Ten years on The Fleece Inn remembers fire that nearly destroyed it

Evesham Journal: Raising a glass to The Fleece Inn, 10 years after the fire, are (l to r) pub neighbours Rob Harris and Joe Chatterton, Matt Davis from Croft Building & Conservation, Mark Strutt from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, landlord Nigel Smith Raising a glass to The Fleece Inn, 10 years after the fire, are (l to r) pub neighbours Rob Harris and Joe Chatterton, Matt Davis from Croft Building & Conservation, Mark Strutt from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, landlord Nigel Smith

THE well know Fleece Inn at Bretforton marked the 10th anniversary of the blaze that nearly burnt the pub to the ground with a celebration.

The 14th century pub was engulfed in flames on February 27 back in 2004.

News of the fire spread as far as Australia as the pub is a well-known stopping off point for travellers coming to the Cotswolds and beyond.

It was rebuilt by Croft Building and Conservation and architects John C Goom and a decade on it was all smiles as landlord Nigel Smith, the pub’s owners joined with the National Trust, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and Croft Building and Conservation to mark the anniversary.

Mr Smith said: "I was the landlord at the time and I vividly remember the fire starting in the pub’s dugout and quickly spreading to the timbers and thatched roof.

"If it wasn’t for the efforts of the six fire crews that attended, our neighbours, the National Trust conservators rescuing the historic contents and Croft Building & Conservation doing such a fantastic restoration job, the Fleece wouldn’t be the thriving country pub it is today.

"This was an opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved and to remember a significant period in the pub’s history. "

Mr Smith now plans to write a book about The Fleece and capture people’s memories in an oral history project as the tenth anniversary year continues, and would welcome people getting in touch if they have interesting stories to share.

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