A Major Weather Disaster Hits England and the News *
One November evening, a major storm hits England with winds gusting to 140 mph. Tiles are ripped off the roofs and houses are stripped bare. 2,000 chimneys collapse killing residents while they scramble out of bed. 4,000 oak trees are knocked flat in south-east England alone. Many ships are sunk with all hands or set adrift hundreds of miles off course. This is a major weather event and it becomes the first national news story on the weather... ever. After "The Great Storm" there are not enough building materials to restore houses to livable condition before winter sets in. The price for building materials skyrockets but all the tile production into next next summer will not finish the task at any price. Wood shingles become the norm. The author, Daniel Defoe, calls it an act of God and chastises those who do not believe in God's punishment. Many preachers agree. It is difficult to tally the dead with so many washed away or lost at sea, but the count could be as high as 15,000. That is not counting those who will die because they must spend a winter in a home open to the sky.       
The Founder of the Methodist Movement is Born
John Wesley is born in Epworth, Lincolnshire. He is the 15th child born to his mother, Susanna, and his father Samuel, the local rector. He will be raised as a strict Anglican, learning Greek, and Latin and memorizing passages of the New Testament. As a child he will be pulled from the flames as his home catches fire. This will be a turning point for him, like "a brand plucked out of the fire." John and his brother Charles (yet unborn) and George Whitefield (also yet unborn), will found the Methodist movement within the Anglican Church. It is a movement of renewal, following strictly the Common Book of Prayer. In fact, they follow the book so closely that they get the nickname of "Methodist" and the name sticks. It is going to be a wild ride for the Methodists, but by the time of John Wesley's passing, he will be known as "the best loved man in England," and his followers will number well over 100,000 on both sides of the Atlantic.   
The Foundations of St. Petersburg
As the story goes, Peter the Great was exploring the coast along the Neva delta and he landed at Hare Island. As he looked up he saw an eagle which was the symbol of Russia. It was there that he set the foundations for Peter Paul Fortress. He had a vision of a future Saint Petersburg and he built the city exactly to that vision.  
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1703, Wikipedia.
- Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “Eddystone Lighthouse destroyed by storm”
- Great Storm of 1703 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The Great Storm of 1703 was a destructive extratropical cyclone that struck central and southern England on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar), 1703. High winds caused 2,000 chimney stacks to collapse in London, and winds damaged New Forest, which lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time.”
- Derham, William. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/102921 "A Letter for the Reverend Mr William Derham, F. R. S. Containing His Observations concerning the Late Storm"]. Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775) (Royal Society) 24 (1704 - 1705): 1530-1534. http://www.jstor.org/stable/102921. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Defoe, Daniel (1704). The Storm.
- A history of great British storms. The Guardian (10 March 2008). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The 'Great Storm' hit southern Britain on the night of November 26 1703. By the next morning, between 8,000 and 15,000 people were dead, many of them on ships sunk at sea. Church spires were destroyed, tiles and chimney stacks covered the streets, and more than 400 windmills were broken.”
- SHIPPING LOSSES DURING GREAT STORM OF 1703. coflein.gov.uk (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The Great Storm of 1703 (27 November 1703) caught a convoy of 130 merchant ships and their Man of War escorts DOLPHIN, CUMBERLAND, COVENTRY, LOOE, HASTINGS and HECTOR sheltering inside Milford Haven (see NPRN 272959). The storm reached its height at around 3am in the morning. [...] The losses by 3pm in the afternoon totalled some 30 vessels, with 3 missing.”
- New Forest - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “The common rights were confirmed by statute in 1698. The New Forest became a source of timber for the Royal Navy, and plantations were created in the 18th century for this purpose. In the Great Storm of 1703, about 4000 oak trees were lost.”
- Three sheets in the wind (to the wind) - Idioms. idioms.thefreedictionary.com (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “Inf. intoxicated and unsteady. (Sheets are the ropes used to manage a ship's sails. It is assumed that if these ropes were blowing in the wind, the ship would be out of control.) He had gotten three sheets to the wind and didn't pay attention to my warning. By midnight, he was three sheets.”
- Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “John Wesley, founder of Methodism, b. (d. 1791)”
- John Wesley - The Calvinist. Drury Writing (October 24, 2005). Retrieved on 26 April 2015. “In summary, John Wesley is often misunderstood by those who are his most severe critics and by those who claim to be his theological heirs. However, in today's theological world Wesley can seem to be closer to the Reformed tradition than the very theological tradition that bears his name!”
- John & Charles Wesley: Renewers of the Church. satucket.com (3 March 1791). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “Of the two, John was the more powerful preacher, and averaged 8000 miles of travel a year, mostly on horseback. At the time of his death he was probably the best known and best loved man in England.”
- Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 322-323. “Peter the Great lays foundations of St. Petersburg”
- History of St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great. saint-petersburg.com (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2016. “It is difficult to overestimate the influence of Peter the Great on the founding and formation of St. Petersburg. To begin with, Peter himself chose the site of the new city, laying the foundation stone for the Peter Paul Fortress and the city at its walls in May 1703.”
- Dmitry Shvidkovsky (2005). "The Founding of Saint Petersburg and the History of Russian Architecture". Studies in the History of Art (National Gallery of Art) 66: 78-97. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42622378. Retrieved June 1, 2016.