Arsonists blamed for barn blaze

ARSONISTS have been blamed for a blaze which destroyed a 400-year-old cart lodge and took seven hours for firefighters to put out.The fire took hold in the thatched building at Teybrook Farm in Great Tey, where former Colchester mayor Roger Browning lives.

By Annie Davidson

ARSONISTS have been blamed for a blaze which destroyed a 400-year-old cart lodge and took seven hours for firefighters to put out.

The fire took hold in the thatched building at Teybrook Farm in Great Tey, where former Colchester mayor Roger Browning lives.

Flames were spotted at 10pm on Friday by a passer-by who alerted staff at the nearby Barn Brasserie restaurant.


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Fire crews from Colchester and Coggeshall went to the farm in Brook Road and spent seven hours bringing it under control.

Mr Browning, whose son Richard is the fourth generation of the family to run Teybrook Farm, said: “We have several listed buildings and although the cart lodge was not listed it was from the same period and was about 400 years old.

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“It was an unusual building, it was called a cart or wagon lodge and had room for four wagons.

“There was cladding on the side which was gorse from one of the heaths, either Fordham or Tiptree, which was very good and kept the weather out.

“It was part of the scene, we are a medieval farm with several thatched buildings which were pretty and interesting so for me it is like losing one of the family. It is very traumatic.”

Mr Browning, 85, said he and his wife, Rosemary, had lost their phone connection in the recent gales so when restaurant staff tried to warn them about the fire they could not be reached.

They were alerted by firemen knocking on the door of their home which is just 100 yards away from the cart lodge.

Mr Browning added: “We have got no idea what started it.

“There is no electricity in it and no gas and it is right beside the road so we assume it is an arson attack.

“We have had arson attacks here in the past but is has not been a building before, it has been bales of hay.

“It is terrible when a fire takes hold of a wooden thatched building, there is so little you can do. It was a mass of flames.”

The cart lodge contained an old harvesting wagon and some agricultural equipment which were also destroyed.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, a spokesman said.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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