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FIRE AT TIVERTON - 30 JUNE 1794

 

See also the following listing in conjunction with this account: it identifies some of the traders/residents referred to.

TIVERTON TRADERS LISTED IN THE UNIVERSAL BRITISH  DIRECTORY c. 1794

 

 

From the History of Tiverton in the County of Devon

by William Harding pub. 1845:

 

"On the 30th of June, 1794, a dreadful fire occurred between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, commencing in Humphrey Rendle's shop, a hot-presser* in Westexe, which being surrounded by thatched buildings, and the weather remarkably dry, with a strong south west wind, occasioned its spreading with fearful rapidity, by which both side of Westexe, as far as Mr. Dennis's brickhouse, now occupied by T.Hellings, esquire, the whole of Bridge Street and several dwellings in Wellbrook were consumed.

 

Many houses on Angel Hill, extending to the "old Bow", adjoining Slee's alms-house, in Peter Street, and some houses in Fore Street, as far as Mr. Hodge's shop, then occupied by Mr. William Dicken, ironmonger, were also burnt, and the fire was arrested by removing the whole front of this building, and the fire engine arriving from Cullompton, together with those belonging to the town, the progress of the flames was at last checked.

The Angel Inn was saved owing to the great exertion of the landlord Mr. Hawkes. In consequence of the wind remaining so high, large pieces of burning reed were flying about in every direction  and carried to considerable distances, which added much to this awful and distressing scene.  Several houses in Bampton Street were on fire, but by constant attention the flames were extinguished, and some outbuildings only destroyed on the south side of Fore Street. It is rather singular that the oak spire which supported the vane over the Corn Market, was consumed.

 

Happily, no lives were lost, but the poor inhabitants were reduced to the greatest distress; wandering about the fields, or lying in despair amidst the ruins of their furniture. About 120 dwellings were thus destroyed, and the loss was estimated at £7399. 16s* beside other property, and the insurance only amounted to £4726 16s.

 

A meeting was called by the mayor and a subscription entered into for the relief of the poor sufferers, which amounted to £214 17s. A strict investigation was made as to the extent of the various losses and the poor were relieved by the issue of tickets for the purpose of necessities."

 

*A hot presser worked in the textile industry. Cloth was pressed between glazed boards and hot metal plates in order to put a sheen on its surface.

**The equivalent value today would be approximately £627,641

 

 
 
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