From the time they purchased the Castle, the Forge family had been concerned for the future of the neighbouring medieval barns which then belonged to the racecourse. These architecturally significant buildings suffered substantial damage to the roof in the 1987 hurricane which led on to further deterioration as they were exposed to subsequent weather conditions. The eminence of the person who had the main barn built, probably Customer Smythe, is reflected in its extravagant design. The hammerbeam roof, made from oak, is the type of construction usually associated with high status buildings such as Westminster Hall. Adding to its splendour, it spans over the East Stour stream and has four full height wagon porch doors. The opulent style of the barn reflects the flamboyant nature of Tudor nobility but the mystery of why the barn should have been built with such grandeur is a mystery we have yet to solve.
The Forge family acquired the Barns in 2003 which, as well as reuniting the Barns and Castle in one ownership, enabled them to start a conservation programme. Working with English Heritage, a massive scaffold structure was erected on the inside and outside of the barns which were also covered with a temporary roof to prevent further weather damage. A survey of the roof timbers and work required was undertaken in preparation for a time when funding would be secured.
Repair work commenced in 2007 and through these pages we will keep you fully updated with progress, including exclusive photographs of the work as it continues. Click on a date below to view progress photographs.