Bere Regis Village, Dorset
 
Bere Regis Village
Bere Regis Village Website Bere Regis Village website

Bere Regis Fires

Bere   Regis   has   suffered   badly   from   fires   on   several   occasions,   the   worst   ones   being   in   1633,   1717   and   1788.   Until   the   beginning   of   this   century almost   all   the   cottages   in   the   village   were   thatched,   and   as   they   were   closely   grouped,   particularly   in   West   Street,   the   fire   risk was   high   in   the   summer   when   the   most   serious   fires   seem   to   have   occurred.   These   fires,   together   with   many   more   minor   and unrecorded   ones   have   had   a   lasting   effect   on   the   appearance   of   the   village,   and   account   for   the   lack   of   any   really   old   buildings, apart from the church, and for the gaps which are still apparent between the cottages in West Street. 1486 The   wonderful   and   spectacular   roof   in   Bere   church   was   a   replacement   after   a   terrible   fire   in   1486.   When   the   church   was   restored   in   1874/5   the architects   found   "calcined"   remains   at   the   top   of   various   walls   where   a   severe   fire   had   taken   place.   Cardinal   Morton,   originally   from   the   parish,   is reputed to have funded the new roof and other repairs. 29th August 1633 There   is   a   report   of   a   fire   at   Bere   on   29th   August   1633,   when   the   village   "burned   to   the   ground"   and   it   was   said   that   "£20,000   of   corn   was   lost". Both   those   statements   seem   to   have   been   enormous   exaggerations   as   when   converted   to   today’s   money   the   £20,000   would   now   be   £14m.   The Fire   was   recorded   in   the   diary   of   William   Whiteway   of   Dorchester.   "1633, Aug   29.   This   day   the   town   of   Bere   Regis   was   burnt,   the   most   part   of   it   to the   ground,   with   great   quantity   of   corn.   The   loss   is   valued   at   20,000   pounds.   The   country   sent   them   about   £500   speedily   to   relieve   their   present want. Dorchester sent them in about £40."  Summer 1634 Another   summer-time   fire   at   Bere   apparently   began   at   the   bakery   and   burned   "both   sides   of   the   street",   although   the   precise   extent   of   the   damage was   not   recorded   for   posterity.   An   order   of   sessions   passed   that   the   town   of   Bere   Regis,   "Lately   consumed   by   fire,"   should   receive   £50   from   the county   stock,   the   loss   due   to   the   fire   being   assessed   at   £7,000. A   contemporary   report   also   stated   that,   "there   was   a   fier   in   Bere   Regis   in   1634,   that distressed the inhabitants so that they sent a petishen to the King."   18th January 1644 At   the   height   of   the   Civil   Wars   locally,   parliamentary   forces   set   fire   to   John   Turberville's   Manor   House   at   Court   Green   on   18   January   1644.   It remained in a damaged state for some time, but the rebuilding was completed in 1648 with a carved stone, now lost, commemorating the effort.   Summer 1717 A record of a fire that destroyed "14 houses" exists for the year of 1717, probably in the summer months as was usual for these events.   1723 According   to   the   Gould   Family   Note   Book,   kept   by   family   members   living   on   Woodbury   Hill,   there   was   a   fire   which   "burned   ten   houses   on Woodbury Hill" in that year.   21st June 1767 There is a brief record of a fire at Bere on 21st June, which was described as "serious".   4th June 1788 What   became   known   as   "the   Great   Fire   of   Bere"   began   at   about   1230am   on   4th   June   1788   at   a   pub   called   The   Crown   situated   between   what   is now   No.88   and   No.89   West   Street.   The   prevailing   westerly   breeze   carried   the   destruction   to   the   vicarage   and   right   into   the   "heart   of   the   village". Forty   houses   plus   barns   and   outbuildings   were   lost   and   huge   efforts   were   made   to   prevent   the   church   going   up   too.   The   parish   registers   were   not so fortunate, being at the time in the Vicarage. You can see a Map of the area of destruction below - In   spite   of   the   severity   of   the   fire,   only   one   death   resulted   from   it,   that   of   a   blind   man.   His   name   was   James   Pitney.   His   story   is   an   interesting   one   as his   family   seems   to   have   been   affected   by   fires   on   several   occassions.   Thanks   to   Denise   Thain   (he   was   her   great,   great,   great,   great,   great,   great Uncle) we can explain why... He   is   in   the   Bere   Regis   Burial   Register   for   5th   June   1788   and   annotated   beside   his   name   it   states   that   he   was   the   ‘sole   fatality   of   the   fire’.   He   was   a widower   as   his   wife   Elizabeth   Pitney,   nee   Hurdell,   had   died   in   Bere   Regis   and   was   buried   there   on   the   31st August   1777.   James   Pitney   was   born   in Yeovil and was christened there on the 22nd June 1712 and Elizabeth was possibly born in Bere Regis. James   Pitney   was   apprenticed   to   his   brother   John   Pitney   of   Poole   at   the   age   of   12   in   about   1724,   and   trained   as   a   Barber.   James   married Elizabeth   Hurdell   on   17th   July   1738   at   Canford   Magna. The   couple   tried   to   settle   in   Bere   Regis   in   1740   but   were   removed   back   to   St   James,   Poole. By   1752   they   were   living   in   Wareham.   By   1776   they   were   living   in   Bere   Regis,   although   the   settlement   certificate   is   no   longer   in   existence.   James Pitney   was   the   witness   on   a   marriage   licence   as   a   bondsman   for   the   wedding   of   Leonard   Martin   age   22   of   Bere   Regis   and   Sussanah   Martin   age   ? of Wimborne, on 6 April 1776, James’ occupation is stated as a Yeoman of Bere Regis. James and Elizabeth Pitney had no children. Ironically,   the   Pitney   family   lost   everything   they   had   in   the   Great   Fire   of   Blandford   Forum   in   1731.   James’   father   Thomas   Pitney   claimed   £10   5s from   the   Fire   fund.   In   another   irony,   Thomas   Pitney’s   father   John   Pitney   moved   to   Blandford   Forum   after   the   Great   Fire   of   Yeovil   in   1640,   although the   family   moved   back   and   forth   between Yeovil   and   Blandford   thereafter.   I   am   sure   that   linking   all   these   fires   to   the   Pitney   family   is   a   matter   of   bad luck though and is not suspect! Most   of   the   houses   were   not   insured,   and   appeals   were   made   on   behalf   of   those   whose   property   had   been   destroyed,   including   a   newspaper appeal by the vicar and churchwardens. A contemporary periodical described the aftermath: The   scene   of   distress   occasioned   by   this   terrible   conflagration   is   far   beyond   description.   Many   of   the   unhappy   sufferers,   who   could   not   otherwise accommodate   themselves,   retired   almost   naked   to   the   buildings   erected   for   the   fair   on   Woodbury   Hill,   where   they   found   temporary   shelter,   and were   very   humanely   and   liberally   supplied   with   every   article   necessary   for   their   immediate   relief,   by   the   inhabitants   of   Blandford,   Wareham,   and other neighbouring places. The following account shows how the appeal fund monies were apportioned: Collected by voluntary subscription of the county ... £1,279 19s. 4d Paid   to   39   sufferers   by   fire   in   the   said   town   of   BereRegis,   in   three   classes,   viz.   to   the   first   class,   who   were   most   distressed,   and   had   lost   their   whole property,     14s.     (70p)     in     the     pound;     to     the     second     class,     lls.     6d.     (571p);     and     to     the     third     class,     7s.     6d.     (37     1/2P). ............................................................ £1,193 13s. 8d. By   advertisements,   fire   engines,   firemen,   assistantsin   removing   goods   and   quenching   the   fire,   and   otherincidental   expenses   ...............................   £ 62 5s. 8d. Left   in   the   treasurer's   hands,   to   be   applied   towardsbuying   a   new   fire-engine   for   the   said   town,   theold   one   having   been   burnt   in   the   fire   ..................... £ 24 Os. Od. Total .............................................................................................£1,279 19s. 4d. The   `Crown'   is   referred   to   in   the   churchwarden's   accounts,   and   was   situated   between   numbers   88   and   89   on   the   north   side   of   West   Street.   Before 1788   this   central   part   of   the   village   was   very   densely   built   up,   and   the   area   destroyed   by   the   fire   extended   from   just   north   of   the   church   to   the   old vicarage   (now   `Summerods')   in   a   north-south   direction,   and   from   the   Royal   Oak   to   no.   30   West   Street   in   an   east-west   direction.   Most   of   the buildings   were   totally   destroyed   and   no   traces   of   them   now   remain,   but   in   those   cases   where   destruction   was   not   so   complete   rebuilding   was carried out on the old foundation walling, and evidence of this may still be seen in several buildings in this area.   23rd June 1816 On   23   June   there   was   a   fire   at   Bere   Regis,   and   there   is   some   evidence   to   suggest   that   it   burned   down   the   Mill   at   Elders   Mead,   below   the   church and the associated miller's house next to the Mill near Southbrook.   