Fires and Floods

Situated in a valley, with roads and farm tracks channeling water down hill, Wold Newton is particularly prone to flash flooding. Serious floods are rare but spectacular.

Grimsby Mercury 30th. June 1875

THUNDERSTORM AND FLOOD AT WOLD NEWTON.-The thunderstorm which broke over North Lincolnshire on Thursday the 17th inst. visited the village of Wold Newton with extraordinary and unparalleled violence, causing and inflicting havoc, which has not yet been fully repaired.Indeed it will take some time to make good the ravages thus wrought. The storm began about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and lasted for about 2 hours. For an hour previously the appearances were threatening, it being observed that two storms were hovering about, until finally one approaching from the northward and another from the southward united here. There was then a dead calm, and a perpendicular descent of a deluging hail and rain. Its effects were felt beyond Wold Newton and its vicinity, but not so severely. First came a heavy and long-continued downpour of hail covering the ground to a depth of several inches. Next rain descended in torrents, such as the oldest inhabitant never before witnessed. At the same time the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed in a way that produced the greatest consternation and fear. The water rushed down the hills on either side of the village like vast cataracts, and through the one street of which the street may be said to consist like a tidal stream, flooding the houses as well as adjacent roads and the low lands. The depth of water of course varied with the different levels, but in the shallowest places it was three or four feet deep. Roads were torn up and huge quantities of earth carried away by the current. Agricultural implements were embedded, and had to be afterwards dug out. The basement floors of houses and cottages were inundated, stables flooded, and generally considerable damage was done to property. Fortunately, no person was injured at Wold Newton, although at Thoresby a shepherd in the employ of Mr. Davy, farmer, together with a horse which the man was riding, was struck by the lightning and killed. The force and weight of the streams of rainfall which inundated Wold Newton may be imagined from the fact that in Hawerby-lane, where there is a steep descent, the road was excavated 5 feet deep and a similar width for a length of 21/2 chains, while in a large sloping turnip close of Mr. Wright’s, adjoining the highway at the other end of the village, the rush of the descending water furrowed the land to the extent of baring it to the very rock, forcing the soil to the foot of the hill. This gentleman’s horse stables and other outbuildings were flooded. To rescue some dogs which were chained in one of the stables, labourers had to wade up to their armpits. A number of chickens were drowned. Heaps of manure were carried away as well as earth, and scattered about the village; and the setting things right has not yet been completed, although many men and horses have been engaged in the work during the past week. Mr. Iles’ farm at the northern end of the village also suffered considerably. The youngsters attending the national school had to be carried to their homes by sturdy villagers, who, however, found much difficulty in getting along against the stream. At Brigsley the church roof was struck by lightning, and fell in. While memory lasts the good folk of Wold Newton will remember the storm of the 17th inst., which at one time threatened a perfect deluge.

When the famous Louth flood struck on 29th May 1920, rainfall of 63 mm was recorded in Wold Newton; see the attached analysis. Fortunately, there was no such devastation in Wold Newton as occurred in Louth.

The next reported flood spectacular was on 21st August 1958. Reports in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph and The Times are attached below. This photograph is of the last shepherd to work at South Farm, Mr Malkinson, driving through the flood waters at the bottom of Hawerby Hall with his horse, Joe.

Fires are mercifully less frequent but without a plentiful water supply until relatively recently (see Water), were impossible to control if they occurred. The burning down of the Rectory on 12th March 1935, Times report below, prompted the installation of the telephone box at the bottom of the Rectory drive to facilitate calls to the emergency services.

The arrival of fire engines when fire struck a barn on the corner of the bend at North Farm in the 1970s was no panacea. The village water supply was so inadequate that the engines had to relay to the pond at East Ravendale (2 miles away) to take up water. The barn was burnt to the ground.