Restoration of an 800 year old barn

James Rippon James Rippon
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Syningthwaite Priory is a farming property in North Yorkshire, with a 19th century farmhouse and adjacent Grade I priory building dating all the way back to 1155. This building of such heritage was on the Buildings at Risk register, prior to Wildblood Macdonald commencing work to delicately restore the both structures under the careful watch of the English Heritage, a registered charity that looks after the National Heritage Collection. It was decided that the buildings were to be brought back to life in the form of luxury accommodations. Given its age and historical significance, it was no mean feat to restore these buildings in such a manner, and is a true testament to the planners and architects alike.

The old courtyard

Medieval Barn and Courtyard view: classic Houses by Wildblood Macdonald
Wildblood Macdonald

Medieval Barn and Courtyard view

Wildblood Macdonald

The property is focused around a central courtyard, as we see the medieval barn and its Georgian period extension. Part of this property is a priory which is the term given to a monastery for both men and women, headed by a prior or prioress.

The threshing barn

Exterior View to the rebuilt Threshing Barn: classic Houses by Wildblood Macdonald
Wildblood Macdonald

Exterior View to the rebuilt Threshing Barn

Wildblood Macdonald

This is the old threshing barn, which was built as a place for 'threshing', the term given to the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain from the rest of the inedible chaff that surrounds it. The traditional architecture has well and truly been restored, with the original look and feel of this historical barn remaining. This is the building that now houses luxury accommodations; the only hint this building has been given up upgrade internally is the new glass doors that greet those who walk up the central stairs from the courtyard.

Medieval details

It is a miracle in itself that this building is still at all standing, let alone in a good enough condition to be restored into accommodation. The near 1000 year-old detail of the door to the medieval barn has been restored to look exactly as it would have hundreds of years ago, its tiny size an indication of its true age.

New mezzanine level

Threshing Barn Interior: modern Living room by Wildblood Macdonald
Wildblood Macdonald

Threshing Barn Interior

Wildblood Macdonald

Inside the tactfully restored threshing barn, we see a huge space that has been divided up over two levels, with a new mezzanine floor used to make best use of the huge space, without taking away the feeling of spaciousness only a barn of this size can create. A mix of colours and textures is evident, with the muted tones of the historical brick contrasted by dark tones of black and navy in the furniture and paint. Materials such as timber and stone are contrasted by more contemporary steel and glass of the mezzanine, but sit together harmoniously, complementing each other tastefully.

Drowned in sunlight

Syningthwaite Priory, Conservation Project: modern Living room by Wildblood Macdonald
Wildblood Macdonald

Syningthwaite Priory, Conservation Project

Wildblood Macdonald

Even with the addition of a mezzanine space, the sheer size of the barn still allows for ample room and huge ceiling heights for the second floor. The new glass front doors allow plentiful amounts of sunlight to flood the space, the flow of light uninterrupted thanks to the presence of glass balustrades wrapping the mezzanine. 

Overall we think this is a great project, highlighting the skill and finesse of all parties involved in such a sensitive revival.

Want to see another tasteful restoration of a historical building? Then check out thisbefore and after project of a converted historic townhouse in Spain

Would you consider a country escape in an 800 year old barn? Let us know what you thought of the restoration in the comments.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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