On this day in history : 17th October 1091 – A tornado sweeps through London – it is the earliest reported tornado in Britain…. The wooden London Bridge is demolished along with over 600 houses….
The tornado is thought to have been T8 on the Torro Scale, which is used to measure tornado intensity ranging between T0 and T11…. Or on the Fujita Scale it would have registered at F4, indicating wind speeds between 207-260mph – classified as causing devastating damage….
The tornado twisted in from the south west direction…. Many churches in the area were badly damaged or demolished…. The church at St. Mary-Le-Bow, in the City, was completely levelled – all that survived was the newly completed arched crypt…. Four rafters at 28ft long were driven into the ground with such force that only 4ft showed above the surface…. The church was later rebuilt during the Norman period….
According to William of Malmesbury, in his account of the tornado – “churches and houses, enclosures and walls were left in heaps”…. Not only was it the first tornado recorded in England it has also been the most violent one ever…. Over 600, mostly wooden houses, were destroyed – it is amazing that out of a population of around 18,000 there were only two known fatalities….
After the tornado William Rufus rebuilt London Bridge – only for it to be destroyed by fire forty years later…. Eventually one was built from stone….