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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No. 1862, Sunday, December 11, 1831

Incendiary Fires.

On Sunday night a fire was discovered on the premises of Mr. Maugham, farmer, of Moulton, Linconshire. It commenced in a straw-stack, and the flames communicated to two oat-stacks adjoining. A barn adjoining, full of wheat, escaped the devouring element, as well as two wheat-stacks, and one bean stack. The property was insured.—Cambridge Chronicle.

On Saturday morning, a stack of oats and a stack of barley, the property of Mr. Fullard, farmer, of Welton, near this city, were discovered to be on fire. The damage is supposed to have been occasioned by an incendiary.— Lincoln Times.

A large peas-rick, the produce of nine acres, belonging to Mr. B. Hayward, of Lavington, was wilfully set on fire, as early as five o'clock on Monday afternoon, and entirely consumed.—Devizes Gazette.

Two brothers, named Hughes, and their brother-in-law, named Cox, are in custody on a charge of setting fire to ricks, at Mr. Baker's, Barston Park, near Knowle, Warwickshire. The father of the Hughes's was convicted at the Spring Assizes, of robbing Mr. Baker, and the two sons were afterwards heard to vow vengeance on Mr. B.—Worcester Journal.

Friday night a fire broke out on the premises belonging to Messrs. Slaker, at Binsted, near Chichester, which consumed two hay-ricks, one barn with a quantity of straw therein, a cart-house, one new waggon, two dung carts, two rollers, and a plough; supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The property was insured.—Brighton Gazette.

On Tuesday evening se'nnight two ricks were set on fire at Temple Coombe, the property of Mr. Brine.— Sherborne Journal.

On Monday night a barley-stack, belonging to Mr. Woods, of Gayton, was fired, and but for the prompt exertions of the inhabitants of the village, the destruction of property would have been immense. It was, however, confined to the stack in question, which was of considerable value.—Stamford News.

One of the most dreadful crimes that disgrace the age has been most providentially prevented from being carried into execution, near Taunton, during the present week. As a poor woman called Mary Durston was walking across a field in the parish Trull, on Monday, her attention was directed to three men sitting under a hedge. She approached them without being observed, and heard one of them exclaim, "We'll have a d—d good fire tonight!" This induced her to place herself in a situation to learn what was going on without being observed. The villains, it seems, were plotting the destruction of three ricks, the property of Mr. Colman, a farmer who lived near. A packet was produced, and eventually concealed in a bush. The woman, after some delay, went to the house of the farmer and gave information of what she had seen. Mr. Colman took care to have his premises well guarded that evening. The three men were at length observed approaching with a light at the time appointed. They, however, escaped through the assistance of the darkness. On search being made the following morning, the parcel, as described by the old woman, was found, and it contained all the necessary requisites for carrying their plot into execution. Two of the prisoners were taken into custody the following morning, and are now in Wilton gaol.—Sherborne Journal.

Another frightful conflagration occurred on Monday evening at Elstow, about a mile from Bedford. The property selected by the incendiary was the farm-buildings and stacks on the farm occupied by Mr. Manning, the property of W. H. Whitbread, Esq. The engines of Bedford and Ampthill were quickly on the spot, but from the small supply of water, and the rapidity with which the fire had spread, they were not able to save much of the property. By cutting a barn in two the progress of the fire was arrested, and prevented from igniting the dwelling-house and stable, which were the only buildings saved. There is not the least doubt that the premises were set on fire by some diabolical wretched incendiary; and in this case he has succeeded to the utmost of his satanic desire.

The tithe barn at Wingfield was destroyed by fire a few nights since, and the grain which was therein burnt. It is to be feared this was the act of an incendiary.

On Tuesday Richard Dixon, an agricultural labourer, was convicted at Maidstone, before Mr. Justice Alderson, of setting fire to the barn of Mr. Henry Pilkington, at Eastry, on the 15th of last month.

An account has been received at the different police offices of a man calling himself Thomas Storer, who had been committed as a rogue and vagabond to the House of Correction for the county of Leicester, and is suspected of being the perpetrator of the late firings which have occurred in that part of the country. Before he was apprehended, he said publicly that he had burnt up the people in Lincolnshire, and would do the same in Leicestershire; at the same time instancing several fires that had occurred in both counties, and in Nottinghamshire.