8:10pm Tuesday 7th January 2014
A RETIRED teacher and historian gives a comprehensive account of the great flood which devastated the Monmouthshire coastline over 400 years ago in his latest book.
Redwick resident and author, Mike Hall spent a year researching his latest book ‘The Severn Tsunami? The Story of Britain’s Greatest Natural Disaster’.
Mr Hall, 63, has written about the deadly wave of January 30, 1607, which affected villages including Redwick, Magor and the Gwent Levels and destroyed homes and farmland.
The book gives an account of the great flood and its devastating effect on the land and its people around the River Severn. It pieces together contemporary accounts with surviving physical evidence to create a fresh picture of the disaster.
He said: “Residents living around the river were brought face to face with the deadliest natural disaster in Great Britain’s history. A brutal wave, over seven metres high, swept up the river and eventually flooded the land on either side killing thousands of people. For centuries those who survived called it an act of God, but modern scientific research has suggested it was actually Great Britain’s first recorded Tsunami.”
He questions if the flooding was caused by a Tsunami or storm surge but believes a storm surge is more likely, based on the evidence.
Mr Hall, who also wrote ‘Monmouthshire Curiosities’ and ‘Lost Railways of South Wales’ was inspired to write the book after ‘Flood 400’ – a church and community partnership – was set up in 2006 to commemorate the great flood in a series of events in 2007.
“There is a lot of information on the internet and in journals but no book for the ordinary reader,” he said.
Researching, at Chepstow and Newport libraries Mr Hall found personal tales like the Monmouthshire Milkmaid who went to milk cows and was trapped by floods on what became an island, before being rescued by two men.
The book, featuring maps and pictures, is published by The History Press at £14.99.
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