In late 1987, Matt discovered that he had inherited Crossgill Farm from the previous owner Mr Metcalfe. Dolly insisted that they move out of Emmerdale and make a fresh start at Crossgill.
Local builder Phil Pearce was hired to renovate the property for Matt & Dolly in early 1988, and, one afternoon, he carelessly left rags lying around the place, which caught fire whilst Annie Sugden was trapped inside.
Matt had initially refused to move out of Emmerdale, and, as a result, was secretly relieved when Crossgill burned down as it no longer offered them the chance of a new life. This stunt was one of the most spectacular of the 1980s alongside the 1982 caravan fire, Pat Sugden's car crash and Jackie Merrick's motorbike accident. See, life in Beckindale was far from sleepy in the 1980s.