Ancient Merlin prophecy claims ‘England shall fall’ as River Thames freezes over

The River Thames has frozen over for the first time in 60 years as Britain suffers sub-zero temperatures, sparking fears that an ancient prophecy reportedly made by Merlin himself could come true

Brits have been experiencing cold weather since the last few days as temperatures plummet to -20C in some parts of the country.

Londoners are experiencing the cold snap with mercury plummeting to -2C as Storm Darcy – "The Beast of the East 2" – sweeps through the nation.

With the low temperatures, a section of the River Thames over at Teddington, south west London has frozen.

The rare occurrence has an eerie mention in Merlin's ancient prophecy written around 1,000 years ago.

The prophecy predicted the "Great Frost of 1709" – mentioning the River Thames freezing twice in that year, which astrologers believed could never happen due to Britain's climate, explains Jonathan Swift.

And after the famous river freezes over? "Old Inglonde shall fall", wrote the wizard.

However, despite sceptics the Thames has once again frozen over.

Between 1300 and 1850 Britain was in the grip of the 'Little Ice Age' and from the early 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century the Thames regularly froze over.

The ice covering the river was so thick it could support shops, pubs, fairground rides, blazing fires as well as tens of thousands of revellers – and even elephants could walk across it.

The first 'frost fair' as they were known was recorded in 1608 when the river iced up for six weeks. The last fair took place over 200 years later in 1814.

  • UK Weather: Met Office forecast blizzards and freezing rain after -23C 'extreme freeze'

The current extreme freeze means the UK experienced the coldest February night for 25 years.

In the capital and the South East, train services have been cancelled and roads left in treacherous conditions

On Thursday the rare sight of a frozen Thames was captured by a member of the local RNLI crew at around 10am.

A spokeswoman for the RNLI joked they might have to use a smaller boat to break the ice before rescue crews could take to the water.

She said: "It's not often the Thames freezes over in Teddington. We might have to use the D class [inflatable] lifeboat as an icebreaker.

"It's quite spectacular. I've lived here for 13 years and I've not seen this part of the river freeze like this."

The large section of frozen river is in the mouth of Teddington Lock on the non-tidal side, where the water flows slower than the rest of the adjoining Thames.

Even by Friday morning the ice had thawed slightly and was much thinner than Thursday..

The Thames has completely frozen over in the past, the last time being in January 1963 – the coldest winter for more than 200 years that brought blizzards, snow drifts and temperatures of -20C.

Even some parts of the sea froze over and it is believed to be the coldest winter since 1740.

This week temperatures in the capital are expected to stay around 0C and -1C but could feel as low as -5C due to the wind chill.

The Met Office said Wednesday evening was the coldest February night across the UK since February 23, 1955.

The mercury plunged to -23C on Wednesday night in the village of Braemar, Aberdeenshire, making it the coldest temperature recorded in the UK since 1995. ENDS(via Comet)

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