Willen Tales

The vicarage fire, 1946

The 18th century Vicarage at Willen was gutted by fire early on the morning of 1st June 1946. The Vicar, the Rev. A.M. Berry, rose early and put the kettle on to make tea. He then went outside to feed the chickens. While he was out, a fire started in the kitchen, which quickly took hold.

The fire brigade were called, but were unable to prevent the house being destroyed. The nearest hydrant produced only a dribble of water, so they had to extend the hoses, 100 yards to the ford, by which time the blaze was so fierce, it could not be stopped. Only the drawing room furniture was saved. The Berry's had to borrow clothes from their neighbours.

The famous Busby library, which had been in existence for 250 years and included some very rare books, was completely destroyed.

Click here for an eye witness account of the fire from Howard Rees, the farmer.
Cutting from the Bucks Standard of Saturday, May 4th, 1946.