The following report appeared in the Cambridge Chronicle on 25th July 1874:
Meldreth – Serious fire – A fire under peculiar circumstances took place here on Monday last. The live and dead farming stock of the late Mr Henry Clear had been advertised for sale by direction of the late Mr Clear’s trustees and for various reasons, the sale had been postponed until Monday. At twelve o’clock when the company had assembled and the sale was about to commence, every one was startled at seeing dense volumes of smoke coming from the stack-yard of the adjoining farm in the occupation of Mr Waller. Here it was observed that a straw stack was on fire and, everything being very dry the flames spread with fearful rapidity, the short supply of water being quite inadequate to stay their progress. From Mr Waller’s farm pieces of burning straw and other matter were blown into Mr Clear’s premises, and ignited a haystack there, flames from which soon spread to others and in about an hour property valued at £3,000 on both farms, together with three cottages, was completely destroyed. The dwelling houses, livestock and some implements were saved. The cause of the fire is at present a mystery. We believe the loss is covered by insurance.