November Talk: Learning from Sabrina

This month’s lecture was given by Dr Mark Lewis FSA, Curator of the National Roman Legion Museum at Caerleon.

2007 marked the 400th anniversary of one of Britain’s greatest peacetime disasters, namely the Great Severn Flood.

Dr Lewis outlined the history of serious flooding in Britain and in particular in the Severn Estuary.

In Roman times it was evident, from the excavated Roman Quays, that the level of the Severn was 1.75 meters lower than it is today. Floods have been recorded since 830AD and with increasing regularity throughout the centuries.

During the Great Flood of 30 January 1607 many hundreds perished particularly on the Gwent levels where the water penetrated four miles inland. St Mary’s Church in Cardiff was also damaged. It was the highest tide of the century and followed a three-day storm.

Chapbooks of the period illustrated the flood and mentioned the East Coast of England was also flooded. Dr Lewis felt this indicated the cause of the flood was a storm surge rather than a Tsunami. He linked the talk to climate change, rising sea levels and the danger of building in floodplains.

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