Black Monday Hail Storm
On so-called "Black Monday" in 1360, a hail storm kills an estimated 1,000 English soldiers in Chartres, France.
The storm and the devastation it caused also played a part in the Hundred Years' War between England and France.
The Hundred Years' War began in 1337; by 1359, King Edward III of England was actively attempting to conquer France. In October, he took a massive force across the English Channel to Calais. The French refused to engage in direct fights and stayed behind protective walls throughout the winter, while Edward pillaged the countryside.
In April 1360, Edward's forces burned the Paris suburbs and began to move toward Chartres. While they were camped outside the town, a sudden storm materialized. Lightning struck, killing several people, and hailstones began pelting the soldiers, scattering the horses. One described it as "a foul day, full of myst and hayle, so that men dyed on horseback [sic]." Two of the English leaders were killed and panic set in among the troops, who had no shelter from the storm.
The heavy losses suffered by the English were seen by many as a sign from God. King Edward was convinced to negotiate peace with the French.
On the 13th April, the so called 'Black Monday', the English army suffers from a severe hailstorm while camped outside Chartres. This is taken as a sign of divine displeasure and Edward agrees to negotiate. In the resulting Peace of Bretigny; Edward III agrees to relinquish his claim to the French throne in return for recognition of his sovereignty over Aquitaine and Calais and ends up with around a third of France. John II is finally released from captivity in December. Edward III announces the creation of the Sovereign Principality of Aquitaine to be ruled by his son, Edward better known as the 'Black Prince'.
While camped on the approach to Chartres the English army is devastated by a storm of immense hail and freezing rain. Yielding to the wrath of heaven (and the advice of the Duke of Lancaster) Edward agrees to negotiate a peace.
The army of Edward III during the Hundred Years' War was struck by hailstorms, lightning and panic, causing considerable loss of life on Easter Monday.