The Great Barn at Buckland

The magnificent great barn at Buckland

One of the most significant buildings at Buckland is the Great Barn, constructed at the same time as the church which it dwarves.

Treasures in store

Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence.

The Cistercians - or "white monks", on account of their undyed habits - led a harsher life than earlier monastic orders, believing in the virtue of a life of austerity, prayer and manual labour. Seeking seclusion, they founded their houses in wild and remote areas where they undertook major land improvement projects. Their communities were often very large and included many lay brethren who acted as ploughmen, dairymen, shepherds, carpenters and masons. The Cistercians' skills as farmers eventually made the order one of the richest and most influential. 

How was the Great Barn used?

The Great Barn provided storage for wool, fleeces, cattle hides and crops such as oats, wheats and other cereals, as well as fruit from the Buckland orchards. 

The barn was more than likely also a Tithe barn - where farmers were required to give one tenth of their produce to the church.

The barn has been used for agricultural purpses since Medieval times and was then modified in the 1790's to conform with 'modern farming practices' of the day. 

View from the Great Barn at Buckland Abbey
Views of autumn through the Great Barn
View from the Great Barn at Buckland Abbey

During World War II the barn was used by the Admiralty to story grain and was still in use until 1948. Evidence of this can be seen on the walls where you can still see large letter imprinted onto the stone. 

Today the barn is used to hold events, exhibitions and of course our fantastic Christmas displays. 

Thank you for your support

Thank you for your support. The team at Buckland work hard to conserve and protect the barn for everyone to enjoy. The barns historical impact in the UK is such that we would like to fundraise for dendrochronological analysis of the medieval roof timbers which will allow us to date the original woodwork and learn more about these Medieval carpenters.