A thousand years of history disappeared overnight when Dunsland House, Bradford, Holsworthy, was destroyed by fire early on Saturday.
The phrase is that of Mr John Manley Price, the curator, who, with his mother, Mrs Enid Caffyn, had lived at the house for the past nine years. They probably own their lives to their sheepdog whose barking awoke Mr Price at about 3.15am. The house was then filled with smoke and so intense was the heat that the roof tiles were exploding.
The fire had put the phone out of action and Mr Price had to drive to Brandis Corner to raise the alarm. When he returned it was obvious that nothing could be done to save the mansion, owned by the National Trust, or its contents. ‘It was a raging inferno’ said Mr Price.
‘This is a 100 per cent disaster’ commented Mr N Trinnick who is secretary of the Trust committee for Devon and Cornwall. ‘Dunsland will never be rebuilt’.
Units of the County Fire Brigade from Torrington, Holsworthy and Hatherleigh fought the blaze although it was apparent from the time they arrived that nothing could be done. An electrical fault is thought to have caused the blaze.
Mr Price and his mother are staying for the time being with Mr Tony Lacey, prospective Liberal candidate for Torrington, and Mrs Lacey, at Fernlea, near Holsworthy.
The full Gazette article is dated 24 November 1967.