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Cotswold Barns

This local introduction by Tim Jordan appears in full in the Eynsham Record 28 (2011).

Barns have been part of the landscape since the Middle Ages. With a relatively simple architecture they provide a window on to our rural history and traditions, each with their own regional characteristics - especially in the Cotswolds. The harmony most have with their surroundings is largely due to construction in the local stone under the ubiquitous Cotswold stone tiled roofs. However, most are now redundant, incompatible with 21st century machinery and intensive farming.

Eynsham, on the edge the Cotswolds, still demonstrates vestiges of a rural economy and a stroll around the village will reward the interested observer. Several barns within the village envelope have now been converted to other uses, notably domestic housing, though many more have disappeared completely.

On Bitterell a large 18th century barn belonging to Corpus Christi was used during WWII as Eynsham's War Ag Depot, for equipment such as binders and ploughs. Disused for many years, it then burnt down and lay derelict until the mid 70s when it was sold and rebuilt for domestic use. nearby Florey's yard and farm included ‘Little Barn’, also converted in the 70s, with a granary on staddle stones, now lost; along with an adjacent field, since taken over for housing development as Hazeldene Close / Swinford Green.

On the south of Eynsham, Abbey Farm retains a number of original features and outbuildings, along with a very fine barn. This appears to be the most easterly example of the Cotswold feature of diamond shaped holes, in this case above a series of nesting holes. The house itself has been restored; and the outbuildings and associated land were recently the subject of another housing development.

Southfield Barn, along the Stanton Harcourt road, is also up for sale and development. This is a fine Cotswold stone barn with a porch entrance at each end and retaining a number of interesting features including the carpenter's markings on its seven bays (chiselled in Roman numerals in traditional fashion - straight lines being easier to scribe than curved ones).

On Acre End Street, Blankstones Farm had several outbuildings until recently, as well as a stone barn with the rare, if not unique, feature of being entirely brick lined - even to the ventilation slits - and dated as 1805 on an internal tie beam. This group of buildings has recently been converted into further domestic housing. Merton Farm and barn, almost 'next door' to Blankstones, are remembered only by the name of Merton Close.

Wintle's Farmhouse, on the corner of Mill Street / Newland Street, has completely lost its barn, though there seem to be vestiges of outbuildings - at one time Barclays Bank, now The Emporium. On the south side of Newland Street more has been preserved. ‘The Haven’ retains some features of earlier farming days (its large barn has recently undergone major roof repairs and re-thatching). Next door in Newland Close, a small hay barn and adjoining thatched stables (previously in the grounds of The Haven) were converted for domestic use in 1972.

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