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Which happened in and about the Parish Church of Wydecombe, near

the Dartmoors, in Devonshire,

ON SUNDAY THE 21st of OCTOBER LAST, 1638.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

PSAL. xlvi. 8.

Imprimatur Thomas Wyke, R. P. Episc. Lond. Cap. Domest. Printed at London

by G. M. for R. Harford, and are to be sold at his shop in Queen's-head-alley, in Paternoster-Row, at the Gilt Bible, 2638. Quarto, containing thirty-seven pages.

Though this is called properly the second relation of this wonderful accident ; yet

it includes the former verbatim, and adds and explains some passages, either

omitted or left obscure, by way of appendix. As for the veracity of this relation, I am in no doubt, being so well attested, aud

licensed to be printed by the Bishop of London's domestick chaplain ; but I could wish that these terrors of the Lord would persuade men to be more afraid of his judgments, and to seek for his mercy and protection, in the time of need, by a just discharge of their respective duties.

To the Reader.

I here present thee with a second relation of that wonderful accident,

which the printing of the former book hath given occasion of. Having now received a full and perfect relation, as is possible to be hoped for, or procured, assuring thee it is not grounded on information taken up at second-hand ; but those persons being now come to London, who were eye-witnesses herein, and the chiefest discoverers of the effects of these terrible accidents : Although thou hadst the truth in part before, yet not the tythe thereof, the full relation whereof thou shalt find here annexed, following after the former relation, supplied in all those particulars, wherein there was any defect before, supposing it better to annex it, than to dissolve and blend it with the former. What thou hadst not before, shall only be

supplied now, and no more ; and what thou findest not here, take to be true, as they are expressed there ; and, although it be larger than our former, yet we desired, in penning thereof, not to trouble thee with many words, but only the substance of this sad matter, as concisely as we could ; and, though the price be more, yet suspend thy censure till thou hast perused it, and then, it may be, thou wilt give him thanks, who hath been at the pains to add this to the former; which he would not have done, unless he could tender it upon very good authority, and testimony of witnesses, more than needful. We know fame and report vary exceedingly, not knowing wherein to pitch our belief, for it much increaseth or diminisheth by flying, according to the apprehension and memory, both of the givers out, and takers up; but take this on his word, who only wisheth and intenda eth thy good. Farewell.

A true Relation of those most strange and lamentable Accidents, happens

ing in the parish church of Wydecomb, in Devonshire, ou Sunday the 21st of October, 1638.

GOD's visible judgments, and terrible remonstrances, which every morning are brought to light, coming unto our knowledge, should be our observation and admonition, that thereby the inhabitants of the earth may learn righteousness ;'* for to let them pass by us, as water runs by our doors, unobserved, argues too much regardlesness of God, in the way of his judgments t; not to suffer them to sink into our affections, and to prove as so many terrible warning-pieces, which are shot off from a watch-tower, to give notice of an enemy's approach, to awaken and affright us, are but a means to harden our hearts against the Lord, and to awaken his justice to punish us yet more : But 'to hear and fear,'I and to do wickedly no more; to search our hearts, and amend our ways, is the best use that can be made of any of God's remarkable terrors manifested among us. When God is

angry
with

us, it ought to be our wisdom to meet him, and make peace with him : And, where we see legible characters of his power and wrath, to learn to spell out his meaning, touching ourselves ; to leave off all busy, malicious, causless, and unchristianly censuring of others, and to turn in upon ourselves, remembering, Vel pænitendum, vel pereundum, 'Except we repent, we shall likewise perish.'|| Certain it is, that we do, in vain, expect immunity from God's judgments, by slighting, or contemning them, or inereasing in our sinnings against him. If Pharaoh, by the terror of thundering and lighting, was so affrighted, that he saith to Moses, .Intreat the Lord, for it is enough, that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail.'! And if Caligula, out of the fear of thunder, would run under his bed to hide himself: How much more should we

hristians learn to fear and tremble before the most mighty

: Eph, iii, 5.

