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Monastic grange at Barton Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.343 / 51°20'34"N

Longitude: -2.2552 / 2°15'18"W

OS Eastings: 382322.822549

OS Northings: 160463.571046

OS Grid: ST823604

Mapcode National: GBR 1SC.LPR

Mapcode Global: VH96V.VHNT

Entry Name: Monastic grange at Barton Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1930

Last Amended: 8 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014813

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26710

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bradford-on-Avon

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bradford-on-Avon Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the tithe barn, the West Barn and the associated buried
remains of a medieval monastic grange at Barton Farm, immediately east of the
River Avon at Bradford-on-Avon.
The standing structures are grouped around an open rectangular yard. The most
visually impressive of these is the early 14th century tithe barn on its south
side. Orientated broadly east-west, it is approximately 51m long, 9m wide and
built of coursed rubble and ashlar. The interior is divided into 14 bays with
openings to both the north and south at the fifth and tenth bays. Those on the
north side have large gabled porches, while those on the south are smaller.
The walls are buttressed and the barn retains its original massive cruck-built
timber roof, now stone tiled. The tithe barn is in the care of the Secretary
of State.
A 14th century two storey outbuilding, possibly a granary, lies to the east
side of the yard, which is listed Grade I. This building is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included. On the west side of the
yard lie the ruins of a structure shown by part excavation to be a further
medieval ashlar built barn of cruciform shape, aligned broadly north-south and
originally approximately 40m long and 8.5m wide. Part of this West Barn was
incorporated in a new barn of 1769, itself now derelict and fire-damaged. To
the north of these remains lies a single storey rubble and ashlar building
currently known as `The Stable'. This latter building forms part of the Grade
I listed buildings at Barton Farm and is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.
To the south of the wall which now divides the yard from the gardens of Barton
Farm is an ashlar built and slate-roofed waggon shed of post-medieval date.
This Grade I listed building is also excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath it is included. Excavation has shown that, beneath layers
of 19th century smithing debris, the yard contains medieval deposits relating
to the use of the farmyard.
The grange was planned and laid out by the Abbess of Shaftesbury in the early
14th century and remained in the abbey's possession until the Dissolution. To
the west of the monument lies the medieval Barton Bridge which is the subject
of a separate scheduling.
Barton Farm (Barton House) which is an occupied building and listed Grade I,
all fence posts, railings, paths, areas of hard standing, garden sheds, the
waggon shed and shoring, the building known as `The Stable' and the granary
are excluded from the scheduling; the ground beneath all these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

The agricultural buildings at Barton Farm, Bradford-on-Avon represent a fine
and well preserved example of a monastic grange. The standing remains, the
majority of which date from the early 14th century, can be identified as being
those of an agrarian farm documented as belonging to the Nunnery of
Shaftesbury. Part excavation has demonstrated that associated with the
buildings are buried archaeological deposits with the potential for providing
information about the use of the buildings and the economic basis of the
grange as a whole.
The grange is a rare and important survival. Part of the monument is in the
care of the Secretary of State and its location within an area of public open
space ensures amenity value.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Medieval Tithe Barn, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, (1975)
Pevsner, N , The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, (1975), 137
Pugh, RB (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume VII, (1975), 13
Pugh, RB (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume VII, (1975), 13
Pugh, RB (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume VII, (1975), 13
Burder, A W N, 'Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine' in The Medieval Tithe Barn, Bradford on Avon, Report On The Work Of, , Vol. Vol 39, (1917), 485-488
Haslam, J, 'Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine' in Excavations At Barton Farm, Bradford On Avon 1983, Interim Rept, , Vol. 78, (1983), 120-121

Source: Historic England

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