THE CAREW MANOR
BARN, WALLINGTON, EXCAVATION 2016
The Carew Manor Barn, Wallington, excavation 2016 - John Phillips writes:
In 2015 the society carried out an excavation which sampled the foundations of a large former outbuilding to the north of a former country house now known as Carew Manor. Shown left is part of a late 18th/early 19th century broach found during the course of that excavation.
The excavation exposed the lower part of a foundation which most likely supported an exceptionally large timber framed aisled barn about 69m long by 11m wide. Very limited dating evidence suggested that the foundation dated from the early 18th century and that it may have been constructed when an older barn was moved. It however raised two major questions that this year's excavation will seek to answer read more.......
This excavation is part of the Society’s contribution to a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for Beddington Park which has been submitted by Sutton Council and has successfully passed stage 1. Sutton is currently awaiting the final outcome of a funding decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund that should be known by the end of July this year.
Design for the 2016 excavation - click HERE
Report from the 2015 excavation - click HERE
1 August 2016
2 August 2016
3 August 2016
4 August 2016
CAPTION RIGHT: The south wall looking towards the inside if the building.
CAPTION LEFT: The north wall of the barn at the end of work.
5 August 2016
I have also taken a series of measurements so I can try to work out the size and layout of the whole building from the section we have excavated. The barn was almost certainly of timber on a foundation of flint, chalk and mortar. The roof would have been supported by two lines of vertical posts on each side similar to the Harmondsworth barn shown above. The posts divide the length of the building into a series of sections known as bays. 19th century maps suggest that the building was about 69m (226ft) long by 11m (36ft) wide. The excavations last year and this have uncovered the north side of the western-most 3 bays. These are about the same length – the average is 5.32m. If the building had 13 bays it would have a length of around 69.75m allowing for the thickness of the end wall. This is obviously very close to the 69m suggested by the maps. We have a direct measurement of the external width – 11.56m. This means that the barn was slightly larger than Harmondsworth.
Big barns like this were used for bringing the harvest in after it had been cut by hand using scythes. The grain would still be attached to the straw so it was very bulky. Several of the bays were provided with doors – usually on both sides – so that the wagons could be run in under cover and unloaded. The crop was then stacked and later taken back to the wagon bays to be threshed by hand. The wagon bays needed to be spread out along the length of the barn so the crop could be stacked close to the carts.
If there were 13 bays at Beddington the likely arrangement was:
This would make an efficient arrangement.
This can be used to estimate the volume of crops store and the area of land they came from. More to follow in the next couple of days.
6 August 2016
I have had a change to have an initial think about how much the barn would hold and what area of land would be needed to grow the crop. An old text book – Hints to young valuers by Anthony Cragg (1901) gives the weight of a cubic foot of various stacked crops and also the yield per acre from which it is possible to work out area needed to grow a given volume of crops. There are various uncertainties around crop yields; how high the barn was stacked and the ratio between straw and seed in the medieval period. It may be possible to reduce some of these but at present it looks as if the barn would hold the harvest from about 100 acres.The next question is how this relates to the Carew’s estates. This is not easy to calculate, and may need some new research which may take some time. It may not even be answerable. I will see.
We have finally got some dating evidence from the fill of a pit cut into the foundation at the northwest corner. It consists of two pieces of bottle glass attached to a mass of mortar (pictured left) which had clearly come from the foundation although it was not attached to it. The glass must have been included in the building when it was made. I have not yet looked at the bottle in detail but it must be 17th or 18th century and it strongly suggests that the foundation was made then. It is possible that the barn was newly built at that date but I think it was probably an older building that had been moved. 17th and 18th century carpenters tended to use a large number of nails some of which are scattered over the site when the building is demolished. We have found very few nails suggesting that the joints were fixed with wooden pegs in the medieval manner. The barn may have been moved to clear the view from the house into the park. We will look at the glass tomorrow to see if it can be more closely dated.
10 August 2016
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