+ Isa. xxvi. 9, 11. Luke xiii. 5.

# Pæna paucorem terror omnium. & Exod. ix. 28.

God, whose voice only can shake the mountains, and rend the rocks, and divide the flames of fire* ; rends churches, amazeth, and strikes dead at his pleasure, the sons of men ? As the prophet David saith, • He doth whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and earth; he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth, and maketh lightnings for the rain, and bringeth the wind out of the treasures of the earth ; so unsearchable is his wisdom, and his ways past finding out. Therefore, this should awe and humble our hearts before the Lord, rising up unto more perfection in godliness, doing unto our God more and better service than ever hitherto we have done, reverencing and sanctisying his dreadful name in our hearts : especially when his judgments break in upon men, even in his own house, mingling their blood with their saerifices, and that, in a most terrible manner, smiting, and wounding, and killing, as, in this ensuing relation, may appear; which, for the suddenness and strangeness thereof, and, in a manner, miraculous, considering the

many circumstances, I believe few ages can parallel, or produce the like. The Lord teach thee to profit thereby, that it may be as a sermon preached to thee from heaven by the Lord himself,

Upon Sunday the twenty-first of October last, in the parish church of Wydecombe, near the Dartmoors, in Devonshire, there fell, in time of divine service, a strange darkness, increasing more and more, so that the people, there assembled, could not see to read in any book; and suddenly, in a fearful and lamentable manner, a mighty thundering was heard, the rattling whereof did answer much like unto the sound and report of many great cannons, and terrible strange lightning therewith, greatly amazing those that heard and saw it, the darkness increasing yet more, till they could not see one another; the extraordinary lightning came into the church so flaming, that the whole church was presently filled with fire and smoke, the smell whereof was very loathsome, much like unto the scent of brimstone ; some said, they saw, at first, a great fiery ball come in at the window, and pass through the church, which so affrighted the whole congregation, that the most part of them fell down into their seats, and some upon their knees, some on their faces, and some one upon another, with a great cry of burning and scalding, they all giving up themselves for dead, supposing the last judgment-day was come, and that they had been in the very flames of hell.

The minister of the parish, Master George Lyde, being in the pulpit, or seat where prayers are read, however he might be much astonished hereat, yet, through God's mercy, had no other harm at all in his body; but, to his much grief and amazement, beheld, afterward, the lamentable accidents : and, although himself was not touched, yet the lightning seized upon his poor wife, fired her ruff, and linnen next to her body, and her clothes, to the burning of many parts of her body, in a very pitiful manner. And one Mistress Ditford, sitting in the pew with the minister's wife, was also much scalded, but the maid and child, sitting at the pew-door, had no harm. Besides, another woman, ad. venturing to run out of the church, had her clothes set on fire, and was

* Psal. xxix,

not only strangely burnt and scorched, but had her flesh torn about her back almost to the very bones. Another woman had her flesh so torn, and her body so grievously burnt, that she died the same night.

Also one Master Hill, a gentleman of good account in the parish, sitting in his seat by the chancel, had his head suddenly smitten against the wall, through the violence whereof he died that night, no other hurt being found about his body; but his son sitting in the same seat had no harm. There was also one man more, at the same instant, of whom it is particularly related, who was warrener unto Sir Richard Reynolds, his head was cloven, his skull rent into three pieces, and his brains thrown upon the ground whole, and the hair of his head, through the violence of the blow at first given him, did stick fast unto the pillar or wall of the church, and in the place a deep bruise into the wall, as if it were shot against with a cannon-bullet.

Some other persons were then blasted and burnt, and so grievously scalded and wounded, that since that time they have died thereof, and many others not like to recover, notwithstanding all the means,

that can be procured, to help them. Some had their clothes burnt, and their bodies had no hurt; and some, on the contrary, had their bodies burnt, and their clothes not touched, and some their stockings and legs burnt and scalded, and their outward buskings not one thread singed. But it pleased God, yet, in the midst of judgment, to remember mercy, sparing some, and not destroying all, yet very many were sorely scalded in divers parts of their bodies; and, as all this hurt was done upon the bodies of men and women, so the hurt also that was then done unto the church was remarkable.

