More than 20 sheep and lambs were killed when a fire swept through their barn in Telscombe Village at night.

The six ewes and 15 lambs died when the barn at Stud Farm, in Telscombe Village, went up in flames in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Farmer Ross Armour woke to the sound of explosions at about 1am and discovered the barn, which housed scores of sheep and lambs, ablaze.

Mr Armour said that the sheep and lambs were “burnt to a crisp”.

About a dozen other animals survived the fire but some were charred and coughing after suffering smoke inhalation.

He said: “I was woken up by a loud banging, which was the asbestos and concrete exploding.

“I thought it was kids letting off bangers but I poked my head out the window and saw it was a bit foggy.

“I then realised it was smoke and legged it downstairs and dialled 999.

“It was all up in flames. There was smoke coming out the wooden doors so I grabbed the hosepipe and sprayed what I could.

“We lost six yews and 15 lambs. Some of them were bottle lambs that you feed, which means you nurse them along |in early life and help them survive.

“To lose them in a fire is very sad. The dead bodies are all burnt to a crisp.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze until about 4am.

It is thought that the fire was started accidently by an electrical fault.

The farm, which was home to former Grand National-winning trainer Ambrose Gorham in 1890, dates back to the 1800s.

Mr Armour said: “It could have been worse. The fire brigade said another hour and it would have all been gone, including us and the horses which are nearby.

“We’re moving all the sheep pens over into another barn now, which will take a couple of days.

“The insurance company will be over in a couple of days to inspect the place and take photos of the dead sheep.

“We’re a family farm and we’ve never had anything like this before. It is a shock.”