High House is lucky enough to have a timber-framed barn dating from the 1700’s that was incredibly well preserved, like most of the farm. During its restoration, pictured above, the timber framing of the barn was in such good condition after nearly 300 years that only about 1% of the timber-work needed to be repaired or replaced, leaving the heritage of the barn for all to see.
Originally, the barn was built to store and thrash the wheat crops grown and harvested in local fields that would have been used to make bread and beer. The two barn doors that can be seen in the photograph were complemented with two others on the opposite site of the barn.
When the crops were cut on the fields they were brought into the barn, where a hand turned thrashing machine would be to separate the wheat heads from other material, known as chaff. The double doors were used to cause a through draft, which would help to blow the chaff away from the wheat that was needed to produce bread or beer. Some of the wheat would have most likely have been used to produce homemade bread for the house with the bread oven on the end of the coachman’s cottage.
This feature was, however, out-dated in 20 to 30 years, as the hand operated thrashers were replaced by the newly invented steam powered thrashers, which in-turn were replaced by tractors, and eventually being replaced by the modern dedicated diesel powered thrashers we see today.
From the photographs, it is such a marked contrast to the barn during its restoration. So many man hours, care and attention have made this magnificent building come back to life in such an extraordinary way.
These timber structures have seen so much history and change within Thurrock and the country as a whole; it is incredible to think what these beams have born witness to.
The result after only a few weeks of restorations is remarkable. This is such a wonderful building and will be a truly incredible environment for people to enjoy and appreciate.
Plans for the redevelopment of the barn indicate that this will be used as a class room for teaching apprentices the back-stage crafts that the Royal Opera House will need in their new Production Park, which will make the scenery for their Operas and Ballets in Covent Garden stage in London.