At last I’ve been able to get into the Littlebourne Barn and it was worth the wait. It is a fabulous space dating from 1340. I was given a little booklet by Betty which is so concise and well written, there seems little point in trying to rehash it here, so instead (with permission) I have reproduced parts of it. It was written by Peter Bell, Lead conservator at Canterbury City Council.
(from the Peter Bell and CCC booklet:)
In Kent’s rich tradition of timber-framed buildings, the aisled barns represent the best of the carpenter’s art. It was their scale and status in the hierarchy of farm buildings which presented such a challenge to the carpenters of the Middle Ages. Littlebourne Barn is one of the finest and the best preserved of this most imposing of building types.
Littlebourne Barn has all the characteristics of the Kentish aisled Barn: the steeply pitched roof; the long roof slope which sweeps down from the ridge to the low eaves; the oak-boarded walls and the close relationship to the farmhouse and other farm buildings which have long since disappeared. The timber framed walls stand on brick bearer walls which keep the frame and its wooden cladding away from the damp earth. They are clad in riven vertical oak boards which are tarred to keep out the weather. The gaps between each board allowed ventilation to the crops within. The two hipped porches were added in 1961. The original entrances would have been below the aisle plate.
The barn is 172ft long, divided into 7 1/2 bays. According to carpenters marks found in the architectural survey, it originally had nine bays. t is aisled on all four sides, ie it has an aisle or outshot on each of the main body of the building. This was the usual way of achieving greater width that the length of the standard tie beam. The timber frame consists of arcade posts which support arcade plates, which run the length of the barn supporting the rafters.
This section may help!
Tie beams span between the arcade posts at high level and in turn support the crown posts, collar purlins and collars. Crown-post roof construction gives considerable strength to the upper part of the roof and resists the tendency of rafters to crack. It was widely used in the 14C and together with diagonal braces between most of the principal timbers and notably the curved shores between arcade posts and post plates, resulted in a remarkably stable structure. (with thanks to Peter Bell and the Littlebourne Barn Committee)
And now some pictures: I’ve included a few in colour this time but as before I think in general Black & White work better!