Brighton Gazette - Thursday 08 September 1864
CUCKFIELD. Total Destruction of Park Barn by Fire.
A very destructive fire took place on Thursday at the Park Barn, situate on the Old Park Farm, in the occupation of Michael Jeffery, of Horsegate, and about half mile from the town.
Mr Jeffery had stacked near the barn the whole of his growth on this farm, and in the barn were deposited waggon loads of oats, the sole crop of corn grown, the hay having been stacked at the fatting hovel, a field off. The buildings consisted of the barn, tile healed and timber built, with a brick nine-inch wall at the eastern end and a small portion at the north and south sides, the remainder of the walls being weather-boarded, a good deal of which was old.
At the west and south were two yards in each of which was a hovel, the two being under one roof, and to the east a carthouse with granary over it, but standing apart, some distance from the other buildings, and which, as well as the hovels, was thatched. A lean-to, attached to the barn, also stood on the north side. Mr Jeffery had a few days since thrashed out the contents of the wheat stacks and placed the corn, about 150 sacks, on the barn floor, and shortly previous to the breaking out of the fire was on the road to the station, with the samples in his pocket for Brighton market. The first alarm of fire was given ten minutes after two in afternoon, and in a few minutes all was in flames. Hundreds hurried at once to the spot; but all the pools and springs were dried up and no water could be got nearer than Newberry pond, half a mile distance.
Everything was done that could be to prevent the fire spreading to the carthouse but it continued its ravaging work for many hours, and was not altogether subdued so as to be safe till next day. It appears that some gentlemen had been opening the partridge season on the ground, and had luncheon in the hovel One of them fired off his gun not far from the hovel, which was soon to be seen to be on fire. Probably this may have caused the fire which has resulted in a loss to Mr Jeffery of 141 sacks of wheat, the oats described, a manure cart, two winnowing machines, and some minor implements, such as winnowing flags, sieves &c., amounting, a rough calculation, to £350. He is insured; but not to the extent of his loss The property belongs to Warden Sergison, Esq., of Cuckfield Park, who is also insured.