Barn at 1 and 3 Black Abbey Street and unnumbered barn adjoining the yard behind the former Red Lion inn


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
1-3 Black Abbey Street, Accrington, BB5 1HT


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Statutory Address:
1-3 Black Abbey Street, Accrington, BB5 1HT

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

Hyndburn (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Combination barn of the late-C18 and a storeyed barn of the late-C18 with a basement shippon of possible C16 origins, both with later alterations.

Reasons for Designation

The barn at 1 and 3 Black Abbey Street and unnumbered barn adjoining the yard behind the former Red Lion inn, Accrington, a combination barn of the late-C18 and a storeyed barn of the late-C18 with basement shippon of possible C16 origins, both with later alterations, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * dating from the late-C18 and incorporating a basement shippon of possible C16 origins; * retaining a significant proportion of their original fabric including (in the combination barn) surviving roof timbers and stone roof and (in the storeyed barn) a stone stable-floor with drainage channel; * with good quality stonework elevating them above the purely functional, including dressed window and door surrounds.

Group value: * with a strong visual and former functional relationship with the listed former Red Lion inn.


Before the Red Lion inn (National Heritage List for England – NHLE - entry 1072741) was built, this was the site of Cowhouses farm, part of a C12 monastic grange associated with Kirkstall Abbey, which in the C13 became a vaccary within the Forest of Accrington. The barn on Black Abbey Street (now numbered 1 and 3, but forming part of 104 and 106 Abbey Street until at least 2002, according to the title documents) was bought with the inn by Jacob Lang (senior, b1770 d1838). Lang probably built the inn via a building society of which he was a trustee, and the surrender of the land to him in 1815 was probably by the building society. Contrary to the information contained in sales particulars of 1844, the storeyed barn on the west side of the yard was not included in the 1815 surrender, but formed part of a second acquisition in 1827 by the building society (represented by four trustees, of whom Jacob Lang was one). The three other trustees surrendered this land to Jacob alone on 21 April 1828.

The two barns are probably roughly contemporary, dating from the second half of the C18, but the storeyed barn has a basement shippon which might be as early as the C16. Originally the barn facing the street was a combination barn of a type common in Lancashire, with shippons in end bays with haylofts over them, and a central bay with opposed arched openings, accessing a threshing floor which would also allow wagons to pass into and through the barn. In this case, the single doors in each end bay probably accessed a manure passage, with cattle facing - and fed from - the central bay. This barn has rubble walling to its east and south faces, but more sophisticated watershot stone to its public, north face. This is almost certainly the original arrangement, as a refronting associated with the inn would not have reinstated the shippon doors.

The storeyed barn has features which indicate stabling use at ground floor, including windows flanking the (now-widened) door and a drainage channel, while features associated with cattle such as raised standings, ventilation slits instead of windows, and feeding and manure passages in front of and behind the cattle are found only in the basement shippon. A blocked hole in the shippon ceiling probably allowed hay to be passed down from the first-floor hayloft, via the ground-floor stable.

Neither barn is recorded separately from the Red Lion in the 1829 rent survey or the 1841 census, confirming that they were then in use by the Red Lion. Ainsworth and Crossley, referrring to these two structures, record that farm buildings on two sides of the yard, one abutting Black Abbey Street and one immediately facing the rear of the Red Lion, that originally formed part of Cowhouses farm, were used in coaching days as stables and coach-houses. In 1824 the inn is recorded as receiving a twice-daily coach between Manchester and Clitheroe, six days a week, which would probably have required two teams of horses to be stabled overnight. The same year the Black Horse is recorded as receiving this service, but the Red Lion operated a two-way service between Accrington and Manchester, and probably had to store an in-service and a spare coach. In the 1830s and 1840s the direct service appears to have ceased, but the Red Lion was receiving three twice-daily services nearly every day. In 1824 the Red Lion was also the hub for almost all of Accrington’s carrier services, hosting five on Mondays and Wednesdays, three on Fridays and one on Saturdays (with only one other carrier listed in the town, operating two days a week). Carriers were still operating from the inn four days a week in 1848. Some of these almost certainly needed storage and stabling close to the inn, and might well have occupied parts of either or both barns.

Between 1827 and 1844, an irregularly-shaped building was attached to the south of the storeyed barn, and this was further developed before 1851. The 1851 town plan does not mark a passage through the central bay of the barn, but an 1864 plan for the Accrington Board of Health (drawn for the purposes of re-paving and flagging the street) shows a splayed entrance to the barn, annotated ‘barn doors’, suggesting that it was still accessible at that date.

In the late-C19 and early-C20 the combination barn was used as a slaughterhouse by James Cronshaw, who had a butcher’s shop at 112 Abbey Street in 1891 and at 110 Abbey Street in 1901. In the C20 it was used as a tyre garage and by a toy manufacturer, but was unoccupied in 2020. The north archway has historically settled and appears to have been repaired using brick, probably in the later-C19. However the jambs show no sign of the archway having been raised, and it was probably originally this height. The retained stone-flag roof covering and uneven ridge line suggest that it retains its original roof structure, referred to by Ainsworth as ‘great rafters’, and probably comprising trusses, purlins and rafters. The rear archway appears to have lost, since 1984, its quoined right-hand jamb (replaced by a brick pillar) and both springing stones for the arch, although the accuracy of an (unpublished, by Accrington Naturalists’ and Antiquarian’s Society) archaeological record drawing of 1984 has been questioned. The stonework above the arch may be missing, or concealed by render. The shippon doorways have all been blocked with stone apart from the south-eastern one which has been partially blocked with brick.

