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1861: Fire destroys Bolney Vicarage

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 17 January 1861


Destruction of the Vicarage by Fire.

A destructive fire broke out on Monday morning, by which Bolney Vicarage House was entirely destroyed, nothing but the burnt and blackened walls remaining standing. The fire was first seen by a servant at the Eight Bells Inn, about four a.m., who instantly aroused a lodger, who, on giving the alarm, was joined by the police-constable stationed here and others, who succeeded in rescuing what property was saved.

Consisting of a number of carpenters’ tools, belonging to Mr Parsons, of the Queen’s Head Inn; some scaffolding and bricklayers’ tools, the property of Mr Coomber; some painters’ tools and paint, belonging to J. Anscombe, of Cuckfield; a quantity of brewing utensils, &c., in the washhouse and kitchen; and some other articles belonging to the Incumbent, the Rev. H. Stallard.

The rebuilt Bolney vicarage c1916

The house was under repair, Mr Amon Anscombe, of Lindfield, being contractor. Six fires had been kept up, including one stove, and on Saturday evening, Parsons, one of the men employed on the premises, left about five o’clock, leaving five fires burning, but put the stove fire out. He gave the key to a servant, who left all safe at half-past five, but did not go into the house.

The fire is supposed to have originated from a pieces of old timber over the fire place of the entrance hall, where it is not known that a fire had been kept for years; it being placed only about 2 and a half feet from the top of the grate and 18 inches from the back of the chimney, in a most dangerous position, and that sparks flying had communicated the fire to the carpenters’ shavings lying about the room.

Superintendent Akehurst and the police were early on the spot, and rendered every assistance possible, but it was of no avail in saving the house. The Rev. Stallard has only lately been installed in the living, and is supposed to be a loser to the amount of £150 by the fire, in fixtures, &c.; fortunately, the house was not furnished. We believe the promises were insured by the late Incumbent, the Rev. J. Dale, but it is not known whether the Rev. Mr Stallard has continued the insurance.

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 22 May 1862


The Vicarage.

—lt is proposed to make an appeal for funds towards rebuilding the above Vicarage.

The present Incumbent had been appointed about three mouths, and had spent a considerable sum of money in alterations and repairs, when, from the dangerous position of a beam in the chimney, at the time unknown, the house was entirely destroyed by fire. To add to the disaster, the house was uninsured; though, had the fire occurred five days earlier, the amount for which the late Incumbent had insured it would have been available.

A delay of a year has occurred in proceeding with the building, in the hope that a grant might have been obtained from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It has, however, been ascertained that, in consequence of the population being too small in proportion to the income, Bolney cannot probably be assisted for two or three years.

Meanwhile there is no Vicarage, and, legally, the Incumbent is bound to replace it at his own expense. A suitable house cannot be built, with all expenses, for less than £1.300 or £1,400. Plans have been prepared, and received the Bishop’s approval. Towards the sum required, a loan of £525 has been granted by Queen Anne’s Bounty, entailing however, a diminution of income, by an annual payment of one-thirtieth of that amount, together with interest on the capital. The Bishop of the Diocese most munificently adds £100; this leaves £700 —and perhaps, with extra expenses, £800—to be supplied (other sources failing) from the Incumbent’s private means. It is to lessen this heavy burden that the appeal is now made.

Had the Ecclesiastical Commissioners been able to make the grant of £500 (the amount which was asked for), the appeal would have been rendered unnecessary.

Contributions will be received by the Rev. W. H. Stallard, Bolney; by W. Marshall, Esq., Bolney Place, Cuckfield; or may be paid to the account of the “Bolney Vicarage Fund,” Messrs. Hall, Lloyd, and Co., Union Bank, Brighton.

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