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Author Topic: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?  (Read 2392 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« on: October 31, 2016, 01:36:40 pm »
We're re-building our old barn / workshop at the moment (the photo below is four years old, and the roof finally fell in last winter!  :innocent: )





So here's what we found!


The floor of bay 1 (our old goose house) had 2" of concrete poured over wrinkly tin sheets laid directly onto the bare earth. This bay was definitely constructed after the other two.


Bay 3 has never been concreted, and is laid with cobbles over bare earth:





Whilst bay 2 had a couple of inches  of concrete poured over cobbles on either side of a sort of path and trough arrangement made out of larger stones. We also excavated a *lot* of ash from under where the green and white sacks are in the photo, though no scorching was evident on the walls to indicate a fireplace:





So what do you think bay 2 (above) might have been used for then, and what's the significance of the path and channel? ???


Also, we quite fancy preserving the cobbles in bay 3 (the ones in bay 2 all have to come up unfortunately). Do you think we could clean them up and then put a sheet of DPM on top, before pouring a thin screed?


Cheers!  :thumbsup:
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2016, 02:35:18 pm »
I'd say bay 2 was used as a byre, the channel being to drain urine away from beasts - cattle or possibly ponies - tied up.  The 'path' bit would be where they'd dung, the flatter surface being easier to muck out from, and any wet draining away down the channel, and easy to chase down with a broom.

Not much different to the setup in the Cumbrian byre where, until I moved a fortnight ago, I used to milk my Jerseys.

I can't account for the ash, though.  Unless the groom (if it was ponies) or herdsman had a little stove in there, and sat cleaning tack or whatever.  That would usually not be right where the animals were, though, as where there are herbivorous animals there's usually hay... :o
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Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2016, 03:09:05 pm »
I think Sally's probably right. Whatever, it's fab. :thumbsup:

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2016, 04:02:24 pm »
<<< I can't account for the ash, though.  Unless the groom (if it was ponies) or herdsman had a little stove in there, and sat cleaning tack or whatever.  That would usually not be right where the animals were, though, as where there are herbivorous animals there's usually hay... >>>


Not to mention methane :celebrate:     Maybe the hay was stored in Bay A or in a loft.


Yes, a small byre, the water troughs outside being extra clues (they will look lovely with alpine plants in
:garden: .  I thought C was an implement shed from the outside, but it seems too long and thin.


What a wonderful project - keep us in the loop Womble


Just thinking - the whole thing looks like a tiny one roomed house from way back when ?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 04:07:02 pm by Fleecewife »
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Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2016, 04:24:54 pm »
Oh it's one hell of a project!  It would have been sooo much easier to tear it all down and start again, but that seemed so disrespectful. Interestingly, the building in its current form is clearly shown in an old OS map we found online from 1861. So, we have decided to restore it much the way it was, albeit with a wider doorway on bay 2, and taller walls on bay 1 so that it actually becomes a useable space.


Quote from: Fleecewife
Yes, a small byre, the water troughs outside being extra clues


.....which of course I'd wished I'd known when I first spoke to the council - they refused to let us to proceed as a permitted development, because it was "not an agricultural building"!


The stone troughs were actually inside the building when we moved in - they were being used as legs for an ancient iron oil tank which used to run a generator from the days before there was mains electricity. If only those old stones could talk  :) .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2016, 09:22:36 pm »
The building looks in brilliant condition :) Stonework is very good and very well done. What era would you say it was from? We have loads of old stone farm buildings here on farm, dating back from the late 1800's, the house itself was built in 1887. I do love seeing really old buildings, a real part of British history, to think the people who built all that are all long gone now, but their work lives on. Sorry for the ramblings  :roflanim: Could you keep us up to date on how you get on @Womble ? I do so love these type of projects! :excited:
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doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 05:39:09 pm »
Your house must be quite an age so are these buildings about the same? 

I absolutely love old buildings, and I'd be in one now if I'd been able to find one when I was looking 8 years ago

It looks like the entrance in Bay 2 may have granite blocks and the rest are more rounded stones. 
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Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2016, 07:14:14 pm »
I'm with Sally all the way as it looks similar to my byre floor too.  In relation to the ash... are you sure it was created there? Could it be that they simply used clinkers to firm up soft areas?  I have 2 areas of my garden plus the path from the gate to the front door that appear to have been 'ash/rubbish pits'.  I suspect these were created from cinders, clinkers and broken dishes/jars and pots.

Whatever it's a wonderful project!  Wish you well for it.
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pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 05:33:21 am »
It's fabulous. I am so jealous. Our 1950s outbuildings don't have the same quality or ambiance...... They do however have half a fireplace where you wouldn't expect a fireplace so my guess is reused materials from elsewhere. So Scarlet Dragons surmise that the ash is bought in makes a lot of sense. Basically 1600s hardcore to keep the floor solid when it got mucky in the winter.

The DPM and screed seems a really good idea it would be very sad to,take up the cobbles, in another 100 years someone will take up your screed and be sooo pleased to see the cobbles again. Don't think I'd bother cleaning them up first though.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 12:50:33 pm »
What are you going to use it for?  Must you lay a cement screed?


Whatever you do, you should make it reversible.  I have several years of hacking off and raking out cement from our 16th century stone cottage to look forward to, so I know now never ever to use it!

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2016, 12:53:05 pm »
Also, the ash could have just been a storage pile. I know around here it was mixed with lime to produce mortar (in place of some of the sand in the mix).  I have some stone floors here that appear to be bedded in an ash mix.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2016, 01:34:49 pm »
Over here, buildings of that age (and we have bought one 1760) started with a simple house and animal shelters were added alongside in stages- saves building two gable ends with a separate building. As the wealth of the farmer grew a new separate house was built (the smell must have been terrible in the old place) and the original building turned entirely to animals. The trough is for excreta and it would have been swept into a drain to the side. So it is possible that the ash was from a simple stove long since removed?


Good way of insulating a floor, concreting over tin roof panels. Seen it done with bottles.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Who fancies a bit of barn archaeology?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2016, 02:21:53 pm »
Good way of insulating a floor, concreting over tin roof panels. Seen it done with bottles.
Don't ... I have a hay loft floor that is concrete over corrugated tin sheets, done in 1950 something according to the inscription.  Probably seemed like a really good idea at the time ... it's a really expensive and heavy(!) problem now though as the tin sheets start to rust through.
If you want a well insulated, environmentally friendly floor, use limecrete. (lime screed over recycled glass aggregate)

 

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