Were tar barrels once rolled in Sidmouth?

Ottery Tar Barrels. Ref sho 5907-45-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Ottery Tar Barrels. Ref sho 5907-45-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Remember, remember the fifth of November – and tar barrel rolling in Sidmouth?

Ottery St Mary is famous for the tradition, but Graham Symington found an 1870 article saying it also happened on the streets of Sidmouth.

It said: “Great disorder in the town, houses nearly set on fire by blazing tar-barrels, which were rolled down the streets.”

Graham said: “Apparently, during the latter part of the 19th Century the rolling of lighted barrels in the street was to be discouraged.

“I can only assume that this was due to the risk of them getting out of control and causing fires.”

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Do readers know any more? Email stephen.sumner@archant.co.uk or call 01392 888502.

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