6th April 1887 Hyde   House   burned   down   on   6th April   1887   and   most   of   the   house   was   destroyed   although   some   parts   remained   standing   but   damaged.   Charles James   Radclyffe   was   the   resident   at   the   house,   but   by   the   time   a   messenger   was   dispatched   by   horse   to   the   village   for   help,   the   fire   was completely out of control. Many villagers went to Hyde later that day to view the smouldering ruins.   1890 There   was   a   fire   at   West   Mill   in   West   Street   at   the   Dorchester   road   end   of   the   village   at   some   time   in   1890. A   parish   magazine   published   in   1891 referred to "the Burnt Mill".   1902 What   became   known   as   "the   Old   Post   Office"   was   burnt   down   in   1902.   It   was   situated   between   No.88   and   No.89   West   Street,   ironically   on   the same site where the 1788 fire began, and now where Cyril Wood Court is located. You can see a Photograph of the Old Post Office below - 16th April 1911 On   16   April   1911   Mr   Marsh's   Manor   Farm   at   No.35   West   Street   had   a   severe   fire   in   the   cattle   shed   about   where   the   clinic   is   now   situated.   Many cows   were   burned   alive,   being   secured   in   their   sheds.   The   fire   was   so   severe   that   helpers   were   unable   to   approach   the   building   to   free   the unfortunate   animals. This   loss   of   [animal]   life   resulted   in   the   village   getting   organised   to   establish   a   rudimentary   fire   engine   to   replace   the   system   of winching buckets from wells for fire-fighting.   1932 In   about   this   year   No.39   West   Street   was   struck   by   lightning   and   burned   down.   It   was   part   of   the   coal   yard   premises   and   a   new   house   was   rebuilt which acted as part of the entrance area to the coal yard for many years.   1960 A   couple   of   joined   cottages   at Tower   Hill   burned   down   in   1960. They   had   been   derelict   for   some   years,   and   despite   a   planning   scheme   to   build   new housing   on   the   site   in   1961,   which   never   materialised,   the   site   remained   vacant.   It   was   a   popular   playing   site   for   local   children   with   parts   of   the   cob walls still standing becoming quickly overgrown. It was finally cleared away in the 1970s.   Fire fighting equipment Two   early   pieces   of   fire-fighting   equipment,   thought   to   date   from   about   1600   are   preserved   over   the   south   door   of   the   church   in   the   porch. They   are large   iron   hooks   with   chains   attached,   originally   fixed   to   long   wooden   handles,   and   were   used   for   stripping   thatch   from   the   roofs   of   cottages   to   form fire breaks, in an attempt to reduce the spread of the fire. The   village   fire   engine,   consisting   of   no   more   than   a   pump   mounted   on   a   hand   cart,   would   also   have   been   used   on   these   occasions,   and   seems normally to have been kept in the church under the gallery at the back. It   seems   that   a   basically   similar   appliance   was   still   in   use   in   1911,   when   "Mr.   Marsh's   premises"   were   burnt   to   the   ground,   causing   the   Vicar   to remark   in   the   parish   magazine   -   "let   us   hope   that   some   arrangement   will   be   made   by   which   a   fire   engine   can   be   secured   more   quickly   than   is   at present   possible.   In   these   days   it   is   almost   beyond   belief   that   any   place   should   exist   so   far   behind   the   times,   that   it   relies   for   the   extinction   of   fire upon water pumped, or even wound up, from a well." Fortunately,   this   type   of   fire   involving   a   number   of   buildings   is   now   an   almost   unheard   of   occurrence,   due   not   only   to   a   reduction   in   the   number   of thatched   roofs,   but   to   the   existence   of   the   telephone   and   a   well   equipped,   efficient   fire   brigade.   During   the   1939-45   war   a   brigade   of   the   auxiliary fire   service   was   established   in   the   village   with   its   headquarters   at   Messrs.   Griffins   premises   in   North   Street. After   the   war   it   became   a   national   fire service brigade and continued to operate from the same premises until the erection of a new fire station in 1951.
Click / tap images to enlarge
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.
