West Pennard Barn, C15, Gower

Record ID:  111911 / MNA140501
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: Listed Building: Grade I
NT Property:  West Pennard Court Barn; South West
Civil Parish:  West Bradley; Mendip; Somerset
Grid Reference:  ST 5468 3704
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Tithe barn built probably for the Sacrist of Glastonbury Abbey or his lessee in the early 15th Century. Of coursed and squared blue lias with freestone Doulting dressings. Red clay tiled gabled roof with two eaves courses in stone tiles.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • TITHE BARN (Early 15th Century, Medieval to Early 21st century - 1066 AD to 2050 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Early 15th Century, Medieval to Late 19th C - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CALF HOUSE (Altered from dovecote 18th/ 19th Century, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)


Roof gable ended with red clay tiles. Bottom two courses in stone tiles. Penticed porches to north and south elevations. Ogee moulded kneelers at gable ends.
North elevation coursed and dressed blue lias rubble. Ashlar quoins to porch and ventilation slits. These are chamfered. Two buttresses either side of porch rising from stepped bases with two offsets. Each porch is hollow moulded. Slightly cambered timber lintel over porch.
West elevation as above. Four tiers of putlog holes and taller buttresses. Cross shaped ventilation slit.
South elevation as above. Straight timber lintel over porch.
East elevation as west. Dovecote attached was originally higher. Subsequent lower roof has exposed nesting holes in east gable end.
Roof in five bays. Raised base cruck trusses supported on wooden blocks near tops of walls. Capped by collar beams with arch braces. Principals cut off at base to allow for purlins to pass through rise to apex where squared ridge purlin is carried in a notch of the upper principal. Three rows of trenched( through) purlins ( now replaced). Two central trusses have been augmented with tie rods. The two westernmost trusses have deteriorated and are partly replaced in softwood. New common rafters.

Gable ended roof with double roman tiles. Originally higher.
South elevation coursed and dressed blue lias rubble. Ashlar quoins. Stepped base. Walls originally higher. Window inserted with projecting concrete sill and pegged timber frame.
East elevation walls as above.
North elevation walls as above. Entrance to dovecote is chamfered. Door originally hung on pintles.
Four low collar trusses in softwood quite close together. Collars are lapped and nailed echoing an older truss at the west end against the barn wall in hardwood. Butted apex. No purlins. Paired modern ridge planks. Felted. Modern.

Most probably built by the Sacrist of Glastonbury Abbey or his lessee in order to house the great tithes of West Bradley Parish. The holding of the church of East Pennard, which included the church and rectory of West Bradley, was granted to the Sacrist of Glastonbury earlier in about 1203.
The barn itself is built of coursed blue lias, with Doulting dressings to quoins and openings. The plan is symmetrical with a central threshing bay. There are full height doors either side to allow a laden wagon to pass inside and drive out. The arch-braced raised base crucks are dated to the early 15th century ( no crucks have been conclusively dated in barns after 1500). The roof would almost certainly have been windbraced ( the present long diagonal windbraces would be 18th century replacements, or copies of), and evidence of this would have been confirmed by looking at the purlins ( now replaced).
The porches were very likely gabled as at the tithe barn at Pilton, but for some reason these have been lost possibly when the roof was repaired in the late 18th century when pentice roofs became popular.
The attached dovecote originally was a higher building. This is denoted by the coping in the east gable end of the barn. The keeping of pigeons was a status symbol accorded only to the Lords of the Manor, in this case the Sacrist of Glastonbury, and remained so until the early 17th century. Pigeons were an important source of fresh meat in the winter and their droppings were valuable for manure and in the making of saltpetre for curing.
Medieval dovecotes were usually round ( as at Avebury Manor) but the West Pennard example was gable-ended. The doves or pigeons would have entered via a lantern arrangement on top of the ridge.
The dovecote was altered in the 18th or 19th century to provide a calf shed.
In 1705 the West Bradley great tithes were in lease to 'Madam Strowd' of Street. In 1840 the lease was in the family of Prat who rented it to a Mrs. Scott. Just two years afterwards the tithe map shows the barn as the 'Parson's Barn', part of the rectory glebe, held by Edward Hyatt and leased to Ann Thorne.
The barn was surveyed by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings in 1932 and presumably, prompted by their report, the barn was repaired in 1938. The restoration work of the 50's, when the barn passed to the Trust, included an attempt to replace accurately the rotted portions of the cruck trusses, strengthening of the central two trusses with tie rods, and a renewal of purlins and rafters. The dovecote was retiled in 1986.

Important Features:
Cruck trusses in barn.


  • SZA220 - Unpublished document: Treasure D. 1990. West Pennard Barn.


Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

Associated Events

  • ENA3057 - Field Survey, Vernacular Building Survey, West Pennard Court Barn, 1990

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded