Either a meteoric or light phenomenon that came close to the ground. Maybe two different incidents observed in London and other parts of England.
Transcription of the annual register for 1765, London : printed for J. Dodsley, 1766, p. 135:
About nine at night, an
was seen in different parts of England,
under very different appearances.
At London it appeared over
the city; at first, a light was observed
on the gravel and paved walks
of the Temple, bright enough to
pick up a pin; then a globe of
ruddy fire as large as the full
moon a little after rising, was
seen descending from a great altitude
over Temple-bar, and taking
its course obliquely towards the
Thames, as if it would have fallen
therein; but, having just reached
the water, it shot itself into a
sheet of fire with one edge turned
towards the river, in the form of
a boy's kite, with head, wings,
and tail, appearing half as long,
and in one part twice as broad, as
Fleet-street. It fell, or vanished,
on the Southwark side of the water,
in a yellow fire.
At Chichester, in Sussex, it appeared
about the size of a man's
head; its course was rather undulating
from north west to south east,
in the form of a curve. At about
south west a part separated from
the rest, about the size of a man's
hand, and kept the same course
with the main body, and at a small
distance from it, till it came nearly
due south, when it burst into several
parts like stars, and disappeared.
For about a quarter of a minute it
was nearly as light as when the
sun shines. The whole was immediately
followed by a rumbling
noise, much like that made by a
coach driving hastily over the
stones, which lasted about a minute.
The atmosphere was all the while
At Portsmouth, it was observed
to come from the west, and was
thought to burst over the town.
The light was very pale; but the
explosion surpassed in noise the
loudest clap of thunder.
Just the Cases