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Wold Cottage

Wold Cottage is an L6 chondrite that fell in the East Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom December 13th of 1795. This meteorite fell at a time when the occurence of rocks falling from the sky was still the subject of heated debate. In fact, though the Wold Cottage meteorite fall was witnessed by several people, and even fell on land owned by a well-known newspaper proprietor and major who collected the witnesses’ sworn testimonies, some skeptics persisted in their disbelief for years after the fall. The landowner, however, highly publicized the fall at Wold Cottage, erecting a monument at the location of the fall, and exhibiting the stone in Picadilly, where he charged a shilling to view the meteorite (Burke, 1986).

The publicity surrounding Wold Cottage as well as its scientific study, along with other recovered meteorites, by leading researchers of the day, lent weight to the emerging view that rocks could, and did fall from the sky (Pillinger & Pillinger, 1996). Sources that were initially suggested for meteorites included the ejection of stones from lunar volcanoes, and the formation of rocks in Earth’s atmosphere.  Although postulated before the Wold Cottage fall, the cosmic origin of these rocks was not accepted until much later, after the discovery of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter in the early 1800s, and the falls of the L'Aigle meteorites in 1803 and the Weston meteorite in 1807.

For more information on the Wold Cottage meteorite, please refer to:

Pillinger, C.T. and Pillinger, J.M. 1996. The Wold Cottage meteorite: Not just any ordinary chondrite. Meteoritics & Planetary Science. 31, 589-605.

Burke, J.G. 1986. Cosmic Debris: Meteorites in History. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. 441pp.