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Shrivenham Church in 1910. Photo courtesy of Paul Williams

Fire at Shrivenham Church in 1910

Faringdon Advertiser
Sat 19 March, 1910
Fire at the Church. The peaceful serenity of the village was rudely disturbed on Sunday morning last when shortly before 10 o’clock there was an alarm of fire, an alarm that was the more disquieting when it became known that the scene of the outburst was the fine old parish church. It appears that the sexton, Mr T. Dike, whilst carrying out his usual Sunday morning duties, was startled to see flames emitting through the roof of the north transcept immediately over the heating apparatus. His call for help was readily responded to. Shrivenham does not possess a fire engine, but a number of willing helpers were soon on the spot, and whilst ladders were being placed in position a good supply of water was provided in hand barrels. By this time, however, the woodwork immediately under the lead roofing was well alight, and the task of removing this, which was already in a melting condition, was no easy undertaking; but the church was at stake, and this fact seemed to inspire the workers with additional energy, with the result that after about 30 minutes work the flames were defeated, and the church which at first seemed doomed to destruction, was saved. On hearing the alarm, Mr W. Millard rode post haste to Faringdon, a distance of nearly six miles to summon the Fire Brigade, and although their services were not required, their ready response to the call was very commendable, as is apparent by the fact that Capt. Haworth and his men arrived on the spot exactly forty minutes after Mr Millard left Shrivenham. During the afternoon the church was cleaned, and the articles of furniture that had been removed replaced. Service was held as usual in the evening, and was marked by special prayers and hymns of thanksgiving. The Vicar, Rev. E.F. Hill, at the close of his sermon made special reference to the occurrence, and expressed his sense of grateful appreciation of the services of all those who had worked so hard to save their beautiful church from the flames, and the many others who had rendered thoughtful and kindly assistance throughout the day.
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