Fire on the Hills (8th August 1869)

From the Archives

Earlier this year fires which blazed, spreading through areas of woodland and other open spaces, were much in the news during the periods of unusually dry weather.

Stourbridge News reported that, “A fire at Million Wood, near Kinver, burned for six days in early May. At its height eight fire crews using specialist equipment were deployed.”

John Partington’s selected archive piece, for the March 2011 Parish Magazine, reported similar events which had taken place in Clent in August 1869.

Fire on the Hills

On Sunday last, between twelve and one o’clock these beautiful and extensive range of hills was discovered to be again on fire, on that side next to the “Bogs” and, with a strong South wind blowing, flames soon spread up the hill and made a rapid progress towards The Grove and Hagley Park.
The news soon spread and shortly after two o’clock the fire engine from Hagley Hall and one from Stourbridge were on the spot, the latter being stationed at the side of the pool, and the former half way up the hill facing The Grove. After some little delay the Stourbridge engine was set to supply the Hagley one, and the latter to play on the burning mass, but with small effect, its power being limited, it could do no more than prevent the fire spreading in the direction of the engine the wind fairly driving the water back. At one time strong fears were entertained that the timber at the Grove House would fall a prey to the flames.
Mr H. Grazebrook, aided by Mr John Hughes, set a lot of men to dig a trench outside the burning portion, and under cover of the engine, by that means a check was put upon its rapid course but not until upwards of  30 acres had been burnt. The efforts made doubtless prevented great loss of property for had the timber at the Grove ignited with the wind South, wheat belonging to Messrs Hughes and Waldron must have been sacrificed and probably a portion of Hagley Park.
The origin of this fire cannot be traced but it is thought to have been caused by the carelessness of someone who was smoking. It was deemed advisable to have the hills watched throughout the night. The need thereof was fully justified as on Monday evening the fire was still smoking in several places. On Tuesday a hedgerow and stubble belong to Mr J.Amphlett Esq. and in the occupation of Mr J. Waldron, situated at Lower Clent on the Stourbridge and Bromsgrove turnpike road, was fired and was put out with great difficulty but not until a great portion of the hedge was destroyed.
* The Bogs is the old name for Adams Hill

From the County Express, Saturday August 8th 1869

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