From the Ensisheim Woodcut (credit: Sebastian Bran)

For the purposes of this treatment, I consider pre-scientific falls to be those which took place before 1700. There aren’t too many of them, and very little material remains.

However, there are still several accounts by witnesses, and stories attached to them. The Ensisheim fall (1492), for instance, influenced a decision to go to war, was credited for the victory, and persuaded a Prince to order the meteorite chained to the rafters of a church in order to prevent it deciding to fly off again (!)

The Jalandhar fall, in India in 1621, was presented to the Jahangir, who ordered it to be made into two swords, a dagger and a knife.

The Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, contains the famous Black Rock, which followers believe is a meteorite and which represents the union of heaven and earth.

But these unearthly visitors were not confined to exotic and far-flung places. As close to home as Hatford (about 8 miles from Oxford) in England, in 1628, we have an account of a fall which a witness took to represent “the feareful handyworke of God“.