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Barn at Chithams Farm

A Grade II Listed Building in Ramsden Heath, Essex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6344 / 51°38'3"N

Longitude: 0.4649 / 0°27'53"E

OS Eastings: 570681

OS Northings: 195721

OS Grid: TQ706957

Mapcode National: GBR PLP.JCH

Mapcode Global: VHJKN.05MX

Entry Name: Barn at Chithams Farm

Listing Date: 7 February 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1396443

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507792

Location: South Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Essex, CM11

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford

Civil Parish: South Hanningfield

Built-Up Area: Ramsden Heath

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Downham St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Listing Text

SOUTH HANNINGFIELD

719/0/10117 HEATH ROAD
07-FEB-11 Ramsdon Heath
(South of)
87
Barn at Chithams Farm

GV II
Barn, late-C14, with late-C18 and later C19 additions and alterations, C20 repairs and insertions, including reroofing. Oak framed on a brick plinth, with some later softwood, external softwood weatherboarding, floors are flagstone to the central bay and concrete over asphalt in the bays to either side. The roof is covered in concrete tiles.

PLAN: The original rectangular three-bay aisled barn has a porch to the west of the central bay, with large double doors opposing a slightly smaller opening in the east elevation. At the north end of the barn is the late-C18 two-storey extension, with a mid-late C19 outshut attached to its north gable end. The north extension is linked to a single-storey stable range by a door to the west. This range is aligned west-east.

EXTERIOR: The barn roof is half-hipped to the south, but continues straight over the two-storey late-C18 extension to the north, which is stepped back from the original three-bay barn on both west and east sides. To the south of this late-C18 extension the barn has a centrally placed almost full height gabled porch containing late-C19 double doors placed slightly off-centre and a small pedestrian door immediately to the north. To the south of the junction with the garages, the late-C18 extension contains an early-C20 door and six-light window. At the west end of the south elevation is a C20 half-glazed door with a twelve-light window above, and below the eaves is a C20 casement window. The west door gives access to the room south of the west porch. In the east elevation the roof is raised over the double doors. The walls to either side of the entrance contain extensive C20 glazing: small casements to the south and translucent sheets of corrugated plastic to the north. The late-C18 extension to the north is recessed on this side, and has a casement window to both ground and first floors. The north elevation has a door to the hayloft under the gable and above the outshut. The garages attached to the north end of the west elevation have large C20 up-and-over steel doors.

INTERIOR: Inside, the most complete wall is to the east. This has regularly spaced studs between principal jowled posts, with downward braces from the posts passing on the outside of the wall studs. The posts support the aisle plate, the aisle ties resting on both. A mortice just below the jowl of each of the main posts originally housed the end of a passing brace which was trenched into the aisle tie, the braces are now lost. From the aisle posts curved braces support the arcade plate and a straight brace supports the tie beam. The aisle plate has been cut through to allow for the insertion of the later large doors. At the south end, the aisle plate contains a scarf joint repaired with an iron tie. Two telegraph poles have been inserted to support the arcade plate in the central bay.

To the west, an internal wall is formed by the partition that separates the aisle from the main body of the barn. To either side of the porch are massive jowled posts supporting the arcade plate, which has been cut through and removed above the opening to the porch. A tie beam has been inserted across the opening, with either end resting on the tie beams that cross the body of the barn. To the south of the porch is a curved brace from post to arcade plate, while a later straight brace from both north and south posts supports the porch tie beam. From the north post a straight brace supports the tie beam across the body of the barn, but this is missing from the south post. To the south of the porch reused studs are interspersed with later straight sawn studs. The wall is largely weather-boarded, but at ground-floor level the panels between studs are infilled with bricks of different sizes. To the north of the porch the construction is similar, but wattle and daub has also been used to fill the panels. The store room to the south of the porch, now the seed store, has an external wall of studs infilled with brick, and the walls are lined with tin. There is a plank and batten door from the porch into the store room. To the north of the porch is the apple store, lined with slatted storage racks. The walls are partly lined with wattle and daub. The south wall of the barn has mill-sawn softwood studs, but retains its early posts, including the central post and tie beam. In the north wall the panels below the midrail have been removed, but the central post and aisle posts remain in place.

