Audio Archive: Oral History - Weather in Ewyas Lacy
Extracts from a DVD published by the Longtown and District Historical Society in 2007 entitled “In the Shadow of the Black Mountains: Memories of Rural Life in South West Herefordshire”. The audio recordings are reproduced here with their kind permission, after adaptation by the Ewyas Lacy Study Group for website presentation.
The material consists of interviews with local residents designed to record an oral history of the parishes of Ewyas Lacy. The work was carried out by members of the LDHS Oral History Group between 2004 and 2006 as part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The memories in this clip relate to the history of the weather in Ewyas Lacy. The weather has always been important to country folk, and here we find memories of some extreme events that disrupted local life in the area in the mid-twentieth century.
The floods of autumn 1931 hit Ewyas Lacy hard, and did a lot of damage to the roads. The narrator describes how the road down ‘The Bryn’, a steep hill leading down into Longtown, was ripped out by the water, and some of the adventures that occurred while filling large holes with local stone to remake the roadways.
The descriptions of the snow and gales of the winter and spring of 1947 are more harrowing. The worst snow for 100 years and fierce gales left the valleys 12 feet deep in snow, the roads impassable for eight weeks, animals dying of starvation in the fields and local people themselves struggling to survive. The narrators describe sheep with icicles a foot long hanging from their fleece, upland farms with windows and doors blown out by the wind and ‘wild men from the country’ riding a crawler tractor up the main street of Abergavenny to collect desperately needed food for folk trapped in the valleys.