A Fire at Beckett Leaze
3 July, 1790
On Wednesday last a fire broke out in the brewhouse belonging to Widow Johnson, of Beckett Leazes, in the Parish of Shrivenham, Berks, who possesses a dairy farm, and which is supposed to have been occasioned by lightning. The whole premises were entirely consumed. It was first discovered by Mrs Johnson’s eldest son, as the flames with great rapidity reached their dwelling; and his mother, sister, and the maid servant had but just time to escape in their shifts and under petticoats; in which condition they ran bare-footed upwards of a mile to call assistance. In the mean time her two sons, with the man servant, saved a few beds, and a quantity of cheese, but everything else were consumed except the cloaths upon their backs; and the eldest son was last under necessity of escaping down the chimney.
Historical Note: There were three farms that were associated with Beckett Park: Home Farm, Homeleaze Farm and Broadleaze Farm. Home Farm was considered to be the farm that belonged directly to the estate owner who would have resided at Beckett House. Homeleaze Farm was located at the north-east end of the park, but the principle house has since been demolished. Broadleaze Farm is located at the south-east end and is still in existence today. See attached photos. Reference to these farms and in particular the occupiers names, often causes problems for the researcher as they are regularly labelled as, 'of Beckett.'
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