Barn, byres and stable, 20m north of High Meadow House


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Barn and Byres 20m north of High Meadow House


Ordnance survey map of Barn, byres and stable, 20m north of High Meadow House
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Statutory Address:
Barn and Byres 20m north of High Meadow House

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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Bardon Mill
National Grid Reference:
NY 80253 65363


Barn and Byres, later C18/possibly early C19, with a stable extension.

Reasons for Designation

High Meadow House Barn of later C18 or early C19 date, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a rare survival in the region of an oak cruck-framed building , described recently as the 'last gasp of a dying tradition in the region'; * for its crude post-medieval carpentry including four cruck pairs with distinctly irregular blades of split tree trunks; * a rare survival nationally of a formerly more widespread heather-thatch vernacular tradition; * an evolved, multi-purpose agricultural building, whose phasing is evident and whose functions are readable; * a rare survival in England of the combined cruck-frame and heather-thatch vernacular traditions.

Group value:

* it has a spatial and historic group value with two other cruck-framed and heather-thatched buildings in the locality, all listed at Grade II* for their rarity.


The original building at High Meadows has long been thought to be an C18 construction of a single-storey, single-volume linear building, later adapted by the insertion of a pair of stone cross walls. However it has recently been suggested that the stone cross walls might be contemporary with the cruck-framed building, leading to the further suggestion that the barn may be later in date than previously thought and originate in the early C19 as a late lingering of the timber cruck-framed tradition in the locality. The original building was subsequently extended to the east by the addition of what is considered to be a stable, and the heather thatch roof extended across the whole. The building is depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map published in 1863 as a linear range forming part of 'High Meadows'. It has the same footprint as the present day with small rectangular buildings attached to the north east and the south west corners.

In the mid-1990s repair work was carried out to the roof, including consolidation of existing upper stonework, the replacement of some rafters and purlins and the replacement of the heather thatch itself. The later stable roof is now missing, and a detailed description of the building compiled in 1990 describes further (probably quite late) timber fittings to the interior, which are also absent.

Cruck-framed buildings, once considered a widespread vernacular building type in the north of England, are now relatively rare north of the River Tees and especially in Northumberland. Heather-thatched buildings, once a similarly widespread vernacular tradition, are now extremely rare survivals nationally and number only a handful. Heather-thatch declined rapidly in the C19, replaced by stone slates and subsequently by Welsh slate after the coming of the railways. The rare combination of timber-framed cruck construction and heather thatch is found in only three examples in the region, all within the Bardon Mill area of Northumberland. Their significance is reflected in their inclusion on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) at Grade II*. The other two are Barn north-west of Burncliffe (NHLE: 1045243) and Causeway House (NHLE: 1045241).


Barn and Byres, later C18/ possibly early C19, with stable extension.

MATERIALS: coursed local sandstone rubble, with cut quoins and dressings to the later extension; heather thatch to original building.

PLAN: rectangular six-bay barn with four cruck trusses, divided into three units by a pair of stone cross walls. Attached and abutting the east end is an added unit thought to have been a stable.

EXTERIOR: the building is oriented east to west and has a rough boulder plinth and a steeply pitched roof of heather thatch, except for the eastern end which is roofless. The south elevation has four entrances: three to the original building with renewed timber lintels, that to the left fitted with a narrow plank stable-door. The fourth entrance is in the eastern stable extension and has large blocks forming rebated and internally splayed jambs and a heavy stone lintel; the door is split vertically into two with a pair of strap hinges. The west gable has six similar slit vents in three levels, and the east gable of the original building has a number of projecting through stones. The rear elevation has two entrances placed opposite the west and central doors of the south elevation, that to right is fitted with a narrow plank door.

INTERIOR: stone cross walls are of rubble construction and divide the building into three roughly equal units. The most westerly cross wall rises up and over the wall-heads to the ridge, and the most easterly rises only to the height of the wall head. The westernmost section has opposing entrances, a north-south through passage and a stone-flagged floor; considered together with its ventilation slits, it is considered likely to have functioned as a barn. The central section, also with opposing entrances, has an original stone threshold with sockets for timber door jambs, and a central cobbled passage flanked by slightly raised cobbled surfaces edged with large blocks of stone; this section is interpreted as a byre. The easternmost unit is thought to have been an additional byre or loose box, an interpretation supported by internal timber fittings described at the time of listing in 1985 and recorded again in 1990. The roofless stable extension is devoid of features.

The pegged, oak, cruck framed roof structure remains in place comprising four cruck pairs, all with collars extended beyond the cruck blades to support purlins, and a ridge-piece carried between the overlapped ends of the blades. Blades are formed of individual tree trunks and several are extremely wany in form. Those in the barn section spring from the walls, but those in the byre are set on stone pads above the floor, at the east side of the opposing doors. Both blades of the latter show evidence of re-use, with empty sockets at different levels, one retaining a peg. In the byre/loose box two cruck pairs spring from the walls; both collars show evidence of re-use, with empty sockets and pegholes. Throughout, the oak purlins support oak and pine common rafters which are either roughly split broad lengths of timber, or slender trunks.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Dower, R, 'Consolidation and repair of a heather-thatched barn' in Journal of Architectural Conservation, , Vol. 21 Issue 1, (8 May 2015), 12-29
Dower, R, Ryder, P, 'The Black barn at Tow House, Bardon Mill, Northumberland: a heather-thatched barn and its context' in Archaeologia Aeliana, , Vol. 45, (2016), 159-185
A written description by M Emery 1990 entitled: High Meadow Farm, Heather Thatched Range. Available at Northumberland Historic Environment Record Ref: 7574


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 24 Apr 2007
Reference: IOE01/15651/29
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Spence. Source Historic England Archive
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