Haverfordwest History

AtoZ Challenge – P: Picton Castle Fire

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is for bloggers who wish to participate, by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B, April 3 will be C, and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been published.   Blog posts are usually on a theme, or you can choose to post each day with no theme at all. My theme for 2024 is “Haverfordwest in the News”. Haverfordwest is a town in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter P


 from: Hawera Star, 01 December, 1934, page 14

Art treasures, heirlooms and valuable furniture were saved when fire broke out in an attic of Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, the home of Sir Henry Philipps. Some family portraits were damaged however, and the total loss was estimated at about £10,000 says the News Chronicle. The firemen were hampered in their work, by an attack by a swarm of bees, which had made their home in the roof. The blaze was also intensified by some thirty to forty pounds of honey.

The original Norman roof and the ancient rafters of the castle were seriously damaged, but a portion of the flat, lead roof were saved. The ancient chapel, with it’s sixteenth century organ, and the organ in the main hall, were only slightly affected. Baron de Rutzen of Slebech Park, Haverfordwest organised a corps of voluntary helpers who carried the paintings, china, glass and antique furniture out onto the lawns.

Picton Castle, one of the most beautiful buildings in Wales, was a fortified residence in the reign of William Rufus, and from that time, until the present day, it has been tenanted by owners, all of whom can trace their connection with the Norman ancestor, William de Picton.

This is the seventh serious fire in mansion houses and historic residences this year. Valuable pictures were destroyed in a fire on February 4 at Gatton Park, Reigate, the home of Sir Jeremiah Coleman. A month later, two servants lost their lives in a fire at the Earl of Fortescue’s Devonshire seat, Castle Hill, Barnstaple. Other mansions damaged this year included Castle MacGarret, County Mayo, Ireland, the seat of Lord Oranmore and Browne.

Picton Castle – Wikipedia


 **Please notePunctuation and paragraphs have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading.

1934, HISTORIC TREASURES SAVED, Hawera Star, 01 December 1934, Retrieved on 10 October from paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
1892, PICTON CASTLE, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Saturday 29 October 1892, Retrieved from britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk


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