14 Jan 2012

St. Hilary's Feast Day

St. Hilary's Feast Day - 13th January

This Feast Day has gained the reputation of being the coldest day of the year due to past cold events starting on or around this date.

One of the most severe winters in history began around 13 January in 1205, when the Thames in London froze over and ale and wine turned to solid ice and were sold by weight.

"So began a frost which continued till the two and twentieth day of March, so that the ground could not be tilled; whereof it came to pass that, in summer following a quarter of wheat was sold for a mark of silver in many places of England, which for the more part in the days of King Henry the Second was sold for twelve pence a quarter of beans or peas for half a mark; a quarter of oats for thirty pence, that were wont to be sold for fourpence.  Also the money was so sore clipped that there was no remedy but to have it renewed".   Stowe's Chronicle.

In 1086, a great frost also started spreading over the country on St. Hilary's Day.


  1. In January 1947 The Great Snow hit Ireland. It lasted for 3 months. I remember mt grandfather often talking about it and how people got lost in the snow because they could'nt see any landmarks. Roads, houses and hedgerows were covered.

  2. Well, it's pretty frosty here this morning. Let's hope history is not going to repeat itself this year!

  3. St Hilary's Day seems to be running true to form anyway - we have hard the first proper frost of the winter overnight. I enjoyed reading the excerpt from Stowe - there was a mini ice age from the mid 15th to the mid 19th century and there were several Frost Fairs on the Thames.

  4. Two frosty mornings this weekend but nothing like as severe as the descriptions of 1205 and 1086. In the garden our bird bath and pond are frozen still in the late afternoon sunshine. I've enjoyed reading this post about St Hilary's Feast Day:)

  5. I can't help loving snow even though it causes hardship. We never get enough of it here. There is a romance attached to a snowy scene and you capture that so well in your photos:~)

  6. Really enjoyed reading your post Elaine. I remember my mum telling me about the bad winter of 1947 and I can certainly remember the 1963 snows lasting until early May. Even the Thames froze over!


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