Bere Regis Village
Bere Regis Village Website

Bere Regis Fires

Bere   Regis   has   suffered   badly   from   fires   on   several   occasions,   the worst   ones   being   in   1633,   1717   and   1788.   Until   the beginning   of   this   century   almost   all   the   cottages   in the   village   were   thatched,   and   as   they   were   closely grouped,   particularly   in   West   Street,   the   fire   risk was   high   in   the   summer   when   the   most   serious fires   seem   to   have   occurred.   These   fires,   together   with   many   more minor    and    unrecorded    ones    have    had    a    lasting    effect    on    the appearance   of   the   village,   and   account   for   the   lack   of   any   really   old buildings,    apart    from    the    church,    and    for    the    gaps    which    are    still apparent between the cottages in West Street. 1486 The   wonderful   and   spectacular   roof   in   Bere   church   was   a   replacement after   a   terrible   fire   in   1486.   When   the   church   was   restored   in   1874/5 the   architects   found   "calcined"   remains   at   the   top   of   various   walls where   a   severe   fire   had   taken   place.   Cardinal   Morton,   originally   from the parish, is reputed to have funded the new roof and other repairs. 29th August 1633 There   is   a   report   of   a   fire   at   Bere   on   29th   August   1633,   when   the village   "burned   to   the   ground"   and   it   was   said   that   "£20,000   of   corn was    lost".    Both    those    statements    seem    to    have    been    enormous exaggerations    as    when    converted    to    today’s    money    the    £20,000 would   now   be   £14m.   The   Fire   was   recorded   in   the   diary   of   William Whiteway   of   Dorchester.   "1633,   Aug   29.   This   day   the   town   of   Bere Regis   was   burnt,   the   most   part   of   it   to   the   ground,   with   great   quantity of   corn.   The   loss   is   valued   at   20,000   pounds.   The   country   sent   them about   £500   speedily   to   relieve   their   present   want.   Dorchester   sent them in about £40."  Summer 1634 Another   summer-time   fire   at   Bere   apparently   began   at   the   bakery   and burned   "both   sides   of   the   street",   although   the   precise   extent   of   the damage   was   not   recorded   for   posterity.   An   order   of   sessions   passed that   the   town   of   Bere   Regis,   "Lately   consumed   by   fire,"   should   receive £50   from   the   county   stock,   the   loss   due   to   the   fire   being   assessed   at £7,000.   A   contemporary   report   also   stated   that,   "there   was   a   fier   in Bere   Regis   in   1634,   that   distressed   the   inhabitants   so   that   they   sent   a petishen to the King."   18th January 1644 At   the   height   of   the   Civil   Wars   locally,   parliamentary   forces   set   fire   to John Turberville's   Manor   House   at   Court   Green   on   18   January   1644.   It remained   in   a   damaged   state   for   some   time,   but   the   rebuilding   was completed   in   1648   with   a   carved   stone,   now   lost,   commemorating   the effort.   Summer 1717 A   record   of   a   fire   that   destroyed   "14   houses"   exists   for   the   year   of 1717, probably in the summer months as was usual for these events.   1723 According   to   the   Gould   Family   Note   Book,   kept   by   family   members living   on   Woodbury   Hill,   there   was   a   fire   which   "burned   ten   houses   on Woodbury Hill" in that year.   21st June 1767 There   is   a   brief   record   of   a   fire   at   Bere   on   21st   June,   which   was described as "serious".   4th June 1788 What   became   known   as   "the   Great   Fire   of   Bere"   began   at   about 1230am    on    4th    June    1788    at    a    pub    called    The    Crown    situated between   what   is   now   No.88   and   No.89   West   Street.   The   prevailing westerly   breeze   carried   the   destruction   to   the   vicarage   and   right   into the   "heart   of   the   village".   Forty   houses   plus   barns   and   outbuildings were   lost   and   huge   efforts   were   made   to   prevent   the   church   going   up too. The   parish   registers   were   not   so   fortunate,   being   at   the   time   in   the Vicarage. You can see a Map of the area of destruction below - In   spite   of   the   severity   of   the   fire,   only   one   death   resulted   from   it,   that of   a   blind   man.   His   name   was   James   Pitney.   His   story   is   an   interesting one   as   his   family   seems   to   have   been   affected   by   fires   on   several occassions.   Thanks   to   Denise   Thain   (he   was   her   great,   great,   great, great, great, great Uncle) we can explain why... He    is    in    the    Bere    Regis    Burial    Register    for    5th    June    1788    and annotated   beside   his   name   it   states   that   he   was   the   ‘sole   fatality   of   the fire’.   