Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet



Fire devastates newly weds bungalow

April 1946

Mr and Mrs Hicks married during October 1945, with their first son born 6 months later.
The devastating fire was of such speed, that Ivy Hicks had to lower her son out of the bedroom window, to Rouse her husband in the garden below.
The property possibly 17th century was timber framed and thatched, which would succumb very quickly to any outbreak of fire.
The family then spent the next 15 months living at Ferriers, the home of the Ewer family who kindly offered them accommodation until the property was rebuilt.

Essex and Suffolk Free Press April 18th 1946
Bures Fire— Dramatic Escape

Extract of text from the newspaper

Eighteen months ago Mr.J Rouse Hicks Bures, married and he took his bride to live at Ravensfield, a picturesque thatched and timbered cottage given them as a wedding present by his step-father, Mr. E. S. Ewer, of Ferriers Farm, Bures. Now by a sudden stroke of misfortune, this young couple’s first home, into which they had put much, is no more. On Saturday morning fire broke out there, and within half-an-hour the house and everything in it was completely destroyed and the family are considering themselves lucky to have escaped with their lives.

Graphically describing the tragic occurrence. Mr. Rouse Hicks said: 'About 7 o'clock was working in my garden when I heard my wife, who I had left in bed with our baby son, shout, the place is fire.' I ran to the house and, opening the back door, flames poured forth from the kitchen. Frantically I rushed round to the front and called my wife to lower the baby out of the bedroom window and I caught him in my arms. My wife escaped by the same means, sustaining minor injuries. In that short time the house was blazing inferno. "Never,” said Mr, Hicks, "have I seen anything burn quite so fast and so furiously.” It was absolutely impossible to salvage a thing. Within a matter of minutes we had lost all our possessions. All I have got is what stand up in and wife and baby are just left with their night clothes in which their escape was made

As his mind travelled back over the many hours he had spent in making Ravensfield Cottage the home of his dreams, Mr. Hicks, who also was slightly hurt in the leg, remarked pathetically. "I had done so much to get the place nice, and it was nice. I bought the best furniture. We had killed a pig and the hams and lard were all in the house, so were our bottled fruits and all the sugar we had been saving up for this season's jam making. Now it is all gone. Our clothes, too, our bank books and even our marriage certificate—all have perished in the flames.”

Here the story was taken up by Mr. Hicks' brother. Ivan, just demobilised after service in the R.A.F. He told how their stepfather, leading his sheep across the fields at Ferriers, saw the blaze and called to him to get help. Mr. Ivan Hicks quickly telephoned the Sudbury N.F.S. and got in touch with Mr. W. Moody, officer in charge of Bures N.F.S.'
Smart as they were in getting to the scene, nothing they could do was of any avail, the house was completely down. Mr. Ivan Hicks took the young mother and her baby to Ferriers Farm, where they are being accommodated until they can start a new home of their own again. The N.P.S. worked for several hours pouring water onto the smoking ruins. The cause of the outbreak is not definitely known; but one theory is that is was due to a smouldering beam in the chimney.

Front View :- Rouse and Ivy outside their new home

Rear view with outhouse
All that was left :- the chimneybreast and stack

Could this have been the cottage the Hicks temporarily stayed in ?

Advertised by Ewers in 1932 ?

The house was replaced with a brick-built bungalow and the family returned to their new home some 15 months later in June 1947.

The Bungalow was virtually on the same site as the previous property, but standing a few yards back further from the road

The bungalow, as it stands today in 2017

Research by Alan Beales 06.01.2017
Acknowledgment to Ivy Hicks for her valuable contribution