Burning of Fairfield

A re-enactor on a horse

A re-enactor during the Fairfield Museum's Opening Celebration, September, 2007

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The Library and Special Collections contain a wealth of information on the Burning of Fairfield. If you are working on a project, or simply want to learn more, we invite you to visit us and examine our resources. View a PDF about the Burning of Fairfield.

The Burning of Fairfield

On the morning of July 7, 1779, some 2,000 British soldiers made landfall on Fairfield Beach. Over the course of the next two days, the town of Fairfield, which had supported independence, was raided and almost completely destroyed.

In depositions given almost three weeks later, several women described the events of those two days following the landing of the British. Their testimonies are quoted in Royal R. Hinman’s A Historical Collection.

The destruction wreaked by the British was extensive and had lasting impacts on Fairfield’s economy and development. Within the Four Squares, only six houses survived the burning. Their modern addresses are:

952 Old Post Road, Andrew and Elizabeth Rowland’s House
249 Beach Road, the Tucker-Maltbie-Hobart House
289 Beach Road, Justin Hobart’s House
303 Beach Road, Nathaniel Bulkley’s House
349 Beach Road, Ebenezer Bulkley’s House
290 Beach Road, Bulkley’s Tavern (original structure no longer standing)

An itemized list of the material damage caused by the British in Greens Farms and Fairfield, is also published in Royal R. Hinman’s A Historical Collection.

Did You Know?

No image of the Burning of Fairfield or its immediate aftermath has been identified. Whether the event was not thought worth depicting, or whether it was treated as an unpleasant memory to be suppressed—we have to reconstruct the Burning of Fairfield from textual testimony alone.

To Find Out More

Child, Frank Samuel. An Old New England Town; Sketches of Life, Scenery, Character. New York: Scribner, 1895.
974.6971 C536ct (ch.8)

“Few Buildings Remained in Fairfield, After Tryon’s Expedition, 150 Years Ago.” Fairfield News, July 6, 1929.
Vertical File, Heading: Fairfield—Burning by the British

Hinman, Royal R. (comp.). A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files, &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, During the War of the Revolution. With an Appendix, Containing Important Letters, Depositions, &c., Written During the War. Hartford: E. Gleason, 1842. 973.3446 H663h

Lee, Bill. A Map of Colonial Fairfield.
Vertical File, Heading: Fairfield—Burning by the British

Lossing, Benson. A Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. New York: Harper, 1860.
973.3 L881p

Miner, Marcia. “July 7, 1779, A Day to Remember.” Fairfield Citizen-News, July 7, 1999.
Vertical File, Heading: Fairfield—Burning by the British

Model of Fairfield 1779 [Map]. 200th Anniversary. Fairfield, Conn: Fairfield Public Library, 1979.
Vertical File, Heading: Fairfield—Burning by the British

Perigo, Lynn (comp.). The Burning of Fairfield, July 7-8, 1779. Fairfield: Pequot Library, 1981.
Q974.6971 P458

Perry, Loretta Brundige. “The Burning of Fairfield.” Radio Transcript (n.d.).
974.6971 P464b

Townshend, Charles Hervey. The British Invasion of New Haven, Connecticut, Together With Some Account of Their Landing and Burning the Towns of Fairfield and Norwalk, July 1779. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1879.
974.68 T747b