Tithe barn


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mendip (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 58900 40629


Tithe barn at Pilton.

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 Pilton is a classic example of such an important building which was of great religious, social and political importance to its surrounding community and since careful restoration retains many of its original features and serves to preserve the style and complexity of the contemporary roof.


See Details.


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 Cumhill Farm in the settlement of Pilton. The tithe barn survives as a roughly rectangular in plan building with projecting central gabled cart entrances on the long north and south sides and a series of external buttresses along the long walls. Each gable has a carved Evangelistic symbol with windows set over them, in the main gable ends these are two light openings and above the carriage entrances they are quatre-foil. Along the long walls are tall narrow slits which provided ventilation for grain stored in the barn. The tithe barn dates to the 14th century and is thought to have been built by Abbot Adam de Sodbury of Glastonbury between 1322 and 1334. It is one of four surviving barns connected with Glastonbury Abbey. The barn was originally thatched but was struck by lightning on 23rd June 1963 and the ensuing fire destroyed the original roofing timbers and thatch. It stood as an empty shell for some time before the roof was painstakingly repaired using traditional methods and materials, although it is tiled rather than thatched and thus serves to maintain the integrity of the building. Prior to restoration small trial excavations revealed the stone flagged floors were post medieval and that part of the barn had been latterly used as a horse mill. Pottery from the excavations was of 16th and 17th century date.

The tithe barn is Listed Grade I


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
SO 14
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-538798


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

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