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(ET) Earlier, about 1920, "a thunderbolt fell on the 'shippons' and burnt them down, Ruby Baker's father saw it fall." East Yeo burnt down about 1936. Mr Barrow came up and knocked on Mr Selley's door: "Mr Selley, Mr Selley, our house is on fire." His wife and two children escaped, but nothing of the farm could be saved.

Fires: (WC) father used to tell of the day the line of thatched cottages and the thatched "Bell Inn" along the north side of the Square burnt down, somewhere around the year 1880; there was a concert on in the Drill Hall (now the Church Room) and (WC) father "went round with the bell rousing the village." (WC) remembers the last big village fire in 1946, when a line of thatched cottages between Rosemont and Pullen's Row caught fire and the sparks caught the thatch of the cottages along the road to Venn Bridge. All were burnt out.

(CG) vividly recalls a fire in the buildings on the present site of Messrs Stoneman's yard. "T'was in the springtime and they were killing lambs, so they were up about five o'clock, the slaughterman and one or two of my brothers. All of a sudden somebody came and I was sleeping in the front bedroom above the stairs (at Cannington) and somebody came shouting down and I wasn't a very good sleeper and they said "fire, fire" and I got out you see and began to look out and this boy was shouting "fire" and it was one of the schoolmaster's sons and the boys were here and they were rushing out, dropped their tools, forgot all about their killing and they were gone. Of course the whole place was ablaze, and, by the time they got the fire engine out from Tiverton, that was horse drawn, most of it was burnt down. What they concentrated on was where the second hand shop is now (next to the Lawn) putting water on it to stop it, that was all thatch. Everybody took buckets and that and I got dressed quickly. I thought I was going up and mother said 'where are you going?' and I said 'up to see the fire.' 'Oh, indeed you're not, you'll wait until I'm ready to go and so I had to wait, the water came from pumps, wells, anywhere, there was no fire brigade here of any description, I used to have a photo of Francis, he was very quick you know going up the ladder with a bucket. T'was a builder's place, Rogers they were called I can see it now plain as anything, those two women (Mrs Rogers and Mrs Davey) coming down carrying those two boys and taking them into her place for safety. The whole blooming place was gutted, When you've got thatch and the sparks start flying." (CG) does not remember the pump in the Square. Many people had wells, The Mitre and the Police Station had "lovely water." (CG) does not remember when the village was first provided with its own supply and reservoir.

(WT) In 1907 there was a big fire in Fore Street, the builders yard and several houses burned down and the rubble blocked the street so that horses and carts had to go round by North Street, Ebrington's Row and out by Manse.

Fires (pre 1914): For a fire in South Street, buckets of water were carried from the pump in the Police Station. For the fire (just pre 1914) in the Roger's builders yard (present day Stoneman's yard) Bill Bragg rode to Tiverton on his motorbike to get the fire brigade.

(WT) In 1902, when she was four, the farmhouse (Lower Adworthy ) was burnt down. She was playing in the garden one afternoon and looked up and saw sparks coming out through the thatch ridge. She rushed in and cried out "there's pixies on the roof" (her word as a child for sparks). Her mother who was ill was bought out to safety on a mattress. The horse drawn fire engine came from South Molton but the farmhouse burned down, it was the day before the club walk.

This row of thatched cottages lay on the right hand side of the lane that leads from the Church Room to Pullens Row, and was known as Tracey Green. In April 1945, the last of the big village fires occurred, and the Tracey Green cottages were the victims, together with the thatched cottages in West Street, to which the fire spread. The village water supply was, as usual, inadequate, although many helpers did their best with buckets of water from various taps and wells. A number of fire brigades arrived, but no village source could feed the pumps. The vicarage well, reputed to be the best in the village, was pumped dry in three minutes. Water had to come from the river at Newbridge, and it took no less than six mobile pumps to relay the water up to the fire. It was all to no avail, Tracey Green cottages were burnt out and never rebuilt. The families in Tracey Green were at the time were the Hartnells, H Perry's and W Perry's.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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