The Bishop's Barn
Culture > Heritage
Wells Recreation Ground
The Bishop’s Barn is a magnificent Fifteenth century barn based in the heart of the Recreation Grounds in the centre of Wells. The entire site belongs to the people of Wells (given to the city in two parts in 1887 and 1897, as a place for recreation and amusement). 2017 marks the 130th anniversary of the Recreation Ground and Barn being given to the people of Wells.
The Bishop's Barn is a Grade I listed building (483576) and scheduled as an ancient monument (1383158). Built of local stone roughly squared, with Doulting ashlar dressings and a Westmorland slate roof, the barn has 12 bays with a cruck roof with double collar beams and arched wind braces.
As well as operating as a Tithe barn, The Bishop’s Barn was utilised during the Bloody Assizes when Royalist troops were quartered here. In the 1970s, it was used as a music venue, and hosted bands such as Supertramp, Status Quo and Slade, with audiences of up to 1,500.
The history of The Bishop’s Barn is intrinsically entwined with that of the Bishop’s Palace (forming part of the original estate and the Tithe Barn store for grain). The Bishop’s Barn is one of only 200 remaining Tithe Barns in the UK.
The barn is held in Trust by the Wells Recreation Ground Trust (WRGT). Following consultation with the people of Wells WRGT are currently in discussion with Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding bodies about preserving this vital community space for generations to come.
You can hire the barn for private events by filling in the form on http://www.mendip.gov.uk/barnhire at least a month before the event date.
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