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 just three quarries being able to supply the stone. Bat surveys and scheduled monument consent was also needed before we could begin any workwork. Even the mortar mix had to be English Heritage approved.
All of the repairs have to be carefully planned around the resident bat population. We'll therefore need to close the barn for a few weeks in 2019 and again in 2024 as we undertake the work that's needed.
You'll still able to see the outside of the barn and you're welcome to ask the builders any questions.
Bat surveys have shown that 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 the 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.