Corscombe Court barn
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002837
Date first listed: 28-Sep-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 52588 05449
Tithe barn at Corscombe Court.
Reasons for Designation
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 at Corscombe Court was once part of a monastic grange 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. 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. The tithe barn at Corscombe Court survives well retaining many of its original features.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 January 2016. 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 on the northern side of a moated site on gently sloping ground at the head of a small tributary leading ultimately to the River Yeo. The tithe barn survives as a rectangular plan stone built, slate roofed structure with a gabled protruding porch all standing to full height. The porch has buttresses, a pedestrian entrance in the east wall and an arched main doorway. The roof of the main barn has five bays and retains many original timbers although the ridge and sub-rafters have been renewed along with the slate roof following storm damage in the 1990s. The building is thought to date to the 15th century. The tithe barn was part of a former monastic grange connected with Sherborne Abbey.
The tithe barn is listed Grade II*.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 428
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-195740
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing