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LOOKING BACK: Some facts about the oldest secular building in Abbots Langley

 Published on: 27th July 2020   |   By: Trevor Baker   |   Category: Uncategorized

The Tithe Barn on the Dairy Way estate is the oldest secular structure in Abbots Langley, but if you think it was once used for storing tithes, you are wrong.

Tithes were a form of tax, based on the presumption that one tenth of all crops had to be given to the feudal lord. 

Down the ages it evolved and after 1391 it was used for poor relief, the upkeep of the church and perhaps road repairs, with the remainder used to support the local priest.

The Tithe Barn in Abbots Langley is in fact a manorial barn built by the Abbot, John Moote to store grain harvested from the extensive estates once owned by St Albans Abbey. 

It is one of six such barns, five of which still survive. 

Tree ring analysis has established that the timber used for the frames was felled in 1397 and construction of the barns would have taken place shortly thereafter. 

In fact, the Abbey Chronicles of that period record expenditure of 100 marcs towards their construction.

The other surviving barns are the Croxley Great Barn in Rickmansworth, the Manorial Barn at St Michaels in St Albans, the Cathedral Barn on Langleybury Model Farm and the St Julians Barn which has been dismantled and is being stored by the Chiltern Open Air Museum.

The sixth barn that once stood at Parkbury in St Albans was destroyed by fire in 1973.

For more information about the history of Abbots Langley go to allhs.org.uk.

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