Folly known as Colin’s Barn, with associated boundary walls and structures


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Unnamed road off Crudwell Lane, Crudwell, Wiltshire, SN16 9HA


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Statutory Address:
Unnamed road off Crudwell Lane, Crudwell, Wiltshire, SN16 9HA

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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Folly, with associated boundary walls and structures, built between the late 1980s and 1999 by stained glass artist and farmer Colin Stokes.

Reasons for Designation

The folly known as Colin’s Barn, with associated boundary walls and structures, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a remarkable and unique example of a late C20 folly, a relatively rare building type; * for its honest and expressive use of local materials using traditional building techniques to create an organically evolved, well-crafted building of demonstrative imagination and creativity that imbues the building with a strong aesthetic quality; * for its good level of overall survival retaining its form and decorative elements.

Historic interest:

* as a recent example in a long tradition of folly building associated with English landscape design.


Colin’s Barn was built between the late 1980s and 1999 by Colin Stokes (1944-2018), a stained glass artist by profession, but also a farmer of rare breed sheep and poultry. The folly was initially intended to be a barn for hay storage, but during its construction, using the stone that was found lying in the surrounding fields, it gradually evolved into the extensive folly that survives today. The building included sheltering for animals, a loft area for Stokes to sleep in during lambing season, and a building known as The Hermitage which was used as his retreat. To the loft and The Hermitage are stained glass windows designed and made by Stokes.


Folly, with associated boundary walls and structures, built between the late 1980s and 1999 by stained glass artist and farmer Colin Stokes.

MATERIALS: constructed of dry stone walls secured with cement, with roofs covered in stone slates; some sections of pitched roof are covered in pantiles. It has timber plank and batten entrance doors and stone-framed windows in a variety of forms, unglazed or featuring stained glass. The floors are a combination of earth, tile, brick and timber.

PLAN: facing roughly south the folly comprises an evolved, linear plan of interlinked one and two storey structures that extend from west to east, with the boundary walls forming an integral part of the building’s form. The principal structures appear to have been arranged as animal accommodation with a loft area to the west end, a single cell building to the east of centre known as The Hermitage and used as a retreat, and to the east end is a detached barn that is open-fronted to its north elevation.

EXTERIOR: overall the building and its boundary walls is an intricately woven, multi-level arrangement of linked organic forms. The west end features a combination of arches and walls supporting curved and steeply pitched roofs, with turrets, dovecotes, nesting boxes, eyebrow dormers and Romanesque-style windows as features. The shallow-pitched, two-storey range to the immediate east incorporates ground-floor stone mullion windows and a stained glass Diocletian window to the first floor. The east gable end wall has turrets, offsets and nesting boxes and extends south to form an archway that rests on the boundary wall. A single-storey wall continues to the east incorporating further stone mullion openings and terminating with a flying buttress that extends forward to form a pair of square gate piers surmounted by round turrets each with a single nesting box and conical roof. Set back to the north is a two-bay structure with pointed archways at ground floor and a large round turret with splayed, square openings at eaves level and a bottle-kiln shaped roof.

The single-storey, single-cell range known as The Hermitage has a pitched roof and stepped gable end walls. The west doorway is flanked by narrow rectangular windows with a circular window and a stone plaque featuring Celtic knot work, above. The eaves level timber bargeboard to the south elevation has cusped detailing and beneath is an arrangement of paired lancet windows set within relieving arches, with arched recesses beneath. The flying buttress to the south-east corner is of twisted form incorporating a dovecote and turret. There are further stained glass windows to the east and north elevation.

The single-storey, two-bay detached building to the east end has a pitched roof and is open-fronted to its north elevation.

INTERIOR: the two-storey west end forms a series of linked spaces with supporting square piers and round-arched openings, and featuring arched recesses, many incorporating stone shelves. The floors are a combination of earth and timber, and include a section of brick floor at first-level laid in a herringbone pattern. The walls are exposed or cement-rendered.

The Hermitage has a brick floor with an encaustic-tiled floor to the threshold and includes a dry-stone wall winder staircase and a fixed seat. The walls are decorated with plasterwork animals and foliage, and to the east end are rectangular windows with decorative iron work. The building incorporates a series of hand-crafted stained glass lancet windows depicting representations of the four seasons and are signed and dated with a lozenge motif incorporating the initials ‘CJS’ and the date ‘’89’.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the dry-stone boundary walls, of straight and curved section, have a combination of cock and hen coping stones and stone slate capping, and include gate piers, arches, nesting boxes, turrets and flying buttresses as features. The section of wall that extends south, from the south-west corner of the folly, includes a sentry post with a conical roof containing nesting boxes.


Colin’s Barn – The Whimsical Abandoned Hay Barn Built By Hand, 22 November 2018, accessed 1 February 2021 from
Colin’s Barn: Exploring the Wiltshire ‘Hobbit House', 16 March 2016, accessed 1 February 2021 from
Report - Colin’s Barn (The Hobbit House), Chedglow, Wiltshire, 15 May 2015, accessed 1 February 2021 from
The hobbit house , accessed 1 February 2021 from
Edmonds L, 'I got a bit carried away: Sheep farmer spent 11 years building elaborate Hobbit House by hand - then abandoned it when a new quarry disturbed his peace'. Daily Mail (8 November 2013)


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

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