He   was   a   widower   as   his   wife   Elizabeth   Pitney,   nee   Hurdell,   had died   in   Bere   Regis   and   was   buried   there   on   the   31st   August   1777. James   Pitney   was   born   in   Yeovil   and   was   christened   there   on   the 22nd June 1712 and Elizabeth was possibly born in Bere Regis. James   Pitney   was   apprenticed   to   his   brother   John   Pitney   of   Poole   at the   age   of   12   in   about   1724,   and   trained   as   a   Barber.   James   married Elizabeth   Hurdell   on   17th   July   1738   at   Canford   Magna.   The   couple tried   to   settle   in   Bere   Regis   in   1740   but   were   removed   back   to   St James,   Poole.   By   1752   they   were   living   in   Wareham.   By   1776   they were   living   in   Bere   Regis,   although   the   settlement   certificate   is   no longer   in   existence.   James   Pitney   was   the   witness   on   a   marriage licence   as   a   bondsman   for   the   wedding   of   Leonard   Martin   age   22   of Bere   Regis   and   Sussanah   Martin   age   ?   of   Wimborne,   on   6 April   1776, James’   occupation   is   stated   as   a   Yeoman   of   Bere   Regis.   James   and Elizabeth Pitney had no children. Ironically,   the   Pitney   family   lost   everything   they   had   in   the   Great   Fire of   Blandford   Forum   in   1731.   James’   father   Thomas   Pitney   claimed £10   5s   from   the   Fire   fund.   In   another   irony,   Thomas   Pitney’s   father John   Pitney   moved   to   Blandford   Forum   after   the   Great   Fire   of Yeovil   in 1640,   although   the   family   moved   back   and   forth   between   Yeovil   and Blandford   thereafter.   I   am   sure   that   linking   all   these   fires   to   the   Pitney family is a matter of bad luck though and is not suspect! Most   of   the   houses   were   not   insured,   and   appeals   were   made   on behalf    of    those    whose    property    had    been    destroyed,    including    a newspaper   appeal   by   the   vicar   and   churchwardens.   A   contemporary periodical described the aftermath: The   scene   of   distress   occasioned   by   this   terrible   conflagration   is   far beyond   description.   Many   of   the   unhappy   sufferers,   who   could   not otherwise    accommodate    themselves,    retired    almost    naked    to    the buildings   erected   for   the   fair   on   Woodbury   Hill,   where   they   found temporary   shelter,   and   were   very   humanely   and   liberally   supplied   with every   article   necessary   for   their   immediate   relief,   by   the   inhabitants   of Blandford, Wareham, and other neighbouring places. The    following    account    shows    how    the    appeal    fund    monies    were apportioned: Collected by voluntary subscription of the county ... £1,279 19s. 4d Paid   to   39   sufferers   by   fire   in   the   said   town   of   BereRegis,   in   three classes,   viz.   to   the   first   class,   who   were   most   distressed,   and   had   lost their   whole   property,   14s.   (70p)   in   the   pound;   to   the   second   class,   lls. 6d.      (571p);      and      to      the      third      class,      7s.      6d.      (37      1/2P). ............................................................ £1,193 13s. 8d. By   advertisements,   fire   engines,   firemen,   assistantsin   removing   goods and       quenching       the       fire,       and       otherincidental       expenses ............................... £ 62 5s. 8d. Left   in   the   treasurer's   hands,   to   be   applied   towardsbuying   a   new   fire- engine   for   the   said   town,   theold   one   having   been   burnt   in   the   fire ..................... £ 24 Os. Od. T                           o                            t                            a                            l                              .............................................................................................£1,279   19s. 4d. The   `Crown'   is   referred   to   in   the   churchwarden's   accounts,   and   was situated   between   numbers   88   and   89   on   the   north   side   of   West   Street. Before   1788   this   central   part   of   the   village   was   very   densely   built   up, and   the   area   destroyed   by   the   fire   extended   from   just   north   of   the church    to    the    old    vicarage    (now    `Summerods')    in    a    north-south direction,   and   from   the   Royal   Oak   to   no.   30   West   Street   in   an   east- west   direction.   Most   of   the   buildings   were   totally   destroyed   and   no traces   of   them   now   remain,   but   in   those   cases   where   destruction   was not    so    complete    rebuilding    was    carried    out    on    the    old    foundation walling,   and   evidence   of   this   may   still   be   seen   in   several   buildings   in this area.   23rd June 1816 On    23    June    there    was    a    fire    at    Bere    Regis,    and    there    is    some evidence   to   suggest   that   it   burned   down   the   Mill   at   Elders   Mead, below   the   church   and   the   associated   miller's   house   next   to   the   Mill near Southbrook.   