Richard Hall was fascinated by extreme weather conditions and loved writing down tittle-tattle from around the country. I like the description of the storm which happened off Lerwick in 1797:
In case your eyesight isn’t up to deciphering the spidery scrawl:
“Letter from Lerwick, a town in Scotland, July 15, 1797.
A boat with six men from there, ling fishing, was overtaken with a storm of lightning & thunder – the boat’s shrouds were burnt, the mast and part of the boat shivered to pieces – the men’s stockings were burnt within their boots, their underjackets and flanel shirts totally burnt, but their skins, boots and outside jackets not hurt. One of them had a watch in his pocket, which was melted and destroyed. All of them were providentially saved, but stunned & in a state of stupefaction for some time after they were taken ashore.”
Two days later a horrendous storm struck London: “Very early in the morning a tremendous storm of Lightning and Thunder and great rain. Was particularly dreadful in London. The Lightning & Thunder very awful – what a Mercy to be preserved! The Newspaper says ‘of the dreadful flashes of Lightning & the awful peals of Thunder that prevailed no adequate description can possibly be given’