Stanley's Farm 1850
Seven years after the Willersey tragedy, when seven people lost their
lives, a huge fire destroyed Peter Stanley's Farm on Broadway Hill.
Fortunately, on this occassion, there was no loss of life.
The farm, probably the one now known as Peter's farm, was owned by
Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill, and occupied by Thomas Savage,
a farmer and miller from Hampton, near Evesham. On the morning of
Wednesday 5th June 1850 a farm labourer named Richard Dobbins (born
c1817) was burning weeds. To assist him with this task he pulled a
handful of straw from a rick, and lit it with a match. Unfortunately,
in the process, he also set fire to the rick.
The fire quickly got out of control, and spread to the sheds, barn,
stables, cottage and house. A hole had to be knocked in the wall of
the cottage to allow the woman occupier to escape. She suffered burns
to her leg.
The fire engine from Chipping Campden, which belonged to the Birmingham
and District Insurance Company, turned up but was of little use due
to the shortage of water. Although all the furniture was saved, much
other property was lost, including twelve tons of straw, two tons
of hay, two carts and a large number of valuable implements. The buildings
and contents were insured with the Sun Fire Office.
for the unlucky Mr Dobbins are not recorded.
However, by looking at the censuses and other records we can be sure
he remained living in the area. He was married to Jane at the time
of this incident, was widowed in 1859, and went on to marry Selina
later that year.
He appears on the 1891 census at the age of seventy-six.
It is interesting to note that almost one hundred and fifty years
later, in the 1990s, there was another fire at Peter's Farm which
caused severe damage. Just as at the 1850 fire the brigade was hampered
in it's attempt to control the blaze by a lack of a good water supply.