Bredon Barn, Worcestershire


Front of the barn

Historic agricultural building using timber and Cotswold stone, little changed from the 14th century, though damaged in a recent fire
Bredon, 3 miles northeast of Tewkesbury, near the River Avon; GL20 7EJ
Photo Tour (10 images)
Worcestershire contains some of the best preserved medieval barns in the UK, notable examples being at Leigh, Middle Littleton and Bredon, this latter a mid 14th century structure on the west edge of the village, 3 miles northeast of Tewkesbury. The barn was quite severely damaged by fire in 1980, losing most of his roof and some of the supporting timbers, but all has been sympathetically reconstructed, with the new beams indistinguishable from the old, and the masonry is essentially unchanged since its construction. One notable feature, relatively uncommon, is a residential room, above one of the entrances, used by the bailiff in charge of the building; in other aspects Bredon Barn resembles most of those from this period, with a high, pitched roof, narrow window openings, an interior partly divided into bays (nine in this case), and two opposite pairs of doorways, to allow the air to blow through.

Although sometimes described as a tithe barn - a repository for storing local produce given up as taxes - the building is instead a threshing barn, used to store crops and process wheat. It was erected around 1350 and was associated with Worcester Cathedral, as the bishops there were also Lords of Bredon, until the 16th century. After this the barn was rented out to local farmers, as was the situation prior to the 1980 fire. It is now left empty, managed by the National Trust, and open every day. Like other such barns, it is home to many birds, in this case bats and doves.

The Barn

Bredon Barn is adjacent to the local church, close to the River Avon, and reached by a short driveway off the B4080, which passes a residence (Manor Farm) and ends at a grassy parking area on the east side of the building, the only exterior section viewable, as the other walls face private land. The two main entrances, on the east side, are through double doors into gabled stone porches, with the opposite doors flush with the west wall. The bailiff's room, or solar, is above the south porch, accessed by an external stone staircase; it contains a fireplace, two windows and an internal balcony. All sides and the southern two corners are reinforced by slender, stepped buttresses. The interior is loosely divided into a wide central portion and two aisles by the roof support posts, which rest on stone bases. The building (excluding the porches) measures 130 feet by 45 feet. The masonry is a mix of whitish limestone and pale yellow Cotswold stone, while all the timbers are oak.