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Granary to the North of High Trees Farmhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Polstead, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0201 / 52°1'12"N

Longitude: 0.8909 / 0°53'27"E

OS Eastings: 598451

OS Northings: 239692

OS Grid: TL984396

Mapcode National: GBR SLL.B1R

Mapcode Global: VHKFD.DH96

Plus Code: 9F422VCR+38

Entry Name: Granary to the North of High Trees Farmhouse

Listing Date: 10 July 1980

Last Amended: 7 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1182361

English Heritage Legacy ID: 277034

Location: Polstead, Babergh, Suffolk, CO6

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Polstead

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Polstead St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

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Granary or possibly maltings dating to the C16 or C17.


Granary or maltings dating to the C16 or C17.

MATERIALS: timber-framing with red brick infill mostly covered in render. Roof covering of plain red clay tiles on the south pitch and corrugated iron on the north pitch except for the two westernmost bays which are covered in tiles.

PLAN: the building is located on the west side of the farmstead and has a long, rectangular plan.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey building has a steeply pitched roof, hipped at the east end, and irregular apertures. The long south elevation has a brick plinth and, from the left, two low double-leaf doors of vertical planks, followed by two horizontal three-light windows in wooden frames with mullions. The doors and windows are not original. To the right is a plank and batten door with strap hinges, followed by an area of exposed brick at ground-floor level. The upper floor is lit by a three-light window, a six-light window and then two three-light windows. A vertical plank door is located in between each pair.

The long rear (north) elevation is rendered at upper-floor level and has exposed brick at ground-floor level, punctuated by eight regularly spaced principal posts. From the left there is a plank and batten door, followed by three three-light windows. The west gable end has weatherboarding across the gable head, and exposed brick on the ground floor with a low buttress at the north end and a truncated buttress at the south end. A high, shallow brick plinth runs between the buttresses. The kiln was located at this end of the building. A two-light window with a wooden mullion has been inserted in the gable end, above which a timber lintel spans the width of the wall. The east gable end is pierced by a two-light window.

INTERIOR: the ground floor has a brick floor covering and is divided into nine bays by substantial tie beams and principal posts with knee braces supporting the ceiling joists. The south wall has studs with primary down bracing and brick infill whilst the north wall has not retained any intermediate posts or bracing. The western-most tie beam and principal post are replacements. There is a late C20/early C21 partition wall at the east end, and a small room has been created in the north-east corner. The timber stairs at the east end of the building date to the same period.

The upper floor retains wall plates and intermediate posts with primary down bracing. It is divided into nine bays by principal rafter roof trusses with substantial principal posts and tie-beams strengthened by knee braces. The collar beams between the principal rafters are not aligned with the tie beams. The through purlins are not arranged in a straight line but are alternately slightly higher or lower between the principal rafters. Above the collar rafters a second series of through purlins of smaller scantling are arranged in a straight line.


Analysis of existing listed farm buildings of all types indicates that the period between 1500 and 1700 was significant for the numbers of farmsteads developed within the county, particularly in central and north-east Suffolk. A small number of pre-1500 survivals are thinly scattered throughout the county, whilst post-1700 buildings are more evenly distributed from the west to the coastal areas with the exception of the southern part of Suffolk Coastal District. The varied patterns of land tenure, from the post-Dissolution distribution of monastic lands to the carefully-planned C19 estate developments in the east of the county, resulted in different phases of investment and development at different times.
Different soil conditions meant that certain areas were better suited to cereal production, whilst others, notably in the eastern coastal districts where lighter soils predominate, favoured livestock grazing, with a much smaller proportion of the land ploughed to produce feed crops. These different regimes required different types of buildings: in east Suffolk, an area where dairy farming produced great wealth, large-scale storage facilities for arable crops was far less likely to be needed than it was in the west of the county where grain production predominated, and where large barns were needed.
The size and relative wealth of the farm holding, whether owned or tenanted, also influenced the level of investment in farm buildings. The late enclosure of land in the east of the county led to the development of new planned farmsteads by large estates. Most other areas of Suffolk were farmed by yeoman farmers who were more likely to extend and adapt existing buildings rather than engage in wholesale redevelopment. In many parts of the county, therefore, there is a significantly high rate of survival of pre-C18 farm buildings and farm houses.
The period between 1770 and 1870 was the most significant phase of farm building development throughout England. Rising grain prices from the 1760s into the early C19, and the impact of agricultural improvement, brought about a significant change in the extent of arable production in Suffolk, accompanied by further investment in farm buildings of all types – not only barns, but also stables, granaries and buildings and enclosures for livestock.

The granary at High Trees Farm dates to the C16 or C17 and is the oldest building on the farmstead, along with the farmhouse. In the will of the wool merchant Thomas Spring of Newstead Manor, dated 1523, the property was left to John Spring of Hitcham. It passed to Richard Bran of Boxford and then to his son John who died in 1610. After this the farmstead belonged to Thomas Fones and his son Samuel who left it to his granddaughter Alice Haw in 1703. By the early C19 the farmstead had been acquired by the Strutt family.
There is evidence to suggest that there was a kiln attached to the west gable end of the granary, indicating that the building was either a granary with adjoining corn-drying kiln or it was a maltings. The low ground load-bearing floor is necessary for both building types but as corn-drying kilns are more usual in highland areas and upland areas vulnerable to cold and damp conditions, the building is perhaps more likely to be a maltings. On the Tithe map of 1840, a projection on the west gable end is depicted in black. This colour was often used for uninhabited buildings which may suggest that the kiln was no longer in use by that date. The first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1886 shows a small projection on the west gable end which had been removed by the second edition map of 1904. A larger projection on the long south side, which was a turkey shed, is shown on both maps but has also since been removed.

Reasons for Listing

The granary or possibly maltings at High Trees Farm, dating to the C16 or C17, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a well-preserved and early surviving agricultural building with a characteristic plan form of a low load-bearing ground floor and higher upper floor.

* the timber frame is substantially complete, retaining a high proportion of its principal rafter roof and wall frames.

Group value:

* it has strong group value with the farmhouse, stable and threshing barn, all listed at Grade II, which altogether form a significant group representative of traditional forms of construction and farming practice.

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