Fire at Barrells Hall


(Stratford Herald – Friday 28th April 1933)

On Sunday last a fire which in intensity rivalled that at the old Theatre was responsible for the gutting of the servants’ quarters at the ancient and historic mansion of Barrells at Ullenhall.

The building, which is of great antiquity, has been unoccupied for some time. It is the property of Mr J.W. Marsh, of Bishopton House, who had recently decided to take up occupancy. Although he had been about the premises all day, fortunately he was sleeping in a cottage in the grounds.

The Stratford Brigade were called soon after midnight by the Henley-in-Arden police, and in a very short time Captain Ball, Lieut. Harris, and eight firemen were on their way. Within half-an-hour they were at the scene of the outbreak. So great was the fire that shortly after leaving the town they could see the flames leaping into the sky. On their arrival the rear of the building resembled an inferno, but fortunately a good supply of water was available from a lake in the grounds. However, this had to be pumped uphill for a distance of 400 yards.

Naturally the flames were rapidly spreading, and by means of the roof were creeping through to the main part of the house. Had the brigade not arrived so promptly there is little doubt that this would have been involved. As it was the course of the fire was arrested.

The fact that the servants’ quarters were constructed almost wholly of pitch pine did not help matters, but the blaze was got under in something like four hours. However, as fire was continually breaking out among the timbers the brigade could not leave for another fourteen hours. The firemen deserve congratulation on their feat, since they had no outside help whatever.

. . .(a brief history of Barrells) . . .

Some idea of the size of the mansion may be gauged from the fact that roughly twenty-two rooms were involved, and these were completely gutted. Although some furniture was salvaged a good deal was destroyed. The cause of the outbreak appears to be a mystery.

It is indeed fortunate that the efforts of the brigade were successful, for the main part of the house includes a marble staircase, wonderful staircases, and richly moulded ceilings.

However, the whole is in a somewhat dilapidated condition.