Thursday, April 08, 2010

Conservation plans outlined to save deserted medieval village

Proposals to carry out much-needed conservation work to three structures at a deserted medieval village in Teesdale, County Durham, England were outlined last week at an event hosted by Natural England.

Natural England has stepped in to offer help to fund the essential conservation work at the abandoned village at Barforth, near Gainford, that would protect the bridge, 12th century St Lawrence’s Chapel, and a medieval dovecote from further deterioration.

St. Lawrence's Chapel, Barforth. Photo by Hugh Mortimer

The three buildings are the only remaining evidence of the now vanished settlement - also known as ‘Old Richmond’ - and Natural England is in discussion with the landowner to provide funding through its agri-environment schemes for conservation work to be carried out on the buildings.

About forty local residents attended the meeting, where archaeologists and specialist engineers gave presentations on how the conservation work would be carried out.

The chapel, dovecote and bridge are listed on the ‘Heritage At Risk’ register and Natural England is working with English Heritage and specialist historic building conservation experts Countryside Consultants of Alston to help safeguard the three structures at Barforth.

Natural England’s Agri-Environment Stewardship schemes, such as the Higher Level and Countryside Stewardship schemes, can provide a valuable financial incentive for owners and occupiers of historic buildings to carry out repairs. Natural England specialists work with farmers and land owners to provide advice and incentives for environmentally friendly land management practices that can also protect and enhance an historic building or feature that is associated with a farmed landscape.

Source: Natural England