Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 184 March 1995

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Text, letter

At a village called Sibford Ferris

The weather hit the headlines on September 22, 1935, thanks to violent hailstorms over many parts of England and Wales the night before.

Chepstow, in Gwent, was one of the worst-hit areas. Hailstones up to two inches across stripped leaves off trees, destroyed the fruit crop, and smashed hundreds of panes of glass in the green-houses at Itton Court.

Near Banbury in 0xfordshire, at a village called Sibford Ferris, the storm was so severe that more than a hundred house windows were broken, and many birds were killed by the enormous hailstones.

An item from the “Today” newspaper.

Yes, this storm really did happen. At that time we lived in one of the houses that used to face on to the Hook Norton road between the entrance to Cotswold close and Nansen House. As the storm was travelling across the country from west to east we caught its full force.

It struck us during the night and the lightning was almost continuous. I think it was all sheet lightning, flashing from cloud to cloud, as I don’t think that it did any damage. Although those houses were not connected to the mains we certainly had electric lighting during that storm. Our father came into our bedroom and held a blanket across the window to stop the glass flying as the hailstones broke the panes. Although the heads of our beds were against the other wall, my sister found in the morning that she had splinters of glass in her bed. The crashing thunder to some extent drowned the sound of the wind which must have been very strong. In spite of the protection given by the eaves of the thatched roof 44 panes of glass were broken in our house. The terrace of four three storeyed houses further up the road had nearly 300 of their small square leaded panes shattered.

In the morning we found that amongst the drifts of hailstones that had collected against the wall of the house there were still some as big as plums even though they had been thawing for several hours.

The New School (The Hill) also suffered a great deal of damage to its west facing windows. During the storm the beds were moved across the dormitory away from the windows.

This freak hailstorm only affected a band about a mile wide as it made its way across the country and the news on the wireless reported that hailstones as big as golf balls fell in Bedfordshire.

We have a photograph of two cottages that now form part of Lambs Croft showing about forty panes of glass broken and another showing the marks made by the hailstones on the stone wall of adjoining outbuildings.

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