Conservation repair project
A four-phase project has started to repair the stonework of the barn, particularly on the buttresses.
The Blue Lias limestone is relatively rare with availability from just three quarries. Bat surveys and scheduled monument consent was also needed before work could begin, and the mortar mix had to be English Heritage approved.
The Tithe barn will be closed for a few weeks each year in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2024, working around the bats living there.
You will still able to see the outside of the barn and you're welcome to ask the builders any questions.
Bat surveys have shown there are three species of bat roosting in small numbers in the roofing timbers, the Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Long Eared Brown.
Additional species that frequent are a Myotis species (probably the Natterer’s bat), the Lesser Horseshoe and the Noctule.
To ensure no bats are accidentally trapped in the cracks and gaps before repairs are undertaken, bat specialists have carefully checked and inserted rags so the builders know they can fill the mortar gaps.
Through the round window
The small ornate window at one end of the barn is not just a pretty addition, it serves a purpose.
The size of the opening was designed to be large enough to encourage owls to enter the building to help with vermin control in the barn, where the 'tithes' were being stored. These 'tithes' were one tenth of a farm's produce which were given to the Church.
It is thought that the long narrow windows were designed so that people suffering from leprosy didn’t have to enter the building but could remain outside and hear what was going on.