River Rye Great Flood

River Rye Great Flood Violets and Tea YorkshireThe great flood of the River Rye, Yorkshire, occurred on October 28th 1754. Described as a ‘sudden inundation’, the flood caused extensive damage to the village of Helmsley along with the loss of dwellings, businesses, livestock and a fair number of bridges that crossed over the river. It was on a scale that had ‘never been known by the oldest people in those parts’, while 13 people from Helmsley were known to have perished.

The kitchen garden walls and those of the park at the fine estate of Thomas Duncombe esq were recorded as being washed away. With extensive damage noted at Rievaulx and further away Thirsk as well.

A wonderful anecdote describes the remarkable survival tale of Mrs Holdfirth. Mrs Holdfirth had been confined to bed with illness at the time of the flood. The house, her husband and her children were all washed away. The following morning Mrs Holdfirth was found safe and sound, albeit a little bit shaken and very wet, half a mile downstream still in her bed having been washed away to safety along with it.

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