6th April 1887 Hyde   House   burned   down   on   6th   April   1887   and   most   of   the   house was   destroyed   although   some   parts   remained   standing   but   damaged. Charles   James   Radclyffe   was   the   resident   at   the   house,   but   by   the time   a   messenger   was   dispatched   by   horse   to   the   village   for   help,   the fire   was   completely   out   of   control.   Many   villagers   went   to   Hyde   later that day to view the smouldering ruins.   1890 There   was   a   fire   at   West   Mill   in   West   Street   at   the   Dorchester   road end   of   the   village   at   some   time   in   1890.   A   parish   magazine   published in 1891 referred to "the Burnt Mill".   1902 What   became   known   as   "the   Old   Post   Office"   was   burnt   down   in   1902. It   was   situated   between   No.88   and   No.89   West   Street,   ironically   on the   same   site   where   the   1788   fire   began,   and   now   where   Cyril   Wood Court   is   located.   You   can   see   a   Photograph   of   the   Old   Post   Office below - 16th April 1911 On   16 April   1911   Mr   Marsh's   Manor   Farm   at   No.35   West   Street   had   a severe   fire   in   the   cattle   shed   about   where   the   clinic   is   now   situated. Many   cows   were   burned   alive,   being   secured   in   their   sheds.   The   fire was   so   severe   that   helpers   were   unable   to   approach   the   building   to free   the   unfortunate   animals.   This   loss   of   [animal]   life   resulted   in   the village    getting    organised    to    establish    a    rudimentary    fire    engine    to replace the system of winching buckets from wells for fire-fighting.   1932 In   about   this   year   No.39   West   Street   was   struck   by   lightning   and burned   down.   It   was   part   of   the   coal   yard   premises   and   a   new   house was   rebuilt   which   acted   as   part   of   the   entrance   area   to   the   coal   yard for many years.   1960 A   couple   of   joined   cottages   at   Tower   Hill   burned   down   in   1960.   They had   been   derelict   for   some   years,   and   despite   a   planning   scheme   to build   new   housing   on   the   site   in   1961,   which   never   materialised,   the site   remained   vacant.   It   was   a   popular   playing   site   for   local   children with   parts   of   the   cob   walls   still   standing   becoming   quickly   overgrown. It was finally cleared away in the 1970s.   Fire fighting equipment Two   early   pieces   of   fire-fighting   equipment,   thought   to   date   from   about 1600   are   preserved   over   the   south   door   of   the   church   in   the   porch. They   are   large   iron   hooks   with   chains   attached,   originally   fixed   to   long wooden   handles,   and   were   used   for   stripping   thatch   from   the   roofs   of cottages   to   form   fire   breaks,   in   an   attempt   to   reduce   the   spread   of   the fire. The   village   fire   engine,   consisting   of   no   more   than   a   pump   mounted on   a   hand   cart,   would   also   have   been   used   on   these   occasions,   and seems   normally   to   have   been   kept   in   the   church   under   the   gallery   at the back. It   seems   that   a   basically   similar   appliance   was   still   in   use   in   1911, when   "Mr.   Marsh's   premises"   were   burnt   to   the   ground,   causing   the Vicar   to   remark   in   the   parish   magazine   -   "let   us   hope   that   some arrangement   will   be   made   by   which   a   fire   engine   can   be   secured   more quickly   than   is   at   present   possible.   In   these   days   it   is   almost   beyond belief   that   any   place   should   exist   so   far   behind   the   times,   that   it   relies for   the   extinction   of   fire   upon   water   pumped,   or   even   wound   up,   from   a well." Fortunately,   this   type   of   fire   involving   a   number   of   buildings   is   now   an almost   unheard   of   occurrence,   due   not   only   to   a   reduction   in   the number   of   thatched   roofs,   but   to   the   existence   of   the   telephone   and   a well   equipped,   efficient   fire   brigade.   During   the   1939-45   war   a   brigade of    the    auxiliary    fire    service    was    established    in    the    village    with    its headquarters   at   Messrs.   Griffins   premises   in   North   Street.   After   the war   it   became   a   national   fire   service   brigade   and   continued   to   operate from the same premises until the erection of a new fire station in 1951.