23rd October 1839

Earthquakes hit Comrie

Comrie had already been the site of many earthquakes over the years. Then, in 1839, the big one struck. It was felt across most of Scotland and parts of northern England. Several Comrie houses came off worse for wear, but the most significant damage was to a dam in Stirling, which was compromised by the tremor and broke the following morning.

The 200-acre reservoir of which the dam formed a part was only four years old and had been constructed to provide a constant water supply for local industry. “The embankment being ruptured, the efflux of its waters, like an impetuous mountain torrent, irresistibly swept off everything which opposed its course,” wrote The Pilot of 1 November 1839. “The inundation covers hundreds of acres, which have been cleared of any outstanding crops. The river Carron, as it passes near this, was literally dense with turnips, hay &c. Some livestock, we learn, were found swimming in the torrent.”

Shocks felt

Fortunately, nobody was killed by the flood water. The London Evening Standard of 29 October 1839 carried reports from several Scottish correspondents, including one in Alloa who noted that “two very smart shocks were felt here… [the first] indicated its approach in a loud noise, something like distant thunder, but much more awful and alarming. Many people felt their beds considerably agitated, and furniture of all kinds, especially crockery and clock work (the weights) shook violently. House bells in some places were set a-ringing, and some people were so terrified as to run to the streets.”

The Morning Advertiser, also of 29 October, revealed that church ministers held a meeting after the tremor and considered it to be “a document that God is angry against the land, and against this city [Aberdeen] in particular for the manifold sins of the people.” They ordained that all the residents should fast the following day and visit church to promise that they would resist sin. In particular, the ministers were concerned that people were salmon fishing on Sundays



Other events that occured in October

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