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Hay Close south west farmstead and associated section of leat

A Grade II Listed Building in Hesket, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7597 / 54°45'34"N

Longitude: -2.8675 / 2°52'3"W

OS Eastings: 344270

OS Northings: 540874

OS Grid: NY442408

Mapcode National: GBR 8FDD.ZK

Mapcode Global: WH80P.XMPH

Entry Name: Hay Close south west farmstead and associated section of leat

Listing Date: 27 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424079

Location: Hesket, Eden, Cumbria, CA11

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

Civil Parish: Hesket

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Ivegill Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

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Water powered threshing barn with attached granary, mill barn and associated leat, mid-C19. The attached rebuilt and modern ranges and the detached hay barn and modern buildings are not included in the listing.


Water powered threshing barn and wheel house with attached straw barn, granary and section of associated leat, mid-C19. C20 alterations.

MATERIALS: red sandstone with ashlar dressings; modern corrugated sheet roof coverings.

PLAN: rectangular threshing barn with attached wheel house and straw barn forms the north west side of a former single courtyard-plan farmstead. A granary forms the north east side of the farmstead, incorporating the main arched entrance to the yard. The barn is fed by a leat from the north east.

EXTERIOR: the buildings are all two storey with hipped roofs with corrugated sheet roof covering. They have prominent quoins and stone slabs to the door surrounds, while windows have plain stone surrounds.

Threshing barn: the north east gable has a rectangular window opening to both floors and a projecting entrance with a pentile roof. The north west elevation is obscured by the attached wheel house at the north east end, a small roofless stone lean-to at the north west end and a timber lean-to roof set between the two; beneath the latter is a substantial entrance to the ground floor of the barn, now blocked. The barn elevation facing onto the yard, has a prominent central arched entrance, now blocked, of similar style and proportions to the principal entrance to the courtyard. To the right there is a slatted window to each floor and a double row of ventilation slits to the left, below which there is a ground floor blocked opening. A bay attached to the left with a lean-to roof has blocked doors set one above the other and is interpreted as a former straw barn.

Wheel House: the north east elevation has an opening to both floors and a sub-ground opening where the leat enters the building. Two large irregular but roughly circular openings are situated immediately to the left of the ground floor opening. The north west elevation has a central window to each floor set one above the other. The south west elevation has a ground floor door and a small window opening to the upper right. The wheel house is fed by a narrow, stone-lined leat, the south western section of which is included in the listing.

Granary: this incorporates the original arched entrance to the farmyard he steading which has a keystone engraved with the initials WM and the date 1836. The outer, north east elevation has a ground-floor entrance set in a stone surround, now partially blocked and there are three identical window openings, fitted with slatted frames, to the first floor. The inner elevation to the farmyard has three first-floor windows in stone surrounds and a pair of inserted entrances.

INTERIORS: a breeze block shall has been constructed within the barn as part of its conversion to a modern grain store. The granary was not inspected. The wheel house has a paved floor and a substantial wheel pit considered to have originally housed an undershot waterwheel. A timber structure has been constructed over the wheel pit and there is evidence to suggest that a modified wheel was later installed, probably relating to the presence of a later concrete chute. The first floor was not accessible and was not inspected.

The attached rebuilt and modern ranges and the detached hay barn and modern buildings are not included in the listing.


The period 1750-1880 is the internationally most important period of farm building development in England. The agricultural revolution of this period was underpinned by an increasing level of government interest and involvement, especially from the 1790s, and saw energetic exchanges of ideas, both at the local level and nationally. This was accompanied by the reorganisation and enlargement of holdings, the final phase of the enclosure of open fields (mostly in the midland counties) and the wholesale enclosure of moors, heath and other ‘waste’ land (often by parliamentary Act). Underpinning all this were rising grain prices and increased demand from a growing urban population. The widespread adoption of improved grasses and winter feed-crops such as turnips, accompanied by the production of good manure by livestock wintered in yards or buildings, played a major role in boosting agricultural productivity.

This period witnessed major developments in farmstead plans and building types. After the 1790s, and especially from the 1840s, farm building design and layout were affected by a number of factors. Most important among these were: the application of scientific principles to planning that led to the more rational use of buildings and communication between them such as the use of multi-functional barn ranges, the extension of mechanisation for working threshing and other machinery; the import of fertilisers and feed such as oilcake; the accommodation and feeding of ever-increasing numbers of livestock in yards that facilitated the recycling of straw and manure to boost the fertility of the land.

South west farmstead at Hay Close was constructed in 1836 by William Marshall to compliment the earlier north east farmstead at Hay Close and it appears to have served largely as a grain storage and processing facility; his initials and the 1836 date are inscribed upon the keystone of the main entrance. At an unknown date, but probably shortly afterwards, a wheel house was attached to the threshing barn, supplied with water through a stone-lined channel supplied from a reservoir; this is considered to have powered a threshing machine and possibly other machinery contained within the attached barn. The steading and associated reservoir and leat is depicted on the 1:10560 Ordnance Survey map published in 1867 and on the first edition 1:2500 plan published in 1895, which furnishes greater detail by virtue of its larger scale.

C20 alterations have included the replacement of most roofs and the blocking of some original openings. The wheel house was also modified by the insertion of a concrete launder and the construction of a timber super-structure which retains evidence of the installation of a later wheel.

Reasons for Listing

Hay Close south west farmstead and south west section of leat, of mid-C19 date is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it falls within the internationally most important period of farm building development in England when there is a presumption of listing well-preserved examples which clearly reflect the agricultural innovations of the period.
* Intactness: the buildings and structures are relatively intact examples of their types.
Rarity: water-powered barns are relatively rare survivals nationally and this is an impressive example which survives complete with its water management system.
* Innovation: it illustrates the development of mechanised processes, which characterises the innovations of the period up to 1880.
* Group value: it represents a small group of functionally and spatially related buildings, which taken together benefit from the group cohesion.

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