Tornado, 1873

1873, June 10 – A TORNADO IN WARWICKSHIRE. – The Birmingham Morning News says that on this day (the same day on which a severe thunder storm occurred in Coventry) a perfect tornado seems to have visited some of the rural villages in Central Warwickshire. The following particulars have been supplied by William Rushton and William Fieldhouse, of Ullenhall, both of whom witnessed it and narrowly escaped injury. On the estate of Mr. Newton, Barrell’s Hall, Ullenhall, large trees were torn up by the roots, and the branches were carried a considerable distance by the force of the hurricane. A farm house was unroofed, and even the lead gutters were torn up and carried away. In the little village of Ullenhall the homestead of Mr. Hanker suffered serious injury. The house was unroofed, cowsheds and piggeries were destroyed, many of the trees in the garden and orchard torn up, and some of them carried to a distance of 200 yards, two straw ricks were carried bodily across a wheat field, and the whole neighbourhood round was strewn with fragments and debris of various kinds. Mr. Hanker saw the whirlwind coming towards his farm, “The air was thick with broken boughs,” he says, “and the roar sounded like the cawing of thousands of noisy rooks.” With great presence of mind Mr. Hanker called his family and servants from the house, and conveyed them to a shed at the rear, believing that the house itself, which stood exposed to the full fury of the tornado, must suffer very considerably. Nor was he mistaken. Windows were smashed in, and much damage was done to the roof and interior of the dwelling. In Olbury Wood oak trees were uprooted, other trees were shivered into splinters and carried long distances. The farm of Mr. Thomas Hanker, brother to the gentleman just named, was also visited by the storm. The house was unroofed, the cross-tiles of some new outbuildings were carried away, and a straw rick was scattered far and wide. On the farm of Messrs. Scroxton and Brookes a good deal of damage was also done. The total damage, so far as it is yet known, will represent several thousand pounds sterling. Fortunately, no loss of human life is reported, and the number of sheep and cattle destroyed is very small, considering the violence of the hurricane. One of the oak trees uprooted was 3ft. 2in. in diameter, and 9ft. 6in. in circumference, and turf 16ft. by 12ft. was carried away with it. The “oldest inhabitant” of Ullenhall cannot remember a previous storm of such violence, and the youngest inhabitant will never forget it.

[History Gazetteer & Directory of Warwick 1874 – p284]

Mr William Hanker lived at Heath Farm. His brother, Thomas, farmed at Aspley. (1871 census). At the moment we cannot identify where the farm of Messrs. Scroxton and Brookes was.