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.


2 Answers 2


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 (p. 64, translated to modern spelling):

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
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 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. Commented Jul 9, 2018 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.

The pertinent passage is in Chapter VI of Book III (p. 583), and reads as follows:

But sure∣ly the Occasion which wholly brought him over was very remarkable, if not miracu∣lous; for presently upon these Words, while yet the King was inexorable, and refus'd to give the French Commissioners any agreeable Answer, there fell from Heaven such a wonderfull Storm and Tempest of Thunder, Lightning, Rain and Hail among the English Army, that it seem'd as if the whole Fabrick of Nature was falling to pieces; and withall it was so excessive Cold at the same time, that it cannot be imagin'd; so that together with all these Arrows of Gods Anger, there perished no less than 6000 Horses, and well-nigh a 1000 Men, among whom were several Persons of Quality. ... The boldest Heart of all these Valiant Souldiers trembled at the apprehension of this Dreadfull Judgment: But King Edward like a Good and Pious Prince, look'd upon it as a loud Declaration of the Divine Plea∣sure: Wherefore immediately alighting from his Horse, he kneeled down on the ground, and casting his Eyes toward the Church of our Lady of Chartres, made a solemn Vow to Almighty God, That he would now sincerely and absolutely incline his Mind to a final Peace with France, if he might obtain good Conditions; at which time also he made a Devout Confession of his sins, and so took up his Lodging in a Village near Chartres called Bretigny, where the French Commissioners being come the next day with more ample Instructions, the King was content to accept of Peace.

A number of sources for this story are quoted on that page, especially Froissart. The text of the citation is

Frois. c. 211. f. 105. Du Ches. p. 684. Mezeray p. 59. Walsing. hist. p. 167. n. 30 Knighton p. 2624. n. 10. M.S. vet. Angl. in Bibl. C.C.C. Cantab. c. 230. Ashmole p. 660. Jacob. Meyer Annal. Flandr. l. 13 p. 184. & Odor. Rainal. & omnes.

  • 1
    Thanks. Is it available online? Or perhaps you can cite what he says?
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:48

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