|The fire on the eve of the sale of an antiquity once kept there (ITV)|
A large fire has broken out at the historic Castle Ashby House in Northamptonshire on the day before the Sekhemka sale. Staff were evacuated from the site’s estate office, Wednesday afternoon. The estate office housed various different artefacts and memorabilia relating to the historic house.
Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the building just metres from the main house. A total of 12 fire crews attended the incident with between 50 and 60 firefighters tackling the blaze. David Harding, area manager for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Crews arrived to find the estate office fully involved in fire. All persons were safely evacuated from the building and no one was injured. “The fire is now under control,” he said at about 5pm. Fire bosses at the scene said it was too early to say what had caused the fire. [...] One eyewitness said: “It looks a big one to me and it looks like the office has been gutted.”[...] The medieval Castle Ashby estate was bought by William Compton in 1512 before his grandson, Henry Lord Compton, replaced it 62 years later with the building that stands there today. It has, since then, been passed down to Compton heirs for 15 generations.One commentator has already made the connection: "Is this the curse of Sekhemka? Has Lord Northampton and the Council awaken the wrath of the slumbering Sekhemka? The wrath of the people of Northamptonshire is tangible at this crooked deal". Anyway, the Marquess of Northampton will now have something to spend his two-million cut of the profits from the sale of this tomb sculpture.
Northampton Chronicle and Echo, 'Huge fire severely damages building at historic Castle Ashby House in Northamptonshire', 9th July 2014.
ITV, 'Northamptonshire: Fire breaks out at historic Castle Ashby estate', 9th July 2014.