Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great Coxwell Barn, Oxfordshire

This is a rather better known building than most of the others in this blog, but it's a personal favourite and it deserves to be known even more widely. It's one of the barns built by Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire to store the corn produced on the monastery's far-flung estates. Built in around 1300 of glowing Cotswold stone, it's a barn on a grand scale – it's just over 150 feet in length and the doors are broad enough for the farm's biggest carts to drive straight in. Smaller openings in the walls are for owls to fly in and eat up any rats or mice rash enough to nibble away at the grain. Inside, from threshing-floor to rafters, the space soars like a cathedral – a comparison made by William Morris, one of this glorious building's greatest admirers.

Great Coxwell Barn, about 2 miles southwest of Faringdon, is owned by the National Trust. Visit it if you get the chance.


neil said...

It's worth visiting Great Coxwell Barn at Christmas for the surprise of a large-scale papier maché Nativity scene, complete with angels soaring among the rafters.

wildgoose said...

Interesting. I had assumed it was this barn that was famously painted by John Piper: "Tithe Barn, Great Coxwell, Berkshire" but the differing county names suggest otherwise even though the building looks remarkably similar.

Watercolour Painting.