History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Duke's Barn

A Grade II Listed Building in Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street View
Contributor Photos »

Street View is the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the building. In some locations, Street View may not give a view of the actual building, or may not be available at all. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 53.9839 / 53°59'2"N

Longitude: -1.8926 / 1°53'33"W

OS Eastings: 407137

OS Northings: 454209

OS Grid: SE071542

Mapcode National: GBR HQ7C.1M

Mapcode Global: WHB79.W4X6

Entry Name: Duke's Barn

Listing Date: 17 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1451056

Location: Bolton Abbey, Craven, North Yorkshire, BD23

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven

Civil Parish: Bolton Abbey

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


Threshing barn and cow house, C17 or early C18.


Threshing barn and cow house, C17 or early C18.

MATERIALS: gritstone rubble, corrugated asbestos cement, corrugated fibre cement and corrugated steel sheeting over fragments of heather thatch.

PLAN: a long barn with a separated cow house at the east end and small outshot to the rear. The barn has an off-centre threshing door on the south side and a blocked winnowing door on the north side.

The barn is built of roughly coursed rubblestone, more regularly coursed at the east end with a plinth along the long, south elevation and larger quoin stones to the outer corners. The roof is steeply pitched with a low eaves level. It is largely covered by corrugated sheeting with three courses of stone slates at eaves level.

The long, south elevation has a large, off-centre, threshing doorway with stone side walls which rise above eaves level, a timber lintel and a lean-to, stone slate roof. To the right of the threshing door is a vertical rectangular window with a timber lintel immediately beneath the eaves. The window aperture has a three-by-three pane window, the top row opening with a bottom hinge and with horizontal boarding presently over the lowest row. To the right of the window are two closely spaced doorways; the left doorway opening into the barn; the right doorway opening into the cow house. Both have timber lintels and the left doorway has larger quoin stones to the left-hand side, with larger stones in the wall separating the two doorways. The left doorway has a plank and batten door with vertical ventilation slits; the right-hand doorway has a split-stable door. Adjacent to the right-hand doorway is a vertical rectangular window with a stone lintel, presently (2017) boarded over. At the far right-hand end of the elevation is a wide doorway with splayed reveals and a timber lintel. It has a plank and batten door with strap hinges.

The east gable wall has three small, square ventilation holes and a vertical rectangular window beneath to left of centre. The window has a stone sill and lintel with a three-by-three pane window with the two lower rows presently boarded over. Above the window, within the gable, is a large piece of carved masonry (from the Priory), now very weathered.

The long, north elevation is slightly stepped back at the left-hand, cow house end. A small, lean-to outshot is set in from the left-hand outer corner with its right-hand side wall in line with the return of the barn wall. The outshot is built of roughly coursed rubblestone with large quoin stones to its outer corners and a corrugated sheeting roof. It has a doorway in its left-hand side wall with a stone lintel and quoin stones to the right-hand side, and a split-stable door. Immediately adjacent to the right-hand side wall of the outshot is a horizontal rectangular window with stone sill and lintel. It has a four-over-four pane window frame with the top row opening with a bottom hinge. There is a wide, off-centre, winnowing door with a timber lintel and quoin stones, presently infilled with rubblestone.

The west gable wall has a square pitching door in the gable with a plank and batten door with strap hinges.

The barn has two cruck frames dividing the interior into three bays. Both cruck frames have pegged collars. The north blade of the west cruck stands on two squared padstones and the south blade is set into the wall. The north blade of the east cruck is set into the wall and the south blade is shortened and set into the east side wall of the threshing doorway. The cruck frame has two curved braces on its east side. A cross beam has been nailed to the west side with mortices for a partition to the screen off the east bay. The crucks support a diamond ridge beam and two purlins to each side, with roughly-hewn and closely-spaced battens. Lying on the battens are the remnants of heather thatch. There is a stone flagged floor between the threshing door and blocked winnowing door. The west end of the barn has a cobbled floor. The east bay has been concreted. The walls are partially plastered. Separating the barn from the cow house is a rubblestone cross wall. with two small, square ventilation holes and a lamp recess near the doorway in the south wall.

The cow house has a pegged roof truss with a tie-beam. It supports a diamond ridge beam and two purlins to each side, with roughly-hewn battens with remnants of heather thatch. The floor has been concreted.


The characteristic stone-built agricultural buildings of this area are a result of the large-scale rebuilding of farmsteads in the Pennines after 1650, facilitated by the prosperity of cattle farming and favourable terms of tenancy. Duke’s Barn stands on the Bolton Abbey Estate, owned by the Cliffords and then the Cavendish family (the Dukes of Devonshire) from 1748 when Baroness Clifford married William Cavendish. It is a large threshing barn and adjacent walled-off cow house dating from the C17 or early C18. It is one of the largest surviving examples of its type in the Southern Dales and in the northern English uplands as a whole.

The building retains partly reset cruck trusses (most probably brought from another building) and has a steeply-pitched roof characteristic of former heather-thatched barns, with remnants of heather thatch remaining under the present sheeting. Consequently it has a low eaves height of around 2.5m, rather than the higher eaves height of around 4.5m commonly found for the late C18 and C19 storeyed or part-storeyed combination farms in the area, which use roof trusses. The cow house has a particularly wide doorway which is said to have been widened to accommodate the famous Craven Heifer, a Dairy Shorthorn, an improved breed of cow developed from the late C18. The cow was bred on the Bolton Abbey estate by the Revd William Carr in 1807. She weighed 1,132 kg (312 stone) with a girth of 3.1m, and remains the largest cow ever shown in England. The barn is shown with its present footprint on the 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey (OS) map surveyed in 1849 to 1850, published in 1853. At this time it was named as ‘Dixon’s Lathe’, although the name is not shown on later OS maps.

Reasons for Listing

Duke’s Barn, Bolton Abbey Estate, a threshing barn and cow house of C17 or early C18, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest:
* The barn is a local vernacular farm building with gritstone rubble walls, cruck frames and a steeply-pitched roof for heather thatch, an early roof covering commonly used across the central and northern Pennines until the C18;

* The barn clearly shows distinctive regional characteristics as a large, stone-built threshing barn with a cow house at one end under a single roof;

* The barn survives largely intact retaining two cruck trusses and much of the original, pegged roof carpentry, a cobbled floor and stone flagged threshing floor, now a rare survivor.

Historic Interest:
* The construction of the barn using cruck frames and a steeply pitched roof for heather thatch demonstrates an early date;

* Duke’s Barn is one of the largest threshing barns of an early date in the Southern Dales and in the northern English uplands as a whole.

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.