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A letter from Hadlow in Kent to the Home Office, 1830, about a suspicious fire
(Catalogue ref: HO 52/8)

My Lord,

I regret much, that, after the report which was directed to be sent to your Lordship from the bench at Tonbridge on Wednesday last stating that this part of the country was perfectly quiet, I am obliged to inform you that about 3 o'clock this morning a fire (supposed to have been the work of an incendiary) was discovered in a barn at North Firth in this parish, on the property of Mr. Idle and in the occupation of Mr. George Barton, which together with a coach house and lodge, was entirely consumed. The lost to Mr. Barton in corn &c is computed at about £300. He is however insured to a larger amount. I have been on the spot and I cannot discover the least suspicion attaching to any individual.

I am happy to inform your Lordship that Mr. Barton speaks in very high terms of the assistance afforded by the labouring chaps on the occasion, by whose active exertions, in some instances at great personal risk, the fire was prevented becoming much more destructive.

Glossary  Transcript
incendiary

a person who deliberately sets fire to property; a person who stirs up political quarrels

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