Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Great Fire of Brookfield

The Great Fire of Brookfield has aroused great suspicion this week, with the Horrobins the obvious target of much finger pointing. Assumptions have been made about the motivation for the setting of the fire. We are all being drawn into the shared conviction that the fire is connected to the attack on Adam, and David's "will he/won't he testify" dilemma.

But these and other aspects of the Fire are nothing more than red herrings - or red kippers as they should properly be called after they were smoked in the embers of Brookfield. This was not intimidation. The real perpetrators are very happy that the focus is being drawn away from them but the truth needs to be uncovered. In true Ambridge CSI style, let's examine the facts.

Firstly, history does repeat itself. Consider the similarities with the Great Fire of London. Despite the magnitude of the fire, there were only six fatalities: a badger, two squirrels, a bat, a partridge left in a Christmas decoration stored in a corner of the barn and David's patience.

Secondly, there were echoes of Samuel Pepys as Jennifer was seen digging a hole in the grounds of Home Farm in which to hide her cheese.

And thirdly, Lynda's hay fever and various other ailments are rumoured to have been cured in the wake of the fire.

Much of this - in relation to both the Brookfield and the London fires - is of course apocryphal but take the comparisons a little further. Who gained most from The Great Fire of London? Christopher Wren and the developers of course, who had the opportunity to rebuild the City of London. It is rumoured that there were two developers in particular who made thousands of groats out of the contracts that were on offer: Sir Matteus Crawford (descended from a refugee-made-good from the Armada) and Admiral-of-the-Fleet Lord Bryn Aldridge, King Charles's Keeper of the Tassels (son of a Welsh farmer who found good fortune at court, particularly after successful land acquisitions in rural Hungary).

Sir Matteus and Lord Bryn enjoyed a chequered relationship. Conspiracy theorists attest that they came together in a plan to destroy the City of London and then profit from its reconstruction. The whole scheme was put into motion when Lord Bryn's long suffering wife, the fair Lady Jen, intentionally left a casserole on a hearth in their city apartments in Pudding Lane. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nearly four centuries later it can be no coincidence that Mattheus and Bryn's descendants are in desperate need of land for development in Ambridge - and that a serious fire hits the village.

So perhaps we should be a little less swift to blame the Horrobins, and look a little closer to home. Or, indeed, to Home Farm.

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