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Repairing the barn’s stonework at Ashleworth Tithe Barn

External shot of Ashleworth Tithe Barn, Gloucestershire
Ashleworth Tithe Barn | © National Trust/Lisa Edinborough

The stonework of our beautiful 15th-century tithe barn is being carefully repaired for future generations. Find out what the project will entail and why it has to be delicately planned around the resident bat population.

The conservation project

A four-phase project started in 2020 to repair the stonework of Ashleworth Tithe 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 work. Even the mortar mix had to be approved by English Heritage.

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 2024 as we undertake the work that's required.

You'll still be able to see the outside of the barn and you're welcome to ask the builders any questions.

Bat management

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.

Two Brown long-eared bats, Plecotus auritus, hanging upside down
Brown long-eared bats | © National Trust Images / Chris Damant

Additional species that frequent the barn are a Myotis species (probably the Natterer’s bat), the Lesser Horseshoe and the Noctule.

To ensure that 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. The 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.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)


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