Destructive Fire at Mote Park House

20th May 1865
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Extract of THE ROSCOMMON MESSENGER, 20 May 1865, pp. 1-2 "DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT MOTE PARK "

On Tuesday night last, Mote Park House, the handsome residence of Lord Crofton, was almost totally consumed by fire—nothing but the walls are left standing with the exception of a portion of the left wing of the building. To this quarter the efforts of those in attendance were chiefly directed, as it was connected with an extensive range of [word], and owing to the proximity of large water [word] they fortunately succeeded in cutting off the communication and arresting the farther progress of the flames. The first intelligence of the casualty reached Roscommon by the 11 o’clock mail train, when all those who heard of it hastened out to render what assistance they could—the church bell too tolled for some time, and the astonishment with which many heard of the accident on the following morning can scarcely be conceived. When the townspeople reached, though the flames were as yet confined to the upper rooms, in which the fire had originated, yet it had gained much mastery, bursting through the roof, that all attempts to extinguish it in the absence of a fire engine were absurd. Efforts were then directed to save the furniture . . .

The only members of Lord Crofton’s family who were at home at the time were the Hon Alfred and Lady Crofton, and the latter had only time to have her little grand nephews removed from the nursery on the upper story, after the alarm had been given, when this portion of the building became untenable. It was fortunate that no accident occurred to life or limb though there were some slight hurts from the falling timbers. . . .

Mr. Stuart (James Stewart) acted with considerable coolness, and it was owing in a great measure to his having set the cocks of the water cisterns running on the first alarm, that the people were enabled to cut off communications with the left wing, as stated above, the Hon. Alfred Crofton also exposed himself to considerable danger on several occasions.

On the following day large numbers repaired to visit the ruins and freely expressed their regret at the destruction of a mansion, which the noble owner had ever directed with so much taste and genuine hospitality. . . .

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