The roof of the storeyed barn has been replaced in asbestos sheeting, stable windows blocked and the doorway widened, with a steel lintel. The purlins and trusses appear to be post-1840s replacements. Put-logs in the wall indicate the floor level of the former hay-loft, which was very tall, although there is no evidence for a second floor. The stable stalls have been removed. In the C20 the barn was used a paint store, and it is still (2020) used for storage. A detailed study of the basement shippon was made in 1963, and it remains unaltered since then. Its entrance passage gives access from an area which was previously grass (presumably originally pasture), later used as a bleach croft and then converted as the Red Lion’s bowling green, and now a car park. The dimensions of the stalls are lavish for cattle in single standings, but the layout and details such as raised standings and a feeding passage with dwarf wall are unsuitable for horses. The door lintel suggests a date as early as the C16.


1 and 3 Black Abbey Street: Combination barn, late-C18, altered.

MATERIALS: buff sandstone, stone roof.

PLAN: central threshing floor with shippons and haylofts at both ends.

EXTERIOR: facing Black Abbey Street adjacent to the former Red Lion inn, with yard to the rear, and abutted to the west by two terraces of shops and cottages.

The north front is watershot (with peeling paint), with a central cart opening and shippon openings at the margins. Between these entrances are stacked windows with stone lintels and sills. The cart opening has a brick depressed arch with historical settling above it, and an inserted commercial frontage. The shippon doorways have been blocked to form windows. All windows are replacements. The splay to the cart-way is concreted. The roof is of graduated stone flags with a timber ogee gutter supported on iron stays.

The west wall is abutted by number 5, with a small portion of the slobbered-rubble gable visible, and open verge. The blind, gabled east wall is of random rubble, with alternating quoins at the left angle, and open verge.

The south wall is of random rubble. The central cart opening has alternating quoins at the left jamb and a brick pillar at the right, with a steel lintel over random-coursed blocking. Some brickwork is visible above the lintel, with render above this up to the eaves. To the right of the cart opening is some temporary timber shoring. The right-hand shippon doorway is partially-blocked by a brick pillar, with a narrow replacement door. The left-hand shippon doorway (including an overlight) is blocked in random-coursed stone. At the left the barn abuts a stables and hay barn. The roof is of graduated stone flags.

INTERIOR: not inspected, but believed to retain the original roof structure and floor surface.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the east wall is abutted by a stone farmyard gatepost with pointed head.

Storeyed barn, Red Lion yard: Stables with hay-loft over, and basement shippon, late-C18 with possible C16 origins.

MATERIALS: buff sandstone.

PLAN: basement shippon with stables above and hay-loft over.

EXTERIOR: forming the west side of the yard to the rear of the Red Lion inn. The front faces east and is of watershot stone in diminishing courses. A central opening has an inserted steel lintel and replacement doors. Either side are blocked former windows. Above is a square pitching door with stone surround. The roof is of corrugated asbestos cement.

The north wall abuts the rear of number 5 Black Abbey Street. The west wall is largely obscured by an outshut to number 5 and by foliage. The gabled south wall is also largely obscured by ivy, but retains the monopitch scar of the roof of a former adjoining building. A blocked opening at the bottom right appears to be a former window. Below this wall, in the face of the retaining wall of the car park to the east, is the entrance to the shippon, which has a moulded lintel and jambs of large, squared blocks.

INTERIOR: the purlins and trusses appear to be machine-sawn. The north wall is plastered, with traces of plaster or limewash on the other walls. The hay-loft floor is missing. The stone-flag floor retains the stabling drainage channel.

The shippon was not inspected but is described based on existing plans and descriptions. It occupies the footprint of the barn above and internally measures 24 feet by 15 feet. It comprises five stalls, with a feeding passage to the east, separated from the stalls by a low wall pierced with small square holes. There is a blocked hole in the ceiling at the north end of the feeding passage. To the west is the rear-walk and manure passage. There is a two-inch step down from the standings to this passage. Four cross-walls define the stalls; each has a narrow arch over the feeding passage, an arched opening with a sill, in the side-wall of the stall, and a wide basket archway for the rear walk, supported by corbels in the rear wall. The walls are slender and constructed of narrow-coursed stone. The left-hand side of each stall has a bolt for tying a stake for a tethering ring. The stone-flag ceiling forms the floor of the stable above. Behind each cross-wall is a square niche in the west wall, within which is a narrow ventilation slit; a similar opening is blocked in the south wall.


Books and journals
Ainsworth, R, The Old Homesteads of Accrington and District, (1928), 122 to 125, 138
Ainsworth, Richard, Crossley, Richard Shaw, Accrington Through the Nineteenth Century, (1927), 28 to 31, 44, 75, 107
Baines, , History, Directory and Gazetteer of Lancashire for 1824 and 1825, (1824), Vol1 588, 649; Vol2 400-401, 638
Pigot and Co, , National Commercial Directory for 1828 and 1829, (1828), 239, 246 to 248, 412
Pigot and Co, , National Commercial Directory, (1834), 256, 257
Pigot and Dean, , Directory for Manchester, Salford, etc for 1824 and 1825, (1824), 265 to 268, 318, 342, 361
Pigot and Son, , General Directory of Manchester, Salford, etc for 1829(Appendix) 75
Tattersall, JE, '‘Shippon at Accrington'' in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire for the year 1963, , Vol. 115, (1964), 177 to 183
‘Accrington’, Lancashire Historic Town Survey (2005), Lancashire County Council, P39
'Black Abbey Barn', Lancashire HER entry PRN24225


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

The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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