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West Court Barn

A Grade I Listed Building in Binsted, Hampshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1644 / 51°9'51"N

Longitude: -0.9061 / 0°54'21"W

OS Eastings: 476585

OS Northings: 141142

OS Grid: SU765411

Mapcode National: GBR C96.ZPJ

Mapcode Global: VHDY6.7ZVR

Entry Name: West Court Barn

Listing Date: 15 August 1985

Last Amended: 10 October 2016

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1338987

English Heritage Legacy ID: 142120

Location: Binsted, East Hampshire, Hampshire, GU34

County: Hampshire

District: East Hampshire

Civil Parish: Binsted

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Binsted Holy Cross

Church of England Diocese: Winchester

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Lower Froyle

Summary

Aisled barn. Dated by dendrochronology to 1296-1304. Altered and extended by a bay in the C17 or C18, with later repairs to the roof and later cladding.

Description

Aisled barn. Dated by dendrochronology to 1296-1304. Altered and extended by a bay in the C17 or C18, with later repairs to the roof and later cladding.

MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION: an arch-braced timber frame with a cill beam in most places resting on a later brick or stone rubble plinth. It is clad in horizontal weatherboarding with a corrugated iron roof. It has reversed assembly principal joints, and the principal trusses were originally strengthened with passing braces on one face. The outer walls appear to have been vertically boarded, the boards lodged in chased grooves on the underside of the wallplates. Originally it had a 'sans purlin' roof of common rafters, with collars in the end bays to support the hip roofs above the aisles.

PLAN: an aisled barn originally in six bays including hipped aisled bays at each end, now seven and a half bays since in the C17 or C18 the western hipped bay was replaced by an added bay. It appears to have been a full-height space, with no evidence of a loft.

Currently it has two pairs of opposing entrances, with the principal cart entrance now on the N side, whereas the farmyard lies to the S. Stave holes and mortices in the aisle ties and opposing aisle posts suggest that the barn was divided in two equal halves, and the entrances, Edward Roberts suggests, would logically have been on the S side in the central bay of each half. The presence of the early wall plate, and its low height, suggests that the N wall may have been closed or had a low doorway or doorways.

Inside the main barn part of the cill beam and wall studs in the S wall of the eastern bay have been opened up, linking it to a later cow shed or barn, attached to it at right angles, and enclosing the yard to the S. A small, probably C18 or C19 structure has been built within the bay. The floor level of the two eastern bays is significantly lower than the mean floor surface.

EXTERIOR: the base, which is taller at the eastern end, is of red and grey brick and stone rubble, while the S elevation is partly under-built in brick. Above, timber framed walls are clad in horizontal weatherboarding. The roof is continuous over the aisles, hipped with a small gablet at the W end and half-hipped at the E end, and is clad in corrugated sheeting. Small C20 casement windows or fixed lights have been inserted in the E gable end wall. The current wagon entrance, inserted in the N side of the barn in the third full bay from the W, is beneath a slightly projecting sloping roof raised above eaves level. There is a further full-height entrance in the sixth bay. There are similar opposing entrances on the S elevation, also with raised lintels that cut through the wall plate. All have modern ledge and brace doors or are closed with recent panelling.

INTERIOR: five late-C13 or early-C14 trusses define the full bays of the original six-bay barn. Trusses and arcade plates are numbered with carpenters’ marks in sequence eastwards along the S aisle and westwards along the N side of the barn, indicating the extent of the original building.

Arcade posts stand on later brick or concrete pads or bases, and are braced to the tie beams and arcade plates with curved braces. In some cases there are replaced straight braces, adjacent to the original mortices. Housings for former passing braces are evident on the arcade posts, aisle ties and aisle posts. The outer cill beam survives on the central section of the N wall and eastern end of the S wall. The wall plate, grooved on the underside, survives on the central section of the S wall and most of the N wall, while the wallplate at the western end is also grooved. At the eastern end of the barn the aisle sole plates survive, on brick or stone rubble plinths, on the N side most of the aisle ties remain in place, while in the central N and S bays there is evidence from mortices and stave holes of former partitioning.

Aside from the principal trusses, which define its profile, the roof has been substantially repaired and replaced in the post-medieval period, with a side purlin roof with a single tier of collars, queen struts and slender wind braces. Notches near the apex of the original principal rafters of the end trusses housed collars which would have supported the hip roof of the end bays.

History

The two principal buildings from the historic farmstead of the manor of West Court date from the late C13 to early C14, the timber frame of the house dated by tree ring dating to 1314/15 and the barn to 1296-1304, making the barn the earliest dated barn in the county. It is possible that they may be the earliest fully-framed buildings on the site, which may have had a previous history of buildings with earth-fast posts directly placed in the ground. Together the two buildings provide a rare insight into a farm layout of this period.

The farmstead was built by Richard de Westcote (or West Court) who, through marriage and reward for his services, acquired the resources to build a new house and barn. On his death in 1332 the capital messuage or farmstead included a dovecote, two ponds (fishponds survive SE of the house), a garden worth 3s (shillings) a year, 64 acres of arable land, 4 1/2 acres of meadow and an acre of woodland, as well as other land nearby, and the size of the barn infers he held a large area of arable land. He also paid for a chantry chapel to be erected in his name in Binsted church, which survives.

Embedded in the existing house is the two-bay open hall of the contemporary early C14 house (West Court, listed Grade II, NHLE 1094030), including its cross passage, with opposed doors, at the lower end. The roof indicates that the original service end was on the same alignment as the hall, and was then replaced by a cross wing in the early C17, perhaps coinciding with work on the barn. At the upper end is a two-storey cross wing, which although it has not been dated, is of early type, and integrated with the frame of the hall and thus may be contemporary with the hall. The principal truss of the hall is of base cruck construction, with aisled trusses to each side, and base cruck halls tend to be associated with upper strata medieval houses. The massive scale of the timber and method of construction - but lack of decoration, reflect de Westcote's status as a lord of the manor - but as one of several within the parish of Binsted.

Similarly the aisled barn, originally six bays in length and standing prominently above the lane, in front of the house, also suggests a demonstration of wealth, comparing with the eight or nine bay medieval manorial barns owned by the Bishop of Winchester.

The List entry is informed by an expert assessment by Edward Roberts, 'A Hampshire farmstead of c1300' (nd) and by D W H Miles, Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory, Interim Report 2007/35, 'The Tree-Ring Dating of the House and Barn at West Court, Binsted, Hampshire' (December 2007).

Reasons for Listing

West Court barn, dated by dendrochronology to 1296-1304, altered and extended by a bay in the C17 or C18, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a timber-framed, six-bay aisled barn, with a full sequence of reversed assembly, numbered trusses; with evidence of former passing braces on each truss, of its original hipped roof construction, and of unusual though possibly later plank wall cladding;

* Date and rarity: dated to 1296-1304, making it the earliest dated barn in Hampshire, comparable nationally with the great, ecclesiastical and monastic barns;

* Historic interest: a rare example of a late C13 to early C14 farmstead, built by Richard de Westcote, who through marriage and reward for his services, acquired the resources to build a new house and barn;

* Group value: with the contemporary West Court (National Heritage List for England 1094030), which has embedded within it an early C14 hall and crosswing.

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