Tithe Barn, Pilton

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Tithe Barn
Long stone building with buttressed walls and red tiled roof.
Tithe Barn, Pilton is located in Somerset
Tithe Barn, Pilton
Location within Somerset
General information
Town or city Pilton, Somerset
Country England
Coordinates 51°09′48″N 2°35′21″W / 51.1634°N 2.5891°W / 51.1634; -2.5891
Completed 14th century
Client Glastonbury Abbey

The Tithe Barn at Cumhill Farm in Pilton, Somerset, England, was built in the 14th century as a tithe barn to hold produce for Glastonbury Abbey. It is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]

The barn, of coursed and squared rubble,[1] was originally built in the 14th and 15th centuries to hold the produce from farms in the area who paid one tenth of their produce to Glastonbury Abbey as the landowner. It is one of four surviving monastic barns built by the Abbey.[2]


On 9 June 1963 lightning set fire to the thatched roof[3] and it remained a wreck until Michael Eavis, organiser of the Glastonbury Festival, bought it in 1995,[2] and presented the barn to the Pilton Barn Trust.

The project was made possible with a grant of £400,000 from English Heritage. The Glastonbury festival contributed a further £100,000.[4][5]

A new roof, replicating the original, using a combination of traditional carpentry techniques and modern technology,[6] has been built, by Peter McCurdy[7] using skills used when recreating the Globe theatre in London, from English oak which came from Northumberland.[3] The roof frame consists of cruck construction which sit high in the walls with an arcade plate then carrying the apex of the roof above.[8]

McCurdy was also assisted by a local team run by Jon Maine[9][10] who designed and erected the complex scaffolding both internally and externally and then using 8000 36" long oak hand split (riven) battens tiled the roof using over 30,000 hand made plain tiles.

In addition to the new roof a new floor was laid, including a 3 metres (10 ft) wide strip in Blue Lias Stone and 44 cubic meters of lime concrete used to fill the expanses either side. It is said to be the largest expanse of lime concrete flooring anywhere in Europe.[11]

The restoration was nominated for the annual Wood Awards,[12] which recognise and encourage outstanding design, craftmanship and installation in joinery and structures in wood. It was awarded the prize as the Best Use of British Timber Award and Structural Timber Award in 2005. It also received the Royal Institute of British Architects Town and Country Design Award in the same year.[2]

It was officially opened on Friday 1 April 2005 by local historian Sir John Keegan and is now used for public events such as medieval fairs and dances, as well as working as a real farm building for the rest of the time.[3]

Interior of the barn


  1. ^ a b "Former Tithe Barn in farmyard at Cumhill Farm". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b c "Case Study – Pilton Barn" (PDF). Caroe & Partners Architects. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Pilton Tithe Barn shortlisted for Wood Awards". BBC Somerset. BBC. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Michael Eavis talks". BBC Somerset. BBC. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  5. ^ "12th Century Tithe Barn Restored with the Help of the Festival". Glastonbury Festival. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Pilton". McCurdy & Co. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  7. ^ http://www.mccurdyco.com/
  8. ^ http://www.mccurdyco.com/pilton.html
  9. ^ Maine has recently saved Grade 2* Merchants House in Shepton Mallet
  10. ^ http://www.merchants-house.co.uk
  11. ^ "Pilton Tithe Barn". Carrek. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  12. ^ http://www.woodawards.com/