Ancient Monuments

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Medieval grange barn, 228m south-east of Upminster Court

A Scheduled Monument in Cranham, Havering

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Latitude: 51.5668 / 51°34'0"N

Longitude: 0.2569 / 0°15'25"E

OS Eastings: 556522.716501

OS Northings: 187740.253685

OS Grid: TQ565877

Mapcode National: GBR W2.X11

Mapcode Global: VHHN8.DWP8

Entry Name: Medieval grange barn, 228m south-east of Upminster Court

Scheduled Date: 5 November 1971

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1001991

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 113

County: Havering

Electoral Ward/Division: Cranham

Built-Up Area: Havering

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Upminster St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval grange barn situated on a west facing slope overlooking the Ingrebourne River. This weather-boarded aisled barn is about 44m long and 11m wide and has nine bays. There is a gabled entrance in the centre of the north side. The thatched and half-hipped roof is of crown post construction with reversed assembly in the aisles. There is a three rail arrangement of aisle walls with ventilation at the top.
The grange barn was built in about the mid 15th century by Waltham Abbey, when the adjacent Upminster Hall served as a retiring place or hunting seat for the abbot. Waltham Abbey was an Augustinian Abbey at Epping Forest, 22km to the north-east. It was initially founded perhaps as early as about 1030 as a collegiate church of secular canons. It was rebuilt and designated as an Abbey in 1184, after which it became one of the most important and prosperous Abbeys in the country. It was suppressed in 1540. The grange barn formed part of the extensive estates of the Abbey and continued in use after the dissolution. By 1813, three of the bays of the barn had been floored in oak. In 1937, the barn was purchased by Hornchurch Urban District Council. It was re-thatched in 1965 but was damaged by fire in 1973. In 1976, it was opened as an agricultural and folk museum. Dendrochronological analysis of some of the timbers indicates a likely date range of AD 1423-1440 for the felling of the assemblage.
Modern additions and services attached to the barn are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

Sources: Greater London SMR 211338/03/00. NMR TQ58NE2, TL30SE8. PastScape 411358, 367309.
Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia, retrieved from on 20th October 2009

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A grange barn is a large barn belonging to, or associated with a grange; a farm or outlying estate of a religious order. Medieval grange barns were often used for storing tithes from the estates belonging to the religious order.
From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries and abbeys, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225 of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they came to be known as 'black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in parish churches.
Despite some alterations and fire damage in the past, the medieval grange barn at Upminster survives well. It will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the barn and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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