Please login to vote.
Sunday, 01 May 2022

Cotswolds Barns Featured

Written by Russ and Emily Firlik
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(48 votes)


Part Two of Our Favorite Villages in the Cotswolds, England


The Cotswolds contain some of the finest traditional barns in all of Britain. They are an important part of historical architecture. For me, barns are as important to discover as the pretty villages, sheep grazing in the countryside, hedges, thatched cottages and Norman churches. In fact, William Morris called “the barn as noble as a cathedral.” In the Middle Ages, the tithe barns were an important part of the community, as they stored the church tax which was one-tenth of the grain, produce and other items the parishioners produced. Its interesting to observe the evolution of the barn's beginnings, which had two porches on each side, some made of Cotswold stone, others curved timbers or cruck blades. Modern farming techniques require different uses of barns, and though these have outlived their working lives, they've been marvelously preserved. We selected some of the best preserved tithe barns of Lacock, Middle Littleton, and Great Coxwell from the 13th - 14th century to share here.



Lacock - Wiltshire


Lacock (est. pop. 1,200) - Wiltshire - is a village that has not changed in 500 years, and is now owned by the National Trust. We learned that Locock was a planned village, established for the estate workers of the abbey in the 13th century, and the village streets form a square. Upon entering High Street, you see, with amazement, the large Abbey and cloister founded in 1232. We learned that Sir William Sharington purchased the remains of the Augustinian nunnery in 1540 - (the tithe barn was used to store the nun’s grain), then he built a country house on the cloister court. Architecturally, the house is constructed of ashlar and rubble stone, the roofs are of stone slates and there are many lovely twisted, sixteenth century chimney stacks. There are different styles used, and it sort of lacks harmonious proportions. For example, the east front looks more medieval than the other sides, perhaps early 1900's, and the south end appears 16th century. The mullion windows and Tudor style arched doorways are a treat to discover and observe. Next to the courtyard is the oldest brew house in Britain, we were told. The Fox Talbot Museum on the ground floor includes his contributions to photography, and much more. As usual, the keen, courteous, and knowledgeable staff were always there to help answer my multitude of questions, but they did so with ease and grace.


The medieval church of St. Cyriac, originally Saxon, then Norman and now Early English (1190 - 1290 ), includes marble carved tombs and stone carvings throughout the church. The churchyard of St. Cyriac – a peaceful place to walk, contemplate and enjoy – has many chest tombs and gargoyles to delight the interested. .


Nonetheless, although we were here to partake in all of the medieval village’s offerings, the barn, however, was our focus. The medieval Tithe Barn runs parallel to East Street and meets High Street in the heart of the historic village. Its 130 ft long and 42 ft wide. One end of the barn is cut at an angle and once had an entrance doorway, and at the east end a wagon porch exit door leads onto East Street.

 60fd2b52 6177 4229 A0cb C4478c71b4c4

The barn is built with blocks of limestone rubble supporting a cruck-framed roof. The roof is topped with heavy slate tiles. The interior is split into eight bays by large cruck trusses supported on blocks of dressed stone. If you look carefully at the timber, one can observe carpenter marks and at the roof are stone finials, supposed to guard against evil-spirits. The floor is made of hard packed earth. Fortunately, they had posted specific details about the construction process.

Bd1e5550 E6bb 4e7f 9a80 79d544da310c


Ee08ddc8 91be 4aaa 881c 83dee6b6eec8


The barn in Locock has been thoroughly restored to look as it would have in the medieval period. The day we were there the barn was open for visitors and we slowly wandered around with absolute bliss, admiring the beautiful restoration and the large open space. This is reason enough to spend some quality time at this incredible medieval structure.

(Page 1 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 May 2022

Search Content by Map


All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2022 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.