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Mustardpot Barn, Mid Suffolk

Description: Mustardpot Barn

Grade: II
Date Listed: 30 October 2012
Building ID: 1409518

OS Grid Reference: TM1469175174
OS Grid Coordinates: 614695, 275176
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3326, 1.1497

Locality: Mid Suffolk
Local Authority: Mid Suffolk District Council
County: Suffolk
Postcode: IP23 7HW

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Listing Text


An early C16 barn, extended in the early C17, with alterations and additions in the C18 and C19, converted into a dwelling in the early C21.

Reason for Listing

Mustardpot Barn is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the early C16 barn is of special interest for the surviving details of construction and carpentry of its timber frame and roof structure;
* Historical interest: the structure is of special interest for the early date of the original barn, and for the alterations and additions that illustrate changes in agricultural practice over a highly significant period in the development of farming in England;
* Intactness: a substantial proportion of the framing and roof structure of the three bays of the early barn survives intact, while significant elements of the additional two south bays, altered in the C18 and C19, are retained. The plan form of the whole structure in its later C19 form has been substantially retained.


The barn associated with Mustardpot Hall on historic Ordnance Survey (OS) maps was originally an early C16, three-bay threshing barn, its main entrance facing east towards the house and onto the farmyard. In the early C17, the barn was extended south by one or two bays, and the threshing floor moved to what had been the south bay of the original barn. The main entrance to the barn may have been moved to the west at the same time or, alternatively, when the porch was constructed in the late C17 or early C18. The framing of the first and second bays of the west wall of the barn are of similar construction to the porch, and may have been reconstructed when that was added. The new entrance in the third bay suggests a symmetrical five bay barn, and if this is the case, then the fifth bay was replaced in the C18 with a structure with lower eaves and roofline; the shorter jowled posts are perhaps identifiable in the south corners of the first floor of the converted building. In the mid-C19 a partition was constructed to separate the fourth bay in order to form a neathouse (cowhouse or dairy), while the C18 structure was partially rebuilt to create a stable, with the eaves raised to the line of those of the barn. This alteration was part of an adaptation of the building to new uses, dictated by a mid-C19 change from arable to a mixed farming regime, and included the erection of open-sided lean-to animal shelters to the north and south of the porch, with a further lean-to cattle shelter and store to the east. A return to more intensive arable cultivation in the region, following the government drive in the 1940s and 1950s for national self-sufficiency, resulted in the laying of concrete floors and the introduction of grain silos into the barn, with the consequent loss of some internal joinery, including the arched braces from posts to tie beams, replaced in the recent conversion of the barn into a dwelling.

A historical survey undertaken in 2007 records the building as it was before conversion, with tall, double doors to the porch, the early barn with a corrugated-iron roof, and the lean-to to the north of the porch with sides filled with apparently recycled windows. The early barn was originally thatched and the walls of both early and later sections covered in clay render applied to laths (a small section survives in the converted building), weatherboarded in the C19. The section to the south of the porch retains its C19 pantiled roof.


MATERIALS: timber frame on a red brick plinth, the porch and north gable rendered, the remaining external walls weatherboarded except for the east lean-to sections, which are red brick. The lean-to roofs are covered in slate, the earlier barn with modern pantiles, and the section to the south of the porch in C19 pantiles.

PLAN: the building is of five bays, with a west facing porch to the central bay flanked by lean-to structures occupying the full length of the building. There are also two distinct but adjoining lean-to structures against the north end of the east elevation.

EXTERIOR: the west elevation is dominated by the full height porch, its roof steeply pitched with glazing filling the gable and the area previously occupied by large double doors. The slated roofs of both lean-to structures rise to the eaves of the barn, the roof of which contains two roof-lights to the north of the porch, and one to the south. The roof-line of this south section is lower than that to the north. To the north the weatherboarded external wall contains one full height tripartite window, while to the south are three casement windows, the pattern of boarding simulating stable doors. Below the line of the eaves in the north gable are two tiers of four-light windows, the lights separated by mullions, and there are three small windows in a line under the gable. The two lean-to structures to the east are distinguished from each other by a clean straight join and by their brickwork - both laid in Flemish bond, but that to the south a darker red - and by the pattern of fenestration. The weatherboarded east elevation to the south has three tall casements to the ground floor with the pattern repeated with smaller casements under the eaves to the first floor. The weatherboarding continues on the south gable end, where a symmetrical pattern of fenestration consists of two two-tier windows rising under the gable, the upper tier a narrow band of three lights with taller three-light casements below. Beneath, to the ground floor, are two three-light casements. There are French doors to either end of the east lean-to, and at the south end of the south-west lean-to.

INTERIOR: the sides of the porch contain studs interrupted by diagonal braces, while its common rafter roof has collars clasping purlins. The three-bay, early-C16 barn remains a single open space, the only substantial insertion a brick chimney stack, tapered and piercing the ridge of the roof within the central bay. The bays are marked by jowled wall posts braced to tie beams by knee braces and by new (replacement) arched braces. The tie beams support queen posts, braced to purlins and cambered collars. The two central trusses appear original, but the south end of the roof has been reconstructed, and there are additional collars. The north end of the roof above the queen posts is of half hipped construction.

The frame of the west wall (between the posts) is of similar construction to the sides of the porch, with eight studs to each bay interrupted by straight diagonal braces, suggesting that it may have been reconstructed when the porch was built. The infill here has been removed, leaving only the timber frame. The outer posts of each bay are also braced to the wall plate. The outer posts of the north bay of the east wall have arched braces to the wall plate passing in front of four substantial studs (at the time of the 2007 survey embedded in the concrete floor) rising from new sill beam to wall plate. The central bay was the original opening onto the farmyard; the posts to either side have no mortices for wall plate braces and the four studs are later insertions. The third bay contains a wide opening, perhaps originally constructed when the threshing floor was moved to this bay. The lintel of this opening, set just below a pair of arched braces from posts to wall plate, carries four short studs. The north gable-end wall contains studs of the same form as those in the north-east bay, with arched braces from corner posts to tie beam, the latter supporting queen posts and four studs. Thus the truss is closed above the tie. The wall studs coincide with the window mullions, concealing them from the inside. To east and west of the original three bay barn additional spaces have been created within the rebuilt lean-to structures, that to the west visible through the timber frame.

The neathouse and stable have been subdivided into five spaces, three accessed from a corridor, the entrance to which is in the centre of the south wall of the early barn, two from the kitchen housed in the lean-to to the west. The timber frame of the neathouse and stable is exposed in the kitchen, with one panel of laths with clay render retained. The floor here is of reclaimed gault brick.

The first floor is reached from stairs set against the south wall of the early, three-bay barn. The first floor contains three spaces and a short corridor. The south room has a roughly hewn round-sectioned tie beam, slightly cambered, with queen studs. Jowled posts with tie beam between below the south wall window may belong to the lower-roofed C18 structure, while a full height jowled post in the east wall (bathroom) probably belongs to the fourth bay of the early-C17 extension to the three bay barn.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.