Earthquake of 17th December, 1896


Twenty-first Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda

Trans. Devon Assoc., vol. XXXI, (1899), pp. 58-67.


J. Brooking Rowe F.S.A, F.L.S.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The report was read at the Association’s August 1899 Torrington meeting. According to the report’s author; “The shock, which took place about half-past five in the morning of the 17th December, 1896, from its unmistakable effects and extent, has probably never been surpassed, at all events in modern times, in this country”. From historical evidence, supported by sketch-maps marking approximate boundaries of present and previous seismic disturbances, it is conjectured that this shock was one of a series which can be traced for 600 years. The initial shock of December 17th was felt at Hereford at 5.32 a.m., and from that centre it travelled at the rate of thirty miles a minute. It was widespread over the Midlands and the West of England. The report, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Compton, Lady Alwyne (Ely)66
Crabb, Mr Thomas (Burngullow)64
Croft, Mr W.C. (Bere Ferrers)64
Fry, Sir Edward (Bristol)67
Greenway, E.M. (Moretonhampstead)67
Hicks, Miss Frances, (Padstow)65
Hicks, Mr Joseph, JP. (Padstow)65
Inskip, Captain (Plymouth)64
Pease, Mr John L. (Lostwithiel)65
Phillips, Rev W.J. Leigh (Tavistock)63
Sanders, Rev J.C.B. (Manaton)62
Sellick, Mr James (Plympton St Maurice)64
Sidgreaves, Father (Stonyhurst)60
Smith, Canon Sydney (Hereford)67
Symes, Mr (Honiton)62
Wilson, Canon E Hilary, OSB, (Hereford)65
Woodward, Mr T.B. (Tewkesbury)67