6 October 1863 Hereford, Herefordshire, England ~5.2

Felt in Kent by Charles Dickens.

Glastonbury Tor is an unusually shaped hill located just outside of the town of Glastonbury in southeast England. The tower on the top of the Tor is the remains of St. Michaels Church, constructed in the fifteenth century. It replaced an earlier church which was destroyed in an earthquake on September 11, 1275.

4 JANUARY 1868

Shock of an earthquake in the Somerset

Somerset was visited, about five o'clock on Saturday morning, with a shock which appears to have caused great alarm, and the nature of which cannot be doubted.

Taunton - about five o'clock on Saturday morning hundreds of persons in Taunton and neighbourhood was startled in their slumbers by the shock of an earthquake and the event was the serious topic of conversation throughout the town on Saturday. A loud report was first heard and this was followed by the shaking of houses and various articles of furniture. Many persons arose from their beds to ascertain the cause and others were thrown from their beds to the floor to their great astonishment.

At the jail the warders on duty plainly felt the shock and became greatly alarmed.

At the post office Mr White one of the night clerks was shaken violently and aroused from his slumbers.

A watch hung on a nail by the bedside of the workmen in Mr Hill's employ was thrown to the ground.

The sentry on guard at the barracks had had difficulty in keeping on his feet and the barracks violently trembled.  

The Rev JK Eagles was writing at the time at a relative's-  Miss Warr of Hestercombe - and he describes the noise preceding the shock is similar to an iron chest being thrown down.

A farmer near Curry rival Church conceived that his house had been entered by burglars and dressing, armed himself with a revolver and searched for the suspected intruders.

All in Taunton agreed that it was a smart shock of an earthquake in the absence of any great explosion at a distance or any occurrence to account for so great and so unusual disturbance at such an hour.

It was also felt at North Petherton, Enmore, Combewitch, Cannington, Newton, Wake, Drayton, Ilchester., Compton and Kingsbury, and at many other places a slight shock was felt, whilst in some cases it was so violent that people became alarmed, in others the shaking is described as similar to that caused by the rumbling of a heavy wagon along a hard road.

Report of this event continue coming in from various parts of the county but none of them of special interest in addition the places already mention the shock was felt at Blagdon,  Milverton, Bradford, Wellington, and several other places.

One correspondent informs us that the lodge keeper at Heatherton Park who is deaf was awoke much alarmed by the violent shaking of his bed and when he awoke his wife she declared she heard a low rumbling kind of noise. The policeman at one of the crossings a mile or two below Taunton described the noise as being like the sound of 20 cannon being fired at a distance and echoing along a valley.  On the Blackdown Hills several persons felt vibrations and heard noises. The time mentioned by all the persons referred to above agrees within a few minutes.

4 January 1868       Langport, Somerset, England ~            3.0

30 October 1868     Neath, Neath Port Talbot, Wales ~      4.9 Felt as far away as Manchester and Blackheath.

1868 was the year of the Earthquake as far as Taunton was concerned.  There were two, one in January and one in October. The descriptions of the effects appear to be identical.  

30 OCTOBER 1868

The shock of an earthquake was distinctly apparent in the town and neighbourhood of Taunton on Friday evening 30 October and occasioned a great deal of excitement and some alarm

It occurred at about half past 10:00 pm.  The night was calm and cloudy but light the moon being nearly full. The first intimation of this phenomenon so read to us in these latitudes was the slightest perceptible trembling of the room in which we were sitting, just sufficiently apparent to excite attention. This was immediately followed by a shaking of the whole house to its very foundations and a severe rattling of the casements of the windows. It was something like as though a heavy Wayne was being driven rapidly past and simultaneously a violent gust of wind blowing against the windows and the concussion of a distant explosion.

