Monday, March 5, 2007

The Great Barn, Wanborough #1

Well, it doesn't really look very interesting, does it? A barn is a barn, right? They all look the same, right?

Well, this one is a bit different. First, it's absolutely huge. Perhaps the picture doesn't do it justice, but it's bigger than most country churches. You can see the big door on the side, where the loaded cart went in. The cart did NOT come out that end door; that's a relatively new adaptation for visitors. There was another exit door on the other side which, up until 1974 at least, was functioning.

Notice the roof - in stead of "gable" ends , this barn has a steeply-pitched "hipped" roof with a little air vent at the top. That's because it used to be thatched, but now it's tiled with locally-made "Farnham" pantiles, which came in in the eighteenth century. The barn itself isn't eighteenth century- it was built around 1388, when the whole manor was owned by Waverley Abbey, and it would a have held the Abbey 's corn and hay. There probably never was much of a village here, though, and it probably disappeared well before Henry VIII dissolved Waverley Abbey in 1536. He sold the whole manor to a great Lord (whose name I don't remember) and it remained under and absentee landlord for centuries afterwards. However, when I first found this barn it was till a fully-functioning entity- it had hay in it, and a threshing floor. How it survived for 620+ years without being adapted or destroyed is a minor miracle.