Copyright - M.Bandli - Historic Meteorites
Collection No. B217.2 - a 7.4 gram partial slice with fusion crust. In 1990, Dr. Jim Schwade exchanged a large sample of the Caddo County iron for a 69.32 gram thick, triangular part-slice of Wold Cottage from the British Museum (BM #1073). This specimen was cut from that piece.
So much has been (well) written on this historic fall that we will simply refer the reader to a Google search. We will, however, leave you with a long passage from Edward King's 1796 book "Remarks Concerning Stones Said to Have Fallen from the Clouds, Both in these Days, and in Ancient Times," where King contemplates a strange occurance and relates it to others:
"To what has been said, therefore, concerning the fall of stones in Tuscany, and concerning these strange showers of hail, in France, and in England, it might perhaps too justly be deemed an unwarrantable omission, on this occasion, not to mention the very strange fact that is affirmed to have happened the last year, near the Wold Cottage in Yorkshire.
I leave the fact to rest on the support of the testimonies referred to in the printed paper, which is in so many persons' hands; and that is given to those who have the curiosity to examine the stone itself, now exhibiting in London; and shall only relate the substance of the account shortly, as it is given to us.
In the afternoon of the 13th of December, 1795, near the Wold Cottage, noises were heard in the air, by various persons, like the report of a pistol; or of guns at a distance at sea; though there was neither any thunder or lightning at the time: two distinct concussions of the earth were said to be perceived and an hissing noise was also affirmed to be heard by other persons as of something passing through the air; and a labouring man plainly saw (as we are told) that something was so passing and beheld a stone as it seemed at last (about ten yards, or thirty feet, distant from the ground) descending, and striking into the ground which flew up all about him and in falling, sparks of fire, seemed to fly from it.
Afterwards he went to the place, in company with others, who had witnessed part of the phenomena, and dug the stone up from the place, where it was buried about twenty one inches deep.
It smelt, as it is said, very strongly of sulphur, when it was dug up: and was even warm, and smoked: it was found to be thirty inches in length, and twenty eight and a half inches in breadth. And it weighed fifty six pounds.
Such is the account. I affirm nothing. Neither do I pretend either absolutely to believe: or to disbelieve. I have not an opportunity to examine the whole of the evidence But it may be examined and so I leave it to be This, however, I will say that first I saw a fragment of this stone, which had come into the hands of Sir Charles Blagden, from the Duke of Leeds, and afterwards, I saw the stone itself: That it plainly had a dark black crust with several concave impressions on the outside which must have been made before it was quite hardened, just like what is related concerning the crusts of those stones that fell in Italy -That its substance was not properly of a granite kind as described in the printed paper but a sort of grit stone composed somewhat like the stones said to have fallen in Italy of sand and ashes - That it contained very many particles obviously of the appearance of gold and silver and iron or rather more truly of pyrites - That there were also several small rusty specks probably from decomposed pyrites and some striated marks that it does not effervesce with acids and that as far as I have ever seen or known or have been able to obtain any information no such stone has ever been found before this time in Yorkshire or in any part of England. Nor can I easily conceive that such a species of stone could be formed by art to impose upon the public.
Whether, therefore, it might, or might not possibly be the effect of ashes flung out from Heckla, and wafted to England; like those flung out from Vesuvius, and (as I am disposed to believe) wafted to Tuscany I have nothing to affirm."
Above: The original Gentlemen's Magazine from 1797, where Topham's Woodcut of the main mass was published for the first time.
Above: Monument meets stone. A 200+ year old brick fragment and piece of the original Wold Cottage monument erected by Captain Edward Topham in 1799. Fragment was removed in 1999 as part of the monument's restoration and taken with permission. Ex. Rob Elliott Collection.
Above: a photo card showing the main mass as it appeared in 1922. The card is part of a five card set that was issued by the British Museum in 1922.
Above: Copy of the original British Museum label showing the mass this piece was cut from.
Above: Meteorite Beer?! Label reads: "Named After the Wold Cottage Meteorite which fell on the Yorkshire Wolds in 1795 & now stands in the Natural History Museum. Using natural chalk filtered water from our own well, local grown Maris Otter malt & North Down hops to produce a well balanced rounded bitter... grown on the wolds, brewed on the wolds, drunk anywhere..."
Above: The Wold Cottage Monument as it looks today. Thanks to Martin Goff of MSG Meteories for letting us use this amazing photo! Click photo to go to his site. The plaque reads:
On this Spot, Decr. 13th, 1795
Fell from the Atmosphere
AN EXTRAORDINARY STONE
In Breadth 28 inches
In Length 36 inches
Who e Weight was 56 pounds.