Several houses in the centre of the town was shaken in a like manner the streets being at the time perfectly quiet scarcely a passerby and no vehicle whatsoever the disturbance lasted about three or four seconds and it was remarked in one case that the furniture on the Eastern side of the room was shaken more violently than on the opposite.  If it is determined that the earthquake passed from east to west this would be fully accounted for in the suburbs of the town like phenomena were noticed at the same time and under similar conditions of quietness we also understand that in Watchet and  Minehead the effects occurred in a similar manner in time.

The list of places who reported feeling the effects of the earthquake cover a much wider area, but the descriptions are very similar to those earlier in the year.  The time given seems to be around 10.40pm.   Those parishes where the earthquake was felt are Milverton, Wiveliscombe, Exeter, South Moulton, Stoodleigh, Honiton, Martock, Langport, Poytington, Crewkerne, Bridgwater Sherborne, Beaminster, Lopen, Axminster, Bristol,

Langport -a slight noise was heard and a shock felt on Thursday, and about five o'clock on Friday morning several persons again felt a quivering and some of them declared they heard a noise also. The noise on Saturday was very distinct at many places, but the shock appears to have ceased at a point a few miles below Langport.

The most strange part of the affair is that all the places in the course which it appears to have taken were not affected; at least it was so slight that at many villages the inhabitants knew nothing about it until enquiries were made respecting the affair.

Curry Rivel - at 10 min after five o'clock on Saturday morning a slight shock of earthquake was felt in this parish.

 Mr SH Sewers was lying in bed awake from illness when he heard a low rumbling sound and immediately the bed and furniture of the room shook rapidly. Mr C Fry opposite, also felt it. Dr Hughes who lives near, felt it. The timepiece in his bedroom stopped at 5:10. Several other persons in the village were also alarmed. No damage was done.  

One gentleman had said described it as being raised twice in his bed, the shock passing away with a whistling sound; another, as if the church tower had fallen down. One gentleman had various articles on his toilet table thrown down; the doctors watch stopped at 510; several people had their curtain shaken and won his bedroom door burst open; another his bells set ringing.

Stoke - on Saturday morning the shock of an earthquake was felt in this village, the shock resembled the rumbling occasioned by the rapid  passage of a train.

East Lambrook - beds were shaken by the earthquake, and the houses rocked.

Bridgwater -  in Bridgwater the vessels lying in the river fairly rocked to and fro and some portion of a large body of ice on the River near the bridge was broken up.

Seavington - the postmaster heard a noise resembling a passing train at 5:10.

Tintinhull - the shock was felt distinctly in this village. Rumour has been floating about the neighbourhood that the Fenians had visited Yeovil and that they had left a barrel of gunpowder at the railway station. When the shock was felt it was imagined that the gunpowder had exploded. This will give some idea of the force of the shock.

South Petherton - the earthquake was distinctly felt. Windows were shaken violently and the furniture in the bedrooms was disturbed. One woman at Compton was either thrown all fell out of bed. The shock only lasted a few seconds.

Muchelney - Mr Traves, of this village, was awoke by the rattling of his lamp and windows. The bed on which he was lying shook violently.

Martock - the shock of an earthquake was distinctly felt in this parish about 5:10 o'clock on Saturday morning. A low rumbling noise was heard which lasted for a few seconds and beds and windows simultaneously shock.


Description given in 1899 of the Earthquake

It is about 37 years ago that an earthquake or some such subterranean movement was felt in  Taunton and throughout England.  It happened in the night, but the shock or shocks were not a long duration.  I remember that whilst in bed I was turned over on my face by the movements and a glass and other articles were thrown from the shelf and smashed.  I could not make it out and went below to try to discover what was up.  I heard the footsteps of a policeman approaching and enquired of him if any explosion had occurred when he said the noise and movement was the affects of a short but strong earthquake he also said that he had heard the sound of glass being smashed in doors and the shaking of shop windows along his route but he did not experience much of the shock himself but it rather alarmed him.  If I remember rightly there was shortly afterwards an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.