Aisled threshing barn, CI4, modified in the C18 and early C19. Roof replaced above tie-beam level in the second half of the C20.
Reason for Listing
A C14 aisled threshing barn, located approximately 80 metres north of Copton Manor, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early date and architectural interest: a C14 seven bay aisled timber threshing barn, complete up to tie beam level but without the aisle wall to the three western bays on the north side. It also reuses some C12 or C13 timbers.
* Later additions of interest: the wooden threshing floor is a rare survival, there is an unusual brick arch leading underneath it and an C18 ledged plank door.
* Historic interest: this barn was originally in the ownership of Christchurch Priory Canterbury and is documented in its accounts;
* Group value: groups both historically and geographically with Copton Manor (Grade I).
Copton Manor was in the ownership of Christchurch Priory, Canterbury before the Norman Conquest and documentary evidence refers to manorial buildings in existence here in the C13. A document in the British Library (MS Cotton Galba EIV 102v) states that in 1294 the hall, solar and barn were re-roofed with tile at a cost of £6. Christchurch accounts under Prior Thomas Chillenden (1391-1411) refer to a 'new barn' here. Stylistically this barn is currently considered to have been erected in the C14 but reusing some timbers from an earlier C12 or C13 barn. The barn underwent some alteration in the C18 and early C19 by the replacement of the plinth in brick, re-cladding of the walls and alteration of the two cart entrances. Originally a threshing barn, later part of the interior was partitioned off for animal use.
The building is shown on the first edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey map of 1895. The second edition map of 1896 additionally shows a further section added to the north and the eastern section of the south side extended outwards. The 1907 map shows little change from the earlier map. A 1940s aerial photograph taken from a spitfire shows the barn with a hipped thatched roof, two gabled cart entrances on the north side and the extension on the south side. After the war the roof structure above tie beam level was taken down and the barn was re-roofed in corrugated asbestos.
Copton Manor, which is thought to date from circa 1300 and incorporates scissor-braced roofs behind its Georgian exterior, was listed at Grade I in 1967. In 1980 students from Canterbury School of Architecture studied the barn and suggested a late C14 date. In 1986 this barn was listed at Grade II as part of a re-survey of Sheldwich parish, its date estimated as C15. This barn was examined in the early 1990s by the RCHME as part of their project on Medieval houses in Kent and dated between 1320 and 1340. Dendrochronological dating did not produce conclusive results. This barn has recently been sold into separate ownership from Copton Manor and was mistakenly removed from the statutory list in 2010 instead of another barn at the farm, also listed in 1986 which was demolished several years ago.
Threshing barn later part adapted to animal housing. Probably erected in the early to mid C14 but reusing some earlier timbers of C12 or C13 date. The building was modified in the C18 and early C19 and lost its original roof above tie beam level in the second half of the C20. The late C19 extension on the western end of the north side is not of special interest.
MATERIALS: a timber framed barn, originally probably on a flint and stone plinth, which was replaced in brick in the C18 and its walls have weatherboard cladding. The roof, still hipped and thatched in the 1940s, was subsequently replaced by corrugated asbestos.
PLAN: in plan it is a symmetrical seven bay barn, aisled to both sides and ends, aligned roughly east to west, 36.4 metres long by 9.3 metres wide. It has five full bays and two cantilevered end half bays. It had two threshing bays in the third and fifth bays. A mezzanine floor was later inserted into the eastern part. The three western bays on the north side have lost the aisle walls.
EXTERIOR: the north side has weatherboard cladding to the four western bays and the third bay from the west has a large gabled cart entrance with double doors. The three eastern bays were open-fronted at the time of inspection. The south side has weatherboarding over a C20 brick plinth to the east and over an C18 brick plinth in English bond to the west, which incorporates a brick arch leading to a void under the threshing floor. The south side has two plank doors, one of them C18 and a window opening with shutters and iron hinges. Further west are some small C20 window openings. The west and east ends have weatherboard cladding.
INTERIOR: internally the cross frames have mortise and tenon joints. The arcade posts are substantial timbers of roughly square section and have shouldered jowls supporting the tie beams and arcade plates. Some posts have redundant lap joints at the head of the posts and are reused from an earlier building, probably a barn rather than a domestic building as there is no trace of smoke blackening. Passing braces descend from high on the rear face of the posts into the aisles, crossing the aisle-ties by means of halvings. The wall plates are on top of the aisle ties (reverse assembly). Only three sections of wall plate are used for the whole length. The two end cross frames incorporate reused timbers. The arcade plates have splayed scarfs above the threshing bays and the scarfs have under-squinted abutments. The aisle walls have been renewed over time but some original timbers survive at the east end, including a medieval corner post. A groove on the soffit of the south aisle wallplate shows that the barn walls originally had thick vertical boards. The roof above tie beam level was removed after the Second World War and replaced by a shallow pitched roof with softwood rafters and purlins. The birdsmouths for rafters are present on many of the arcade-plates and aisle wall plates and show the rafters were probably about six inches wide. The roof may have been of crownpost type but as there are no mortises in the tie beams for down braces it could have been of sans-purlin type or a roof combining a crownpost and a central purlin with scissor braces. There is a wooden threshing floor. One south low cart door is an C18 ledged plank door. The eastern end has a modern mezzanine floor, wooden partition wall and internal walls concealing the original wall frame, probably erected for animal shelter.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.