• richardfree

Q: When is a barn not a barn? A: When its an Ecclesiastical Grange

After the local Castle and Church, the 'Barn' was probably the next most important building for several hundred years from the C13th. There was a heirachy and depending on how important the owner was, they could be built to impress.

This is the Great Barn in Harmondsworth (English Heritage) which Sir John Betjeman described as 'The Cathedral of Middlesex'. He was unknowingly correct as it was built by the Bishop of Winchester and is supposed to impose the grandeur of a cathedral onto its tenant community and probably intimidate them into paying up. Its actually an ecclesiastical grange.

A lesser known ecclesiastical grange is Bredon Tythe Barn which was built by the slightly less wealthy Bishop of Worcester.

Dropping slightly down the order is the Manorial Barn, a larger and more impressive version of the more well known tythe barn, which was built to resemble an ecclesiastical grange. We were involved with one in Aylton near Hereford. It is vaery rare and is Grade II* listed.

Interestingly the historical rsearch showed it was built by the Royal Manor, past to the Bishopric of Hereford and then given back to the Manor in 1539 following the Dissolution of the Monastaries.

It was in a serious state of disrepair and the brief was to return it back to its original condition. As a barn had been on the site for centuries and there were remnants of other structures too it was decided that after dentochronoligcally most of the timbers to 1503 that would be the date to which it would be re-instated.

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