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Lost & Ruined Barns

The loss of our great barns began with the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII when barns such as the two on the right were made unusable. The destruction continues to the present.

In 1900 Francis B Andrews A.R.I.B.A. wrote an article for the Birmingham and Midlands Archaeological Society entitled “Mediaeval or ‘Tithe’ Barns” in which he said: “The following barns at Cholsey, St. Leonard's, Ely, Peterborough, and Acton Burnell, are amongst the most important that have been demolished and of which any record remains; but there can be no doubt that many others of equal if not of greater size and pretence have been pulled down without any record being secured.”

In 1966 S.E. Rigold, F.S.A. Wrote an article "Some Major Kentish Barns" in Archaeologica Cantiana Vol LXXXI 1966 where he said:“Three particularly grievous recent losses among the timber barns of Kent have come after decades of undocumented destruction. In April, 1962, the unique and beautifully maintained barn at Nettlestead Place was accidentally burned; the smaller and less well preserved of the splendid pair at Court Lodge Farm, Lenham was fired by two urchins in September, 1962; late in 1965 the barn at Davington Court, the finest of its somewhat later sort, was demolished after a strenuous search for a use for it amid new housing, though it will be re-erected, at least in part, at East Haxted Farm, Edenbridge.

Since then there have been a number of other losses including a rather fine barn at Sudbury which was completely destroyed and the loss of four bays of Frindsbury Manor Farm Barn. Fortunately the latter is being restored, but these examples highlight the continuing threat to our ancient barns.

ruins of Llanthony Secunda Abbey Barn, Gloucester

ruins of Beaulieu Abbey Great Barn, Hampshire

Cholsey Great Barn, Oxfordshire & Peterborough Tithe Barn,
both demolished in the 19th century