Bright future for historic Chilterns barn
Chiltern Open Air Museum’s visitor manager Sian Hammerton-Fraser tells us about the history of Skippings Barn
LOCAL residents may remember Skippings Farm in Chalfont St Peter, now incorporated into the Epilepsy Centre in Chesham Lane. In 1993, Chiltern Open Air Museum was delighted to be able to rescue one of its buildings, a good example of a traditional ‘Chilterns Barn’, which now resides in the beautiful setting of the museum’s Village Green.
The barn would otherwise have been demolished as it was redundant and posed an obstruction to development plans for the site.
The building was an oak-framed barn of three bays, with a later stable and hayloft added to the north end. The building rests on a high brick plinth wall. It required extensive repair and restoration before it could be opened to visitors and this work included replacing most of one of the original gable walls, some of the main oak posts, approximately 15 percent of the clay roof tiles and 50 percent of the brick plinth.
During the barn’s re-erection in the summer of 1994, the museum’s team of staff and dedicated volunteers were fascinated to discover more of the building’s hidden architectural history.
The brickwork showed that the main doorway had originally been much wider and there was evidence of a porch or wagon entrance which had been removed at some point (following which those original builders then ‘bodged’ the repairs to the brickwork!)
Very little ‘concrete’ information (pardon the pun) is known about the history of this enigmatic building. It’s thought to date from the 18th centu although no precise date has yet been found in local records, although evidence from the structure of the building itself suggests that it had been extensively re-built at some poi When it first moved the museum it was occupied by local c ‘The Hawk and Ow beautiful oak gallery were built into it. Th Owl Trust no longer use the building but the addition of the beautiful staircase has given it new life as a perfect venue for weddings and celebrations.
In recent years, this stunning building has hosted wedding receptions, birthday parties, celebrations and even school workshops in the lovely setting of the museum’s grounds, and in response to increasing demand, for 2015 the museum is applying for a licence to low couples to hold their dding ceremony in the at the museum recently in their wedding finery acular photoshoot, and ay will be held in the spring to showcase the possibilities offered by this unique and beautiful venue in the heart of the Chilterns.
The museum has applied for a full wedding licence so couples can opt to tie the matrimonial knot in this classic old Chilterns barn