The Dunster Tithe Barn is NOW OPEN as a multi-community hall. It is already providing a wonderful venue for a wide range of events, including weddings, conferences, concerts, theatrical productions, shows and exhibitions.
The Somerset Building Preservation Trust was delighted when it was invited to project co-ordinate, on behalf of the Dunster Tithe Barn Community Hall Trust (DTBCHT), the restoration and conversion of this beautiful Barn into a multi-purpose community hall.The DTBCHT has worked tirelessly to raise funds for this project which has now become one of the major features of this historic medieval village.
The Barn has been leased to the DTBCHT, on a 99 year lease at a pepper-corn rent, by the Crown Estate Commissioners, who own the Barn and the land on which it stands.
The Tithe Barn is an important part of the heritage of the unique medieval village of Dunster. It is close to the Parish and Priory Church of St George, the Benedictine Priory buildings, the recently restored Dovecote and their associated gardens. All lie within a conservation area near the village centre. During the restoration of the Barn, some original walls of the old Priory were unearthed and were recorded for posterity.
Major funding has been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition further substantial grants have been made by DEFRA, Viridor- Credits, Wyvern Environmental Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation,The Cloth Workers' Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Kirby Laing TrustThe Alan Evans Memorial Trust, the Foresters Arms Charity, Minehead Coastal Initiative, Dunster Parish Council,The Crown Estate, Exmoor National Park, Somerset County Council, West Somerset District Council, Dunster Horticultural Society, Dunster Festival Committee and, most importantly, private donations.
The builders, Sweetlands of Minehead, went on site in January 2006 and was completed in the New Year 2007.
Work on the roof is shown below.
Children from Dunster First School visited the site during the building work and have learnt about the rich history of the Tithe Barn, the land on which it stands and the archaeological recording that has been undertaken. They have also learnt about the building processes being used. Headmaster, Peter Hoyland has been very supportive of the project and Marcus Capel, Deputy Headmaster of the School arranged for children to come to the site and educationist Hilary Binding tutored.
Open Days to the Public Members of the public were invited to visit the site and meet members of the Dunster Tithe Barn Steering Group to follow its progress. On these occasions huge interest was shown in the project with people looking forward to the Barn being ready for use as a community hall.
For more information about the Dunster Tithe Barn, why not go into their own web site: www.dunstertithebarn.org.uk
The Front of the Tithe Barn during Restoration Work
The DunsterTithe Barn during restoration period
Work begins on the interior of the Barn.Nearing completion!
Pictured Graham Lamacraft, Chairman Dunster
Tithe Barn Community Hall Trust; Mike Foden,
Chairman Somerset Building Preservation Trust; Michael Harrison,
Director Viridor-Credits; Jonathan Sweetland,
Building contractor; Chris Mitchell, Architect.
Members of the Dunster Tithe Barn Steering Group all cut the tape at the Opening Ceremony