On June 16, 1870 a severe hailstorm swept across West Dorset. The storm was described by Philip H Newnham, Rector of Frome Vauchurch in a letter to the Editor of the Meteorological Magazine.
Sir,—You will probably like to have some particulars of the remarkable local hailstorm of the 16th instant.
Unfortunately I was from home, and can only give you information as gathered by putting together the accounts of a good many different people.
The storm commenced at Maiden Newton about 4.45 p.m., and lasted 10 minutes or more. The hailstones were of two sizes: the smaller ones precisely of the shаре and size of confectioner’s “acid drops;” the larger ones more or less oblong, slightly ragged, and at least an inch in one diameter. The weight of these ranged from an ounce to an ounce and a half. The smashing of glass was universal, probably one pane in every three exposed to the storm was broken. No rain fell, and only very distant thunder was heard. There was more or less of this distant thunder for about 12 hours from 3 p.m., and about 9.30 p.m. was a considerable storm close at hand, but I know of no accident. The total rainfall was 0.57, but I expect that the hailballs rebounded out of the gauge funnel.
The storm passed over Abbotsbury, Maiden Newton, Evershot, and Sherborne, but only a little rain fell at Dorchester. The hail was least at the former place, and greatest at the latter, so far as I can learn.
P. H. NEWNHAM.
Frome Vauchurch, Maiden Newton, Dorchester, June 30th, 1870.