The roof is of crown-post construction, the crown plate supporting collars to each pair of rafters, although some of the collars are lost. The rafters below the arcade plate are not continuations of those above. The roof was later remodelled with one set of purlins added below the original collars and the crown-post braces. These are clasped by regularly spaced collars and are additionally supported by even later struts from the tie beams. A purlin was also added to the east aisle. The construction of the south gablet remains intact, but the north extension was constructed by removing the hipped north end of the roof and adding new rafters to arcade height.

The removal of the original north wall below the midrail has opened the barn at ground-floor level to the late-C18 two-storey extension. The north gable-end wall is boarded at ground-floor level, but in the loft the studwork is exposed above the tie beam. The ground-floor ceiling has a reused chamfered axial beam and machined softwood joists. The interior walls of the garages to the west are boarded, and both the loft and garage roofs are modern.

HISTORY: Chitham's Farm is an isolated farmstead to the west of the village of Ramsden Heath, consisting of a farmhouse, barn and a dovecot, modified for use as a shed. The house, the historic core of which is a timber framed hall and cross-wing, occupies the north-west corner of a moated enclosure, while the barn is immediately to the east, but outside the moat. The moat causeway is positioned off-centre across the moat's east arm to provide a direct link between the main entrances of house and barn, emphasising the significant and probably contemporary relationship between the two. The date of the moat is uncertain, but the barn and house can be closely dated by their constructional detail to the late-C14.

The late-C14 three-bay barn would originally have had open aisles but no porch. The arcade plate to the west was later cut through to create the present high opening, and it seems probable that this work would have been carried out in the C16, in line with other Essex barns. The next main phase of work was undertaken in the late-C18 or early-C19, but before 1838, the date the Tithe Map was produced. The map shows that the barn had by then been extended to the north and a further range of stables added at the north-west corner, linked to the extension. The latter contained two horse stalls with loft over. The stable range is now used as garages. Other modifications to the barn undertaken before 1838 included rebuilding the west wall, re-using its original timbers to construct an internal partition on the line of the west arcade, thereby creating storage rooms to north and south of the porch. The late C14 roof was also reinforced with the insertion of side purlins, and the whole structure raised on a brick plinth. In 1874 an outshut was added to the north gable end of the pre-1838 north extension, which this appears on the Ordnance Survey map of that date.

The barn was again repaired and refurbished in the 1960s or 1970s when the building was re-roofed in Leighton concrete roof tiles; raking struts were inserted between the tie beams and side purlins to give additional support. At the north end the roof over the loft was completely rebuilt using modern softwood, and a new staircase was added; the north wall of the barn was removed below the midrail. At the south end of the barn a mezzanine-floor was inserted, accessed by steps against the west partition wall.

SOURCES: Hillman-Crouch, B J. Description and analysis of a timber-framed aisled barn at Chithams. (Surveyed 1st Feb 2010)
Historic Farmsteads. Preliminary Character Statement: East of England

REASON FOR DESIGNATION: The barn at Chithams Farm, part of a late-C14 farmstead, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Intactness: Its medieval fabric remains substantially intact, including its crown-post roof, and retains constructional elements that provide evidence of its date.
* Evolution: The late-C18 additions and modifications illustrate the evolution of agricultural practice in the early years of the agricultural revolution.
* Group value: It forms an important and unusually surviving group with the contemporary listed house and scheduled moat, illustrating the emergence of a class of prosperous free peasant farmers in the C14 and C15.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

The barn at Chithams Farm, part of a late-C14 farmstead, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Intactness: Its medieval fabric remains substantially intact, including its crown-post roof, and retains constructional elements that provide evidence of its date.
* Evolution: The late-C18 additions and modifications illustrate the evolution of agricultural practice in the early years of the agricultural revolution.
* Group value: It forms an important and unusually surviving group with the contemporary listed house and scheduled moat, illustrating the emergence of a class of prosperous free peasant farmers in the C14 and C15.

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