Repairing a rare 400 year old barn in Langdale

Great Landgale in the Lake District, Cumbria
Published : 04 Apr 2019

On Monday 8 April work will begin to carry out much needed repairs to a rare 400 year old cruck barn in Great Langdale near Ambleside.

Wall End Barn was built between 1612 and 1615 - a period when national events included the publication of the 'King James Bible' (1611) and the death of English poet and playwright William Shakespeare (1616). The barn would have stored fodder and housed animals and was in use up until the 1980s. It is now all that remains of the original Wall End Farm. 

The Grade 11 listed building is made out of three 'A-frames', or crucks. They rise from the ground to the top and support the walls and roof. The crucks have become twisted and the dry built walls, on the southern gable end, could soon collapse onto the single track road which is a public highway.    

Between Monday 8 April and Monday 5 May the road to Blea Tarn from Great Langdale will be closed, and a diversion in place, to allow work to take place as part of an eight week programme.

National Trust Building Surveyor Shirley Pye says there was a narrow window of opportunity to carry out the renovations. As she explains:

“We have to work around the three types of bats who roost in the barn – who are currently in a temporary new home – and a cycle event on the 12 May. We realise this is inconvenient but we hope people will bear with us and see that the work is important.

“Cruck barns are not uncommon in Cumbria but most are difficult to date and are not as old. With Wall End Barn we know precisely when it was built and it shines a light accurately on the building techniques of the time. We need to preserve this for future generations to see. These repairs should safeguard the building for at least another 100 years” adds Shirley.

Work on parts of the roof barn were last carried out 44 years ago and, at some point in its history, the very tops of the crucks were removed, lowering the roof height.

This time the repairs are aimed at stabilising the cruck structure. This will include removing the roof, straightening the crucks and replacing the roof as well as rebuilding the southern gable and replacing some of the lintels over the main door.

This work will cost £67,000 and is funded by visits people make to our pub and car parks in Langdale. Every time you spend with us it helps us to care for the valley. Thank you for your support.