I was having a squizz at that little book The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys I grabbed at the library. Tres edjamacational so here's the 411:
Years the Thames froze solid as a rock in AMTs timeline, tho I'm not sure which winter actually as it doesn't say; yknow, like was it the winter of 1514-1515 or the winter of 1515-1516? as it just says 1515, for example:
1142 - this is how Matilda was able to make her famous escape dressed in white (the snowstorm of course helped) from Oxford so Go Team Thames!
1205 - wondering what John was up to (too lazy to look all this stuff up so feel free to jump in if ya knows)
1269 - wondering if Edward I was still on Crusade & missed it
1282 - wondering if Welsh or Scots were being hammered & he missed it again; this one the ice floes crashed into London Bridge & knocked several of the supports out so wouldja lookit that....London Bridge is falling down! Betcha that's the source of the nursery rhyme.
1309 - wondering if Edward II was getting busy with Gaveston & paid no attn LOL
1363 - wondering ditto as regards Edward III & Alice Perrers; this is apparently the occasion of the 1st documented "Frost Fair" where peeps set up shop on the river (I'll link to a pic I found of a Stuart period one below)
1408 - wondering if Henry IVs leprosy was bad frostbite LOL as apparently twas so wicked cold birds were just falling dead from the sky & whacking peeps in the head
1434 - wondering if that neverending expanse of glistening white ice drove Henry VI round the bend
1506 - wondering if Henry VII preferred the sparkle of his coin; this tale was about the "swetynge sycknesse" which methinks be a tad off as I've never heard of winter outbreaks of such, have you?
1515 - wondering if Catherine of Aragon was all sighing & saying "Me for the Alhambra, tis muy grande cold here in merrie olde England" LOL; if twas 1515-1516 & not 1514-1515 (which I'd really like to know these things) then mayhap this was how she kept Mary in, the poor tyke was frozen in utero LOL
1536 - Henry used to ride his sleigh to Greenwich so OMG it must have been REALLY frozen because Henry was getting fat by then LOL; that was the story for this un so I know this un was 1535-1536 as there was common folk speculation about him getting rid of Anne Boleyn; ain't that just sadder than ever now that ya know that, with the poor woman having such a miserable winter & then as soon as spring came twas "off wth her head"?
1565 - Elizabeth actually had archery butts set up on the river & strolled out to play in it; how come we never see fun Tudory stuff like this in novels or movies?
1608 - wondering if this is what made Arbella Stuart so dizzy LOL; I really liked this story the best of them all because it was about how Bess of Hardwick's fortuneteller told her if she ever stopped building she would die & she was puttering at Hardwick Hall but it was so bloody cold one could not keep the mortar from freezing & so she could not build & got sick & had a terminal case of nobuilditis
1621 - wondering if the common folk was eyeing the Stuarts suspiciouslike & muttering about bad omens
1635 - wondering ditto
1649 - this one I can tell is 1648-1649 because of Charles Is execution being in January & the little short story was about how deuced hard it was to pole his corpse down the river to Windsor; didja know the Parliamentarians wanted to stick his head up on London Bridge like the rest of the traitors BTW but at the last minute Old Noll said naaah bad idea peeps is ticked off enough as tis?
1655 - wondering if the Puritans allowed ice skating them killjoys
1662 - Charles II was a clever peep because he apparently insituted a "Hearth Tax" whereby peeps were charged 2 shillings for every fireplace they had in their house & it was so cold ya just know peeps were putting in new ones & some suckup courtier nudged him & went "Yknow Charlie, there's a groat or two to made off this fad" LOL
1666 - by the story I'm thinking this is 1665-1666 because tis about the plague but again, wasn't that a warmer weather kinda illness? I did enjoy the part where the enterprising children lowered a noose out the upstairs window & hung the plague guard so they could escape LOL
1677 - wondering if peeps were REALLY muttering suspiciouslike against the bad omen Stuarts now, tho mayhap not as they were making money hand over fist if they were enterprising enough to have a Frost Fair bidness; even Charles II got rooked into buying a souvenir paper from a clever printer who lugged out his press & ran off cards with peeps' names added onto em what said twas procured ON THE ICE with the date & such, charging sixpence a customer, twas said the guy made 5 pounds a DAY at this whilst it lasted which was mondo bucks in those days
1684 - wondering if Charles II was so sick of this nonsense (4th time in his reign alone) that he took sick & died of it (because he did LOL in January tho not on the same day as Pops methinks); this one is definitely 1683-1684 due to pinpointing his demise
1689 - I reckon that revolution didn't seem so Glorious to the boatmen who didn't have any work because there was no water & peeps could just walk across; now me, I'd be afeared I'd be smack over the deepest part of the river & the ice would fall out from under me but apparently twas considered good fun
1691 - wondering when the English are going to invent REAL ice skates after all these freezes because my weren't there a LOT in the 17th century?
