According to English Wikipedia ("Black Monday (1360)"), a severe hail happened on Monday, April 13, 1360 when the army of Edward III was camped in an open field near Chartre. The article says that the death toll was 1000 people and 6000 horses. The reference they give is on a modern book which I have no access to.

Can anyone give a primary source(s) on this event?

According to this article, and another article "Hundred Years War" in English Wikipedia, this accident had a major influence on the course of the war: Edward decided that God is not on his side anymore, and promised to conclude a peace treaty. And the peace was concluded.

It is strange however that French Wikipedia does not mention this hail storm at all. Neither it is mentioned in the "List of costly or deadly hailstorms" in the English Wikipedia. And in general, the death toll looks absolutely incredible, when compared with the records of most severe hail storms.


Apparently a couple of the chronicles from the time are available online. From the contemporary French Chronicle of Jean Froissart:

... for an accident befell [Edward III] and all his army, who were then before Chartres, that much humbled him, and bent his courage.

During the time that the French commissioners were passing backwards and forwards from the king to his council, and unable to obtain any favourable answer to their offers, there happened such a storm and violent tempest of thunder and hail, which fell on the English army, that it seemed as if the world was come to an end. The hailstones were so large as to kill men and beasts, and the boldest were frightened.

The king turned himself towards the church of Our Lady at Chartres, and religiously vowed to the Virgin, as he has since confessed, that he would accept of terms of peace. He was at this time lodged in a small village, near Charters, called Bretigny; and there were then committed to writing, certain rules and ordinances for peace, upon which the following articles were drawn out.

And from the late-15th-century Chronicle of London:

This same year, that is for to say the year of our lord 1360, the 14th day of April then being the morrow after Easter day, king Edward with his host lay about Paris; which day was a foul dark day of mist and hail, and so bitter cold that many men died for cold: wherefore unto this day men call it black Monday.

So obviously something happened that day; but the estimate of 1000 men dead is not clear from the primary sources.

  • 1
    Thanks for the references. The death toll stated in Wikipedia seems absolutely incredible, and I am trying to locate the source of this nonsense.
    – Alex
    Feb 23 '16 at 0:35
  • 1
    A thousand dead from a hailstorm does seem incredible, but I would rationalize that the death toll could have been more related to being wet and cold (read: hypothermia) than blunt-force trauma. Or at least, if there was blunt-force trauma involved in some cases, it was more likely from spooked horses than from hailstones. Jul 9 '18 at 3:07

These figures are stated in:

Joshua BARNES. 1688. The History of that Most Victorious Monarch Edward III, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland and First Founder of the Most Noble Order of the Garter: Being a Full and Exact Account of the Life and Death of the said King, Together with That of his Most renowned Son Edward, Prince of Wales and of Aquitain, sirnamed the Black Prince, Faithfully and carefully Collected from the Best and most Antient Authors Domestick and Foreign, Printed Books, Manuscripts and Records. Book III. Chapter VI. Page 583. John HAYES. Cambridge, England.

A number of sources for this story are quoted on that page, especially Froissart.

  • 1
    Thanks. Is it available online? Or perhaps you can cite what he says?
    – Alex
    Nov 18 '17 at 19:48

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