only had 600 reporting stations nationally, Great strickland was one of them. Unfortunately I do not know the first and last years in which figures are available, but I find that a H. Plumer esq' was the observer and that he employed a gauge set at 1 ft 6" above the ground and his site was 650 ft asl.

In 1865 he recorded 35.87 inches (911.1 mm) of rain that fell on just 129 days (I'm of the opinion that he did not read his gauge every day).

Mr. Plumer felt moved (or sufficiently confused) to submit the following comment to the guides:

'We have reason to think that high winds affects the quantity of rain which enters the gauge, there been a great deal more flood on a windy day, on which we registered a less quantity than there was on a calm day, on which we registered a greater quantity - does it blow over the gauge?

It has been by far the driest year here for a long time, places being dried up which have never been so before in the memory of the oldest inhabitant, yet we had 36 inches of rain, but it was concentrated in a few months.'

Indeed the wind can affect the amount of rain that falls into the gauge and hence the reason why a height of 1ft above the ground became standard and in the most exposed of sites a 'turf wall' is used to encircle the gauge to alleviate the affect of the wind.

CLIBURN

In 1930 the children of Cliburn primary school performed a 'Parish Survey' and this is kept in the county archive at Kendal (Ref' WDS 58/21). This was a survey of the number of inhabitants of the village, number of fields and to what use, type of crop, etc, but it also included a monthly rainfall record; the results are shown below.

Cliburn 1930
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Inches 7.5 0.2 3.4 2.1 1.8 1.4 4.2 6.7 2.3 4.9 3.8 4.4 42.88
mm 190.5 5.1 86.4 53.3 45.7 35.6 106.7 170.2 58.4 124.5 96.5 111.8 1089.2
Days of 0.01> 23 3 13 20 12 12 16 22 16 26 13 16 192
days of 0.04> 20 3 13 10 9 9 14 20 14 22 11 14 159

The children completed graphs to show the monthly rainfall, this being shown in tenths. So for such as the 7.5 inch for January this cloud easily have been 7.53 inch for example and hence the reason why the annual total of 42.88 inch is not the exact sum of the 12 months totalled up. Whilst no details of the gauge used is provided, one must assume that it was located in the school grounds and when compared to the 44.43 inches recorded in Morland that year it would appear to be spot on.

One interesting aside is that at the side of the graphs the yearly totals of 42.88 inches, 188 rain days (days of 0.01 inch) and 159 Wet days (days of 0.04 inch) is listed. When I total up the monthly rain days as hard as I try to get it to equal 188, it always adds upto 192!

But nonetheless it is fascinating to see and I have no problem in believing its accuracy.

RAINFALL AVERAGES FOR APPLEBY (Castle Bank) 1916 -1950

Appleby - Rainfall Averages 1916-1950
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Inches 4.12 2.39 2.29 2.06 2.4 2.19 3.35 3.65 3.25 3.84 3.48 3.53 36.55
MM 104.6 60.7 58.2 52.3 61.0 55.6 85.1 92.7 82.6 97.5 88.4 89.7 928.4