There were some seats, in the body of the church, turned upside down, and yet they which sat in them had little or no hurt; also a boy, sitting on his seat, had his hat on, and near the one half thereof was cut off, and he had no hurt. And one man, going out at the chanceldoor, a dog running out before him, was whirled about towards the door, and fell down stark dead ; at the sight wherecf he stepped back within the door, and God preserved him alive. Also, the church itself was much torn and defaced by the thunder and lightning; and thereby, also, a beam was burst in the midst, and fell down between the minister and clark, and hurt neither; and a weighty great stone, near the foundation of the church, is torn out and removed, and the steeple itself is much rent; and there, where the church was most rent, there was least hurt done to the people, and not any one was hurt either with the wood or stone, but a maid of Manaton, which came thither, that afternoon, to see some friends, whom Master Frynd, the coroner, by circumstances, supposed she was killed with a stone. There were also stones thrown from the tower, and carried about, a great distance from the church, as thick as if a hundred men had been there throwing, and a number of them, of such weight and bigness, that the strongest man cannot lift them. Also, one pinnacle of the tower was torn down, and broke through into the church.

Moreover, the pillar, against which the pulpit standeth, being but newly whited, is now, by this means, turned black and sulphury. Furthermore, one man that stood in the chancel, with his face toward the bellfry, observed, as it were, the rising of dust or lime, in the lower end of the church, which suddenly, as with a puff of wind, was whirled up, and cast into his eyes, so that he could not see in twelve hours after, but now his sight is restored, and he hath no other hurt. The terrible lightning being past, all the people being in wonderful amaze, so that they spake not one word, by and by one Master Ralph Rouse, vintner in the town, stood up, saying these words : • Neighbours, in the name of God, shall we venture out of the church? To which, Mr. Lyde answering, said, “It is best to make an end of prayers, for it were better to die here, than in another place. But they, Looking about them, and seeing the church so terribly rent and torn, durst not proceed in their publick devotions, but went forth of the church.

And as all this was done within the church, and unto the church, so there were other accidents without the church, of which I will give you a touch. There was a bowling-alley near unto the church-yard, which was turned up into pits and heaps, in manner almost as if it had been plowed. At the same time also, at Brickstone, near Plymouth, there fell such store of hail, and such hail-stones, that, for quantity, they were judged to be as big as ordinary turky-eggs; some of them were of five, some of six, and others of seven ounces weight.

We are also certainly informed, that, at the same time, as near as it can be guessed, there fell out the like accident unto the church at Norton, in Somersetshire, but as yet we hear of no persons hurt therein : Also it is related by a gentleman who travelled in those parts at that time, he being since come to London, that, where he was, the lightning was so terrible, fiery, and flaming, that they thought their houses, at every flash, were set on fire, insomuch that their horses in the stable were so affrighted that they could not rule them.

The Addition to the former Relation. THIS church of Wydecombe being a large and fair church newly trimmed, there belonging to it a very fair steeple or tower, with great and small pinnacles thereon, it being one of the famousest towers in all those western parts ; and there being gathered a great congregation, to the number, as is verily believed, of at least three hundred persons.

Master Lyde, with many others in the church, did see, presently after the darkness, as it were, a great ball of fire, and most terrible lightning, come in at the window, and therewithal, the roof of the church, in the lower part against the tower, to rend and gape

whereat he was so much amazed, that he fell down into his seat; and unspeakable are the mighty secret wonders the Lord wrought immediately, of which, because thou hast the general relation before, I will give thee this, as near as can be discovered, in the order and course thereof, which first began in the tower, and thence into the church; the power of that vehement and terrible blast struck in at the north side of the tower, tearing through a most strong stone wall into the stairs, which goes up round with stone steps to the top of the leads; and, being gotten in, struck against the other side of the wall, and, finding not way forth

wide open ;

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