Early history of the barn at Smallhythe Place

back view of barn at Smallhythe Place

Once used as a farm building before its transformation into a theatre, the barn has its own fascinating story.

After the decline of the shipbuilding port at Small Hythe, the house and barn became associated with farming. Despite being throught to have been built in the late 17th century, there is some evidence that the lower part of the building may date from the 16th century or even earlier. Several of the roof timbers are scorched and charred, which could suggest that they may have been salvaged from the fire of 1514, or damaged by a fire in the barn.

The timber frame, four-bay structure of the barn suggests it was originally designed to fulfil a multi-functional purpose, incorporating cattle housing as well as crop storage and processing. Later, in the mid-19th century, several changes were made to the building to increase the crop storage area and various lean-tos were added to the outside. Since then the main structure and features of the barn have changed very little, with the exception of rethatching the roof in 2009.