The barn – Its use on the farm

Barns were built from early times to house corn, hay and sometimes cattle and horses. The word ‘barn’ is derived from Old English ‘bere-ern’, which became shortened to ‘bern’, from ‘bere’ (=barley), and ‘ern’ (=a house).

The present barn is very large – nine bays – and when last used was divided into three sections, by slatted partitions, typical of a missed farm… storing corn in one end, hay in the other, leaving the centre clear for winter work like threshing. The farmyard or stockyard stood to the north on the site of the present car park, surrounded by cattle sheds, and the loaded waggons would enter via the tall central porch doors and their removable thresh-hold below, first with the hay harvest in July and then the corn in August or early September, leaving the central threshing floor clear for winter threshing and winnowing.

Oxen cannot back, so the empty waggons would have left by the lower doors on the southern side. This pair of doors also had a two-foot high threshold so that both doors could be opened to create a through draught to assist winnowing. Winnowing was carried out by tossing the threshold corn in a winnowing fan or basket, the threshold trapping the heavier corn whilst the chaff was blown outside. The midstrey also had normal doors for daily access.