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Moray Floods - Silver Medal for Courage 1829.
Handsome piece. 40 mm diameter.
Obverse - Flood scene surrounded by laurel leaves.
Reverse - “Presented by the Central Committee for the Flood Fund to Alexander Riach
Rothes, as an Honorary Reward for his courage and humanity shown at the Great Flood. August 4th 1829”.
Reverse has been neatly converted for brooch wear.
Rare (NEF) £455
The silver medallion with the inscription “Presented by the Central Committee for the Flood Fund to George Munro, Findhorn, as an Honorary Reward for his Courage and Humanity shewn at the Great Flood August 4th 1829” was sold in Warwick and Warwick’s 14th February 2007 public auction sale.
The ‘Muckle Spate’ (literally large flood), on 4th August 1829, was the most extreme flood recorded in Scottish history and extended from Inverness in the north, to Montrose on the east coast. Its impact was severe with devastation to agriculture and small towns widespread and extensive. Fatalities were few, but the loss of housing and livelihoods were so severe (equivalent to £2.04 million in 2001) that a national emergency fund was created to provide relief. The River Findhorn, which flows out of the Monadliath Mountains northeastwards to the Moray Firth, was one of the rivers most severely affected and the flood was the subject of a very detailed account by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, a local landowner.
The rainfall that
caused the floods was described as being of, "extraordinary intensity"
and "the total volume of water concerned in the floods was enormous.”
Rain began to fall on the 2nd of August and continued until the 4th and
was combined with a northeast wind. The River Findhorn filled the
valley, 200 yards wide to a level of 50 feet above the normal height of
the water and, in spite of the sparse population, in flooded areas the
damage was very great. "The inundation covered a space of something
more than 20 square miles in the Plain of Forres. Sweeping the eye
round from Moy to Kincorth, Binsness, Findhorn, Kinloss to Forres and
the Cluny Hills, the space within that circle was an entire sheet of
water with a trifling patch of green or yellow ground”.
The Committee for the Flood Fund felt that the crews of the boats should be rewarded for their courage and humanity and that instead of a present in money which would soon be spent and forgotten, “a preferable method of remuneration for their services would be an Honorary Reward, a Silver Medal to each man, with his name and services engraved on it, which, with an honest pride, on festive or solemn occasions, could be displayed by himself and his descendants as a proof of his merit and of the public approbation”.
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