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Curious Fire in Croxen's Yard

About 15 years after the fire the ruins were still causing problems
and in desperation were demolished by some of the women living
nearby. Click here to learn more about the event

From the Northampton Mercury Friday 31 May 1895


A fire arose under peculiar circumstances, at Burton Latimer, on Tuesday afternoon, but, fortunately, the damage was only slight. In a portion of the village known as Croxen’s Yard is a row of thatched cottages, five in number, which, owing to their dilapidated condition, have for some time been uninhabited. The owner (Mrs Brown) was about to have the property pulled down and rebuilt, and the thatch had already been pulled off the roofs for that purpose. Instead of being carted away, the thatch was allowed to lie in front of the cottages.  On Monday night this rubbish by some means became ignited and, being very dry, quickly burst into a blaze. As there appeared to be no danger of the flames spreading not much notice was taken of the occurrence, which the youngsters doubtless regarded as a good bonfire. Late in the evening some of the neighbours threw some water on the flames which had the effect of partly subduing them. The thatch must, however, have smouldered all night, and on Tuesday morning was again fanned into flames by a south-east wind. Gradually the fire spread along the outside of the cottages in a northerly direction towards an adjoining cottage occupied by a man named Charles Basford. About 1 o'clock on Tuesday it became evident that outside help would have to be requisitioned, as the flames spread to some lumber inside the cottages, and quickly ignited the woodwork.  Mrs Brown thereupon wired to Kettering for the Fire Brigade, the telegram reaching the fire station at 2.45.The difficulties under which the Kettering Brigade labour were again apparent. When the caretaker went to apprise the callers neither of them were at home, and he had of necessity to run to the nearest fireman and give the alarm himself. Then two horses were not forthcoming at Mr Turren's but that the gentleman quickly secured a pair from Mr Sculthorpe and with these the steamer was manned. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the turnout was accomplished in just over 20 minutes and Mr Sculthorpe’ s nags covered the distance in the very credible time of 18 minutes. On arriving at the scene of the fire, the steamer was taken to a brook about 400 yards away, and a steady and powerful stream of water was quickly poured upon the flames. The steamer, which was under the control of Engineers Mitten and W. Bridgeman, worked steadily for a couple of hours, by which time all the danger was at an end. Captain Riddle, with the Fireman Few, Gilbey, Langford, and E.Bridgeman, thoroughly overhauled the premises and at 6 o'clock the order to roll up was given. The Brigade returned to Kettering about 7 pm. Inspector Butlin and PC Currin were present during the operation of the Brigade, and rendered valuable service.The property is insured in the County Fire Office the local agents being Messrs Lamb and Stringer, of Kettering.

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