Much-loved Arkesden pub destroyed by fire

The Axe and Compasses in Arkesden, which was due to serve 150 Mother's Day meals, has been destroyed

The Axe and Compasses in Arkesden, which was due to serve 150 Mother's Day meals, has been destroyed - Credit: Saffron Walden Fire Station

A fire has destroyed a much-loved pub on the Essex-Hertfordshire border.

Ten fire crews from Essex and Hertfordshire were called to the Axe and Compasses pub in Arkesden at around 11.39am today (Sunday, March 27).

Sadly, the pub has been destroyed - and the building's thatched roof, first floor and rear side have collapsed.

The pub was due to serve 150 meals on Mother's Day, which were all cancelled.

Despite fire crews' efforts, the historic building was destroyed

Despite fire crews' efforts, the historic building was destroyed - Credit: Saffron Walden Fire Station

Crews from Essex and Hertfordshire battling the blaze

Crews from Essex and Hertfordshire battling the blaze - Credit: Saffron Walden Fire Station

Crews tackling the blaze in Arkesden

Crews tackling the blaze in Arkesden - Credit: Steve Kidman

A passer-by noticed the blaze in a barn conversion attached to the pub and alerted the fire service.

When crews arrived, the two-storey pub was 55 percent alight, with the roof 100 percent ablaze.

Three firefighting units from Saffron Walden attended the scene, along with crews from Royston, Buntingford, Bishop's Stortford, Newport, Stansted and Harlow.

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A water bowser from Halstead, near Braintree, was called in to help with water supply.

The centuries-old Axe and Compasses, Arkesden is partially destroyed

The centuries-old Axe and Compasses, Arkesden is partially destroyed - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Crews from Essex and Hertfordshire rushed to the scene

Crews from Essex and Hertfordshire rushed to the scene - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Although the pub could not be saved, residents set up a chain to help firefighters recover valuable items from the building.

A Saffron Walden fire station spokesperson said: "At 11.45am, our fire engines were sent to fire in a public house in Arkesden, a few miles outside Saffron Walden.

"On arrival our crews were faced with a rapidly developing fire in a barn conversion attached to the pub.

"This quickly spread into the thatch roof."

They said that the East of England Ambulance Service's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Essex Police were on the scene to aid firefighters and look after public safety.

They added: "We were able to salvage a lot of the pub contents before it took hold of the whole building.

"We would like to thank the local community of Arkesden who came out in force to set up a chain to help remove the furniture and other valuable items, opening up their gardens and garages to store the contents of the pub.

"Sadly, 150 meals being prepared for Mothers day were all lost.

"A fire investigation will follow to determine the cause." 

Nobody is thought to have been injured, and nobody was dining in the building at the time.