• Floods

    Nothing changes.  In the 1380’s, and in fact throughout the fourteenth century, floods were a continual worry in England.

    In Hildegard’s stamping ground, the East Riding of Yorkshire, the River Humber burst its banks with wearying regularity. The countryside is very flat up there, as Noel Coward said about Norfolk, and when the river floods it rushes inland over many miles of flat agricultural land.  The Augustinian priory at Cottingham, for instance, a good fifteen miles from the river, was regularly surrounded by water, a literal moated grange.

    The Cistercians, Hildegard’s preferred monastics, spent much time, effort and money on digging dykes and rearranging the river system.  This is all recorded in painstaking detail  in the Chronicle of Melsa written in 1397.  Meaux itself  lies within an intricate network of waterways, some used to convey wool staple to the coast for shipment to the continent, some  a defence against the inundations over the marshes.  The abbot’s bridge is still there after all these centuries.

    The once busy port of Ravenser nearby is well known by historians interested in Richard II for the fact that his usurping cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, arrived there with a small army to launch his invasion and snatch the throne from Richard and make himself Henry IV.  Ravenser has long since disappeared under the waves although, they say, you can still hear the church bells ringing to warn everybody to move to higher ground.  Such was its notoriety in those days that the repeated inundations which finally destroyed it were blamed on the immorality of its inhabitants for bringing down the  wrath of god.  As then, so now.  Nothing changes.





    othing changes.