This barn was probably built c1771. The tall doors lead onto the threshing floor, on which sheaves of corn were threshed by flail. The rest of the barn was used to store the unthreshed crop and the threshed straw. The barn houses the Museum’s Introductory Exhibition.
This barn houses the Museum’s Introductory Exhibition showing traditional regional building materials and methods. It was built in the late 18th century and is of a type which is common in West Sussex and eastern Hampshire. The tall main doors lead onto the threshing floor, on which sheaves of corn were hand-threshed by flail. The rest of the barn was used to store the unthreshed crop and the threshed straw.
The most characteristic feature of the Hambrook barn is the aisle, which continues round the ends as well as the sides of the building. The eaves thus form a continuous line except for the high barn doors, which were needed on one side to allow loaded wagons to enter. The barn has three bays, with the doors in the middle bay — the normal pattern in this region.
During the repair of the barn the date 1771 was found scratched on an original rafter. The date was covered by a batten from the original thatched roof and probably records the date of construction of the building. The roof structure is typical of the 18th century, with tenoned purlins and tenoned rafters, the purlins being staggered in level from one bay to the next.
The barn is framed in oak. The main timbers are an excellent example of the traditional method of converting trees into beams. The two central tie beams are two halves of the same tree, facing one another across the threshing floor, and the four central posts are also cut from a single tree. The thatch is of reed, and the external boards are elm. The boards have not been tarred, as there is evidence that this did not become common practice until the 19th century.
The inside of an aisled barn is wide in proportion to its length and is therefore an ideal space for the Museum’s Introductory Exhibition. The display has been designed to interfere as little as possible with the building’s structure and the satisfying proportions of its strong, though simple, design.