A Mild Regency Winter

It is reported that the winter of 1807 in the British Isles was one of the mildest on record, up to that time.

“..the heat of the weather was exactly the same the 24th of June last as the 24th of December; on both those days the thermometer being nearly 60.”

— The Annual Register, or a View of History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1807

 

Honeysuckle woodbine

                                    Honeysuckle woodbine

Throughout the land, gardeners were noting how their winter plots were full of flowers in full bloom–carnations, roses, woodbines and violets. A rose in full bloom was found growing in Sir Gabriel Powell’s shrubbery near Swansea. Even in common areas that received desultory treatment at that time of the year one could find:

“…double yellow and double purple primrose, the double purple stock, the purple campanula, the rue-leaved coronilla, ..all in high beauty.”

 

purple-campanula

                                                 purple campanula

Even the unexpected harvesting of wild plants for the table was remarkable, from two mushrooms in Stoney Knolls, to strawberries and a dish of green peas served to a gentleman in Wellesbourne on Christmas Day (!)

Nature’s animals were also found hard at labor. In Derbyshire, a hedge-sparrow’s nest had four eggs inside it, and in Warwickshire, two eggs were contained in a green linnet’s nest.

green linnet, also known as a greenfinch

     green linnet, also known as a greenfinch

As remarkable as these instances might be, still more confounding is the painstaking notations taken of them, in an age before the most minute recordings of climate change.

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