1695 - wondering ditto
1709 - wondering if one was scheduled to be hanged at Tyburn if one could get there afore freezing to death; hey Will let's play Race to the Hangman LOL
1716 - this story amused me because at the Frost Fair some enterprising peeps set up a tent called "Rhiming the Hard Frost" (please tell me you are as amused with that play on words as my good self) & peeps would give a line & the woman would rhyme it while her husband wrote the couplet down & then it would get an official the Thames froze & all I got was this lousy poem certification for a few pence & after a few days the woman was going stark raving mad trying to think of stuff what rhymed with ICE LOL
1740 - twas so cold all over that this was the year Empress Anne of Russia had a REAL Ice Palace constructed (honest, with furniture even ) & the English peeps were mighty unfussed because it kept freezing & thawing & freezing & thawing & there were giant icebergs & o my London Bridge be not happy again this year
There were a few more till the last time in the 1800s; in 1789 some rocket scientist anchored a ship to a tavern for fun & profit & boy were they sorry when a sudden thaw came in the middle of the night & the ship set sail & took the tavern & all those shiny groats they made (as well as themselves) into the frozen deep. During the course of the last Frost Fair in 1814 someone took an ELEPHANT across
I'm thinking the 1600s were like a mini Ice Age with all the freezing it did then. There was actually said to have been one between 1400ish & 1900ish, which kinda falls in with this book's charting of the river freezes.
I did a bit of web-poking & found there's an frieze on Southwark Bridge with an ode to the frozen Thames on it:
Behold the Liquid Thames frozen o’re,
That lately Ships of mighty Burthen bore
The Watermen for want of Rowing Boats
Make use of Booths to get their Pence & Groats
Here you may see beef roasted on the spit
And for your money you may taste a bit
There you may print your name, tho cannot write
Cause num'd with cold: tis done with great delight
And lay it by that ages yet to come
May see what things upon the ice were done
That's the engraving I found of the Stuart Frost Fair that was going on when Charles II shucked off his mortal coil, it was the worstest winter EVER in England as far as temps went (well since they began recording such data, anyway, who's to say what went in in the year 666 LOL?)....click it if it opens small for ya & scroll down to the bottom for the IDs of what's happening & who's who. Even the royals got groats outta this as the 1st thing on the list is the Duke of York's (James II) coffeehouse LOL I just thunk this was a cool primary doc kinda thing, as was this eyewitness description of what happened that year:
On the 20th of December, 1683, a very violent frost began, which lasted to the 6th of February, in so great extremity, that the pools were frozen 18 inches thick at least, and the Thames was so frozen that a great street from the Temple to Southwark was built with shops, and all manner of things sold. Hackney coaches plied there as in the streets. There were also bull-baiting, and a great many shows and tricks to be seen. This day the frost broke up. In the morning I saw a coach and six horses driven from Whitehall almost to the bridge (London Bridge) yet by three o'clock that day, February the 6th, next to Southwark the ice was gone, so as boats did row to and fro, and the next day all the frost was gone. On Candlemas Day I went to Croydon market, and led my horse over the ice to the Horseferry from Westminster to Lambeth; as I came back I led him from Lambeth upon the middle of the Thames to Whitefriars' stairs, and so led him up by them. And this day an ox was roasted whole, over against Whitehall. King Charles and the Queen ate part of it.
Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs too and fro, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tipling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.
Here's a 1677 painting of how it looked:
Yes Greens be easily amused with weird subjects LOL There's several full-length books on the subject listed at Amazon with much better details than this clever little piece of fiction. Why don't I get these marketing brainfarts? LOL It do be a subject that makes ya go hmmmm & want to look for more stuff on it (OK so I'm weird, deal with it).
Here's a brainstrainer for you peeps....
WHY hasn't it ever frozen solid since, hmmm? (think both scientifically & engineeringly)
Post your guesses & I'll tell you if your brain strained enough to get it right. Mr Google not allowed LOL be creative.
O & completely OT but scroll allllll the way down to the bottom....I found our old catapult