The scheduled ancient monument and Grade I listed 15th century Harmondsworth Barn © PA

The Daily Mail reports today that –

A medieval barn described by the poet John Betjeman as the ‘cathedral of Middlesex’ has been rescued from decay and neglect for the nation, English Heritage said today.

Grade I-listed Harmondsworth Barn in west London joins the likes of Stonehenge, Osborne House and parts of Hadrian’s Wall in the national collection of historic sites and monuments under the guardianship of English Heritage. Built by Winchester College in 1426, the barn would have been used to store grain from the surrounding manor, owned by the Bishop of Winchester, with profits from the produce used to pay for the school. While it has had some repairs over the years, most recently by English Heritage to make it weather-proof and keep out pigeons, the structure is largely as it was built, with the timber and stones still bearing original carpenter and mason marks.

The oak-framed barn, which the heritage agency said ranks alongside the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace for its historic value, was used up until the 1970s but fell into disrepair in the ownership of an offshore company which had bought it in 2006. It is thought the purchase was a speculative one, as the barn stands just metres from where Heathrow’s third runway – had it gone ahead – would have been built. In 2009, English Heritage became concerned about the barn’s deteriorating condition and issued an urgent works notice for emergency repairs to keep it water and wind-tight. A dispute over payment for the emergency works led to English Heritage buying the barn for £20,000.

Full article here. See also The Guardian feature here.