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  1. A very cold spell is recorded by Gilbert White in his nature journal covering late February into March 1786. February that year started pretty average with some gales mid-month and it was not until the 21st that an East wind is mentioned. After 4 days of bitter conditions he notes that "ploughs are stopped by the frost" and "men cannot dig in the hop-gardens". A heavy snowfall arrives on the 27th and is described as about 7 inches deep - falling without drifting and lodged on the trees so it appears "very grotesque and picturesque". What happened next is the real surprise for our 'modern expectations'. The east wind gets up again and it becomes even colder so that the lying snow is now drifted "over hedges and gates". The first signs of any thawing are not seen until 10th March and even by 22nd March the lanes have "much snow still lying". Given this is Hampshire and not very far from the South coast it just goes to show how potent a late Winter spell could be back then.