Ancient Monuments

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Bishop's tithe barn

A Scheduled Monument in Wells, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2072 / 51°12'26"N

Longitude: -2.6442 / 2°38'39"W

OS Eastings: 355090.544666

OS Northings: 145531.946763

OS Grid: ST550455

Mapcode National: GBR MN.49WJ

Mapcode Global: VH89S.3XYF

Entry Name: Bishop's tithe barn

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1925

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003247

English Heritage Legacy ID: SO 24

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Wells

Built-Up Area: Wells

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Tithe barn known as the Bishop’s Barn, 45m north west of Islington Farm, Wells.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a tithe barn situated to the south west of the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace in Wells. The tithe barn survives as a roofed basically rectangular plan building standing to full height. The single storey structure has thirteen bays with the central threshing bay being wider and having a projecting gabled porch on both long sides. The long sides have numerous buttresses along with central buttresses on each gable end. Each bay has a slit window with similar windows set high up on the gables and a single square window with tracery over the central buttress in the east end. The porches have rounded arched doorways and further vents. The roofing timbers include double collared trusses with tie beams, curved wind braces, tie beams and purlins and are topped by a slated roof. The south end of the building is divided off by a small partition wall.

The tithe barn is Listed Grade I.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The church in medieval Britain was of vital importance in all parts of life, not just deaths, baptisms and marriages. Church services were the framework of everyday existence and the strict calendar of festivals, Saint’s Days and events laid out by church authority were pivotal. Not only were charges levied for all services provided by the church, but peasants and farmers were expected to provide labour for free and one tenth of their yearly produce to the church as a form of tax called a tithe. Failure to pay tithes was likely to result in eternity spent in Hell undergoing torment, a fate regularly re-iterated during services to ensure parishioners fully complied. The tithe normally took the form of a tenth of the harvested grain which had to be stored in specially constructed barns known as tithe barns which could be extremely grand buildings exhibiting the best aspects of local building methods and materials. The tithe barn known as the Bishop’s Barn, 45m north west of Islington Farm, Wells survives well, is roofed and stands to full height retaining many original features.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-196974 and 528575

Source: Historic England

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