A flood in Bilbao, August 1651

October 25, 2008

This account of a flood in Bilbao is linked by the author to a certain ‘Romish’ procession due to take place that day. The elements turn iconoclasts.

From the ancient and famous town of Bilbo, by letters to severall London Marchants, it is certified, that there hath hapned a great inundation of waters; an exact Copy followeth:

Sir, On the 8 of this instant Aug. here hapned an accidence of very amazing consequence, & as sad an inundation as hath befel in any part of Europe these many years; the manner thus: It rained by fits almost 24 hours together, and very great were the showers; so that at the last, there came powring down the Mountains such a torrent of waters, that in 4 hours time the water was 16 foot high in our houses: insomuch that most of the goods in Cellars & Warehouses were utterly spoiled: the stream was of such a force, that it bare down many strong houses, and level’d them with the ground; & had it not bin for the great Church at the end of the bridg which did break the impetuosity of the fall, it had undoubtedly swept away the whole town. It has drown’d all our Mules, Hogs, sheep, and other cattel, fill’d our Iron Mines, over-turned our Mills, carryed away all our stores of Charcoal, broke down our Wharf, that there is no sign of it left, carryed away all our ships, Barks, and Lighters into the sea, dismantled whole Woods, that there is not so much as a shrub left, undermined the very graves, so as to give forth their dead, beat down the fowls in the air, yet hath not destroyed many persons that we can hear of. This place is totally undone, and of the sweetest place in Spain, is now become the noysomst in the world: we all gave our selves up for dead men, for we had no visible refuge: the Lord give us hearts to be living Monuments of his praise. It is to be observed, that this hapned on a day dedicated to a great Romish-supersticious Procession; but now the Images and Altars in the Churches are all demolished by the waters.



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