Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Winterbourne Medieval Barn to open itself to artisans

Winterbourne Medieval Barn, which was built in 1342, is being revitalized and will soon start hosting local craftsmen on its site. Located in Gloucestershire, the barn is set to become a skills centre where traditional skills, such as carpentry, weaving and pottery can be taught and displayed.

The Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust has received permission to rebuild six craft units in outbuildings and is starting efforts at luring local artisans to set up their shops on the historical site.

Richard Spalding, Chairman of the trust said in an interview with the Gazette Series: "We aim to breathe new life into the barn. We want to get the place working again. It will never be a working farm again because most of the land has been sold off but we are looking to create a centre for rural regeneration. We are turning full circle thinking of the local potential of growing things and resources, which more and more people are interested in during the current climate."

The barn itself was thought to be the largest of its kind when it was built in 1342 by the De Bradeston family, who owned neighbouring Winterbourne Court. It was used to store wheat and barley and for cider production.

"Every other barn like this one collapsed, for whatever reason, but because of the grade 1 soil here, this barn stayed standing," said Mr Spalding.

Several years ago, the site was sold to developers who were interested in turning it into housing, but it has since been put into a trust and restored by the local communuity.

The barn will also host the first Winterbourne Medieval Fair on Saturday, June 27. Re-enacters will help set the scene for a traditional craft and food fair with fun for all the family.

Other events include heritage open days in September, a harvest day in October and a talk by church historian Sally Badham on the Bradestons at Winterbourne Church next month.

For more details about this historic site, see the website for the Winterborune Medieval Barn Trust.