John Challis has close brush with manure fire near Wigmore Abbey

A manure fire has come close to destroying the country home of sitcom star John Challis. 

The actor – best known as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses – was ‘pottering’ in his greenhouse at Wigmore Abbey, Herefordshire when he ‘heard bangs and explosions’ coming from a barn just yards away from his £750,000 property.

Challis, 76, ran across the lane to see if he could put out the fire before rushing to the abbey to dial 999. 

Actor John Challis 'heard bangs and explosions' when a manure fire broke out near his home 

Actor John Challis 'heard bangs and explosions' when a manure fire broke out near his home 

Actor John Challis ‘heard bangs and explosions’ when a manure fire broke out near his home 

The fire blazed for 24 hours until finally firefighters were able to put it out

The fire blazed for 24 hours until finally firefighters were able to put it out

Challis live tweeted during the incident, taking photos of the firefighters battling the blaze

Challis live tweeted during the incident, taking photos of the firefighters battling the blaze

The actor tweeted during the incident, taking photos of the firefighters battling the blaze

The much-loved star was quick to laugh at the episode after a local fire crew arrived. 

‘Drama at Wigmore Towers! Massive fire broke out in a barn on the other side of the lane,’ he tweeted.  

‘Fire engines are STILL here 24 hours later keeping an eye on the still-smouldering pile of pooh. Hah!’ 

 

Challis displayed his trademark humour while tweeting about the incident 

Challis displayed his trademark humour while tweeting about the incident 

Challis displayed his trademark humour while tweeting about the incident 

Six fire engines rushed to the blaze, which was still burning 24 hours after emergency services arrived. 

The blaze was contained to the barn and did not spread to Wigmore Abbey, thanks to the work of the firefighters.  

A Herefordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said investigations are continuing to determine the cause of the fire.

Challis played the character Boycie for more than 30 years in sitcom Only Fools and Horses

Challis played the character Boycie for more than 30 years in sitcom Only Fools and Horses

Challis played the character Boycie for more than 30 years in sitcom Only Fools and Horses

Wigmore Abbey was used as the set of  The Green, Green Grass between 2005 and 2009

Wigmore Abbey was used as the set of  The Green, Green Grass between 2005 and 2009

Wigmore Abbey was used as the set of  The Green, Green Grass between 2005 and 2009

Challis and his wife, Carol, bought Wigmore Abbey in 1998 and the duo have worked on restoring the property over the past 20 years. 

It was a functioning Augustinian Abbey between 1179 and 1530, when it was razed during Henry VIII’s wide scale destruction of Catholic monasteries. 

Challis released a book, Wigmore Abbey: The Treasure of Mortimer, in 2016 about the history of the property and the restoration efforts. 

The abbey was used as the set for the Only Fools and Horses spin-off – The Green, Green Grass.

The show aired from four seasons and depicted Boycie’s move to the country. 

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