Tyne and Wear HER(15780): Barmston, Low Barmston Farm, medieval building? - Details
Barmston, Low Barmston Farm, medieval building?
Agriculture and Subsistence
Most of the buildings at Low Barmston Farm (HER 6772) were built between 1840 and 1856. However one building is shown on a map of 1802 but is much earlier than that. The form of these remains is possibly representative of a significant high status structure or a defensive structure such as peel tower. The only documentary reference to a high status structure in the area comes from the Hylton estate in 1448 where reference is made to Barmston Manor House (location unknown). In 2010 TWM Archaeology recorded the early building at Low Barmston Farm. The main barn building and the building under investigation have within their fabric large square cut well-tooled ashlar blocks. The quality of masonry of this stonework is far higher than the majority of the fabric of the buildings which is mostly made up of smaller rough-cut blocks of sandstone bonded as roughly coarsed sandstone or in places irregular blocks of sandstone rubble bonded with cement. In comparison the ashlar blocks are much larger and heavier and of a regularity and uniformity which display a far greater degree of craftsmanship in their tooling. These elements therefore represent the re-use of pre-existing building material during construction. In the main barn structure these ashlar blocks are typically used to form lintels to doorways and openings due to their size and regularity, and to form the crow step gable and ventilator slots at the north east facing gable-end of the barn. Within the building proposed for repair this re-use of stonework is also evident, in the form of quoins, door and window surrounds, lintels and sills, and detailing such as the ventilator slot and crow step gable of the gable-ended building of the south-east facing elevation. Detailed analysis of the structure however also indicates that elements of the building under investigation may not merely represent the re-use of these ashlar blocks, but may rather represent the incorporation of pre-existing standing remains of an earlier structure into the design of the buildings. Evidence for this comes from the quality of bonding and construction of sections of the walls of the building which are made up entirely of these ashlar blocks. Here the skill with which the stones are keyed into one another and the sharpness of the jointing between individual blocks appears to evidence a greater level of skill and attention to detail than is exhibited in the construction of other elements of the building. The gaps within these walls were repaired and in places rebuilt with sandstone rubble in order to create the building present today.
Ordnance Survey 1st edition map 1856; D/Bo/G99/12-15 Leases of land in Barmston for chemical manufacture D/Lo/ E 386 Plan of land in Barmston related to chemical manufacture D/Bo/G35 Plan of Barmston Township, 1802 D/Br/P291 1910 OS plan of Barmston area UD/CS 236 Plan of Barmston, circa 1861 D/Lo/D41 Plan of Barmston Estate and cultivation 1779 D/Lo/P3 Plan of Barmston Estate, 1802 D/Lo/P6 Plan of Low Barmston Farm, 1856 EP/Wa 3/1 (2) Tithe map Barmston, 1840 TWM; Jamie Scott, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2010, Low Barmston Farm, Washington, Tyne and Wear - Historic Buildings Recording