PLANS have been submitted to replace the failed roof structure of a medieval Tithe Barn on the Quantock Hills before it collapses.

The grade two listed barn in East Quantoxhead was said to be no longer structurally sound and there was concern that it was close to a public right of way.

Owners the East Quantoxhead Estate wants to replace the roof covering of the building and its outshoots.

Planning agent Jon Colvin, of Greenslade Taylor Hunt, said a grant to part-fund the work had been approved by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, but had a ‘very tight time line’.

Mr Colvin said for the sake of completeness the application included work to the building’s engine house which had previously been approved.

The north face of the west end of the Tithe Barn in East Quantoxhead.
The north face of the west end of the Tithe Barn in East Quantoxhead. PHOTO: Greenslade Taylor Hunt. ( )

He said roof timbers in one section were undersized and had failed and temporary propping was preventing collapse.

Existing clay tiles would be salvaged and reused, thatch which had come to the end of its life would be over-coated, and failed slate replaced.

The roof structures to the engine house and the northern outshoot would be reconstructed and the engine house roof thatched.

Mr Colvin said the estate was ‘a very rare survivor’, having been in the Luttrell family ownership for nearly 700 years and by descent since 1078.

It covered more than 42,000 acres from the top of the Quantocks to mean low water mark in the Bristol Channel, and from St Audries to Lilstock.

Mr Colvin said: “The present landscape together with the collection of listed houses, cottages, buildings, and other features are the result of the Luttrell family’s stewardship.

“Most unusually, with the exception of a handful of houses, all of the buildings within the wider estate boundary remain in the ownership of the estate, including the whole of the village and parish of East Quantoxhead.

“The estate has a long tradition of acting as a ‘benevolent landlord’, a policy of supporting the social and communal fabric of a living, working, rural community within the wider care of the local landscape which has a continuity of use stretching back in time.”

Mr Colvin said its value was recognised by the Government granting heritage status to the estate, which enabled Hugh Luttrell and his trustees to keep the whole estate together following the death of Sir Walter and Lady Luttrell in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

He said the Tithe Barn, a long and imposing structure with lias walls, and its outshoots, formed part of a group of listed structures south of the Court House and St Mary’s Church.

The core was an original seven-bay medieval structure with what appeared to be a 17th century addition.

The 19th century engine house on the north elevation was single storey with an apsidal end and once housed winding gear which was powered by a horse to drive farm machinery in the barn.

Somerset Council, which will determine the application, has asked for any public comments to be submitted by June 20.