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Parish fire engines: Castle Cary

The old fire engine house, Castle Cary

In 1762 the parish agreed, on the encouragement of the clergy, to provide a fire engine paid for out of the church rate with Ansford contributing.[1] In 1764 it attended the fire at Bruton Abbey.[2] The wardens paid for watering it in 1795, building an engine house in 1810, repairing the buckets in 1816, and oiling the pipes in 1841. The engine house was in the corner of the churchyard but by 1870 a building for the engine was rented from the lord of the manor at the street end of the drive to Manor Farm.[3] In 1893 the vestry ordered the overseer to sell the old fire engine, a primitive machine last used c. 1868, 13 buckets, and water cart and in 1895 the parish council demanded part of the proceeds.[4] The parishioners demanded a new fire engine in 1896 and later.[5] Both Boyd’s and Donne’s factories had fire engines which assisted at a major fire in 1914.[6]

The fire appliances appear to have been the responsibility of the water company after 1909 but in 1921 they were taken over by the parish council, which decided to form a fire brigade the following year.[7] A new fire station was built in 1959[8] on the corner of Millbrook Gardens, north of the church, and remained in use in 2001 with twelve retained firemen.


[1]     SRO, D/P/cas 4/1/3; Parson Woodforde Soc. Jnl. IX (2), 8.


[2]     Memoirs of Robert Clarke (1829), 12—13.


[3]     SRO, D/P/cas 4/1/2—3, 13/2/4, 14/5/1; Castle Cary Visitor May 1900, April 1903; July 1912.


[4]     SRO, D/PC/cas 1/1/1, 1/2/1; Castle Cary Visitor April 1903.


[5]     Castle Cary Visitor March 1896, April 1903.


[6]     Castle Cary Past and Present (1974), unpaginated.


[7]     SRO, D/PC/cas 1/2/2.


[8]     Som. CC. Lib. negatives 15943, 23160; SRO D/PC/cas 5/4/1; Living History Group, Time to Reflect, 124.



Content generated during research for Victoria County History Somerset Volume X.  More information is available on the VCH Somerset website

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Victorian (1837-1901)