Winterbourne Medieval Barn prepares to reopen

July 06 2020
Winterbourne Medieval Barn prepares to reopen

WINTERBOURNE Medieval Barn is no stranger to epidemics. It was built in 1342, just a few years before the Black Death or plague spread across Europe from central Asia, sweeping across England in 1348.

Millions of people in Europe, Asia and North Africa died from this disease between 1346 and 1353, and the sudden loss of a third of the population changed the social structure and history of our country forever, leading to events like the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.

COVID-19 has hit the world with an unexpected force and disrupted our lives significantly, but thank goodness for our NHS and modern science and technology.

We are beginning to see signs of life after the COVID-19 crisis, including the hope of re-opening Winterbourne Medieval Barn in late summer.

None of us has yet seen the outcome of the year-long closure for refurbishment work, which was completed immediately before lockdown hit, but provided that COVID recovery rules allow it, the hope is to re-open for guided tours as part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend of 12-13th September 12-13. Tours will take place hourly at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm each day and although there is no charge, they must be pre-booked.

So, be one of the first to have a guided tour of the newly renovated Barn which has seen so many changes over almost 700 years! Numbers will be strictly limited to enable safe social distancing.

Book a free place on Ticketsource via the Barn website, winterbournebarn.org.uk, from mid-August.

If you can’t join us in person, we’ll also be putting up lots of digital content over the weekend, including family activity ideas and audio stories from our volunteers.

We cannot anticipate how the lifting of lockdown will progress, so no other summer events are currently on offer, but the Trust hopes that the programme of community talks and craft workshops will resume in October. Details will be posted on the Barn website and Facebook as soon as we are able to confirm when public events are allowed to restart. Additional digital content will also be available online.

As part of the restoration project, the Victorian cow byres have been updated and transformed into modern versatile workshop spaces. Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust can now offer these for rent to small arts, heritage, craft, and rural businesses. Spaces in the newly-refurbished West Barn are also available for hire by the hour throughout the year, and bookings are now being taken for bigger private events like wedding receptions in the medieval barn.

For more details contact hazel.hatton@winterbournebarn.org.uk.

Louise Harrison

Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust