The Great Flood of 1841

On 29 January 1841 several villages on Salisbury Plain were inundated by flood water including Chitterne where two houses were entirely swept away and two more were partially lost.

The cause was a tremendous rainstorm which fell on frozen ground after a period of hard frost and snow. The ground had not thawed enough for the rainwater to be absorbed so the water ran into already swollen rivers and streams. Small streams like the Chitterne Brook became raging torrents and burst their banks, sweeping bridges away as more water water was added every mile.

Shrewton fared worse than Chitterne, 3 lives were lost and 36 houses rendered uninhabitable, Winterbourne Stoke lost 30 houses and Tilshead 7, in Wylye one life was lost. If the flood had occurred at night the number of casualties would have been higher.

Many farmers lost stock and those who had economised on their insurance and not insured their stock and premises for the full value rued that day.

Back to History