Floods & Tempests
Robertsbridge has been
subjected to many trials and tribulations over the
centuries; in 1413, the year of King Henry Vs accession
many parts of England were struck by fierce storms.
It was reported that on September 8th of that year fierce
storms caused much devastation in Tewksbury, Norwich and
Robertsbridge when lightning struck and started great
fires. These storms were taken by some to be a portent of
Henry Vs reign - but these doubts were dispelled two years
later with his victory at the Battle of Agincourt!.
recently, on 16th October 1987, Britain
was battered by hurricane force winds of up to 80 mph –
it was the
strongest wind to hit the south-east of the country in
over 300 years. Because it occurred in the early hours of
the morning there were fewer casualties than might have
occurred later in the day but 19 people were killed.
was millions of pounds worth of damage to property and
hundreds of thousands of homes deprived of electricity –
the worst power failures since World War II. A late leaf
fall meant that trees offered more resistance to the winds
and heavy rains in the preceding weeks had loosened the
soil around the roots resulting in an estimated 15 million
trees being blown down.
was not spared – there was damage to property and trees
and many parts of the village were without electricity for
more than a week. It was to be many months before the
damage was repaired.
Lying as it does in a flood plain, Robertsbridge has
always suffered from flooding to some extent. Older residents
recall previous flooding experiences and
Mrs Fisher in her reminiscence
'Penny a Leg' recalls
flood water coming up into the High Street as far as the post
office and having to go to the station in a hand-cart because
Station Road was flooded.
Photo courtesy of
Rye & Battle Observer
the 1960s, river banks were raised as protection but on 12th
October 2000 these were overwhelmed by the worst flooding that the
village had ever experienced. Continuous heavy rain over the
previous 24 hours added to an already swollen river system and
many places including Lewes, Uckfield and Robertsbridge were badly
|| In Robertsbridge over 70 properties were flooded and
many residents were forced to leave their homes, some for many
months. More flooding, less severe, occurred on the 30th
Parish Council started a fund to help flood victims and raised
over £18,000. Working closely with District and County
and our local MP, the Government was lobbied to find a solution to
stop any reoccurrences. This finally paid off, a practical plan of
flood defences was drawn up, money allocated by the Government
and, on 4th September 2003, Elliot Morley, the then
Environment Minister, arrived in the village to launch the
construction of the scheme.
In less than 2 years a system of earth
bunds and moveable flood gates was installed which is calculated
to prevent flooding in a 1 in 100 year event – the same as in
October 2000 - and was finally completed in April 2004.
work on the flood defences starts
Construction of flood bund
The Chairman of East Sussex CC declares the flood defences