Abbey Farm Barn, Thetford

©Richard Bond
©Richard Bond

Region: East of England

Local Authority: Breckland

Owner Type: Local Authority

Funding Body: English Heritage

Year of Intervention: 2000 - 2002

Summary: Precise tree-ring dating demonstrated that the timberwork in these barns at Thetford is pre-Dissolution in date, and so the surviving fabric directly relates to the adjoining Priory ruins.

Description: Abbey Farm Barn in Thetford is a long, rectangular building aligned east-west, with eight bays comprising two major phases of construction. The western half of the building contains the shell of an original four-bay timber-framed building, whereas the eastern section is thought to be post-Dissolution.
Issue: The aim of the investigation is to determine the relationship of the surviving fabric of the barns with the adjacent Priory ruins, in order to inform potential acquisition of the site by English Heritage.
Strategy: Detailed structural recording and tree-ring dating demonstrate that the western end of the barn was constructed in AD 1414-39, and the eastern end in the AD 1530s.
Outcome: The site is still a Building at Risk, but has been sold to a commercial developer. A repair scheme for the barn is currently being drawn up, which is to be informed by the dendrochronology.

Keywords: Assessment and Characterisation, Repair, Reconstruction & Restoration

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