CONSTRUCTION OF THE CROSS BARN

The Cross Barn has seven bays and is 88 feet long, 27 feet wide and 27 feet high. The original porch and wagon entrance, which gave access to the loading bay, still remain on the south side. The walls, built from locally-made brick and in English bond, have regularly placed ventilation slits. These slits enabled a regular passgae of air to help preserve the corn stored in the barn.

ThThe Cross Barn raftersis early use of brick (there are only fifteen examples of brick building in Hampshire before 1550) for an agricultural building makes the Cross Barn one of the county´s most notable historic buildings: it could only have been built for someone of considerable wealth and status.

The barn was located near the entrance to the great house, Odiham Place, and clearly intended to be seen by visitors - its roof would have been an impressive show-piece.

The Cross Barn raftersThe roof is a fine example of sixteenth-century carpentry, consisting of substantial timbers with eight separate trusses of complex design and to a high standard of carpentry; an indication of the continuing availability and use of high quality local timber.

Constructed from best-quality oak, and given the considerable width of the barn, it needed two tiers of purlins - lengthwise timbers that support the rafters. The upper purlins are fully braced with curved wind-braces which make a graceful rhythm of arches along the length of the roof.

A dendrochronological (tree ring dating) survey of the oak timbers has shown that the Cross Barn was built in 1532, during the reign of Henry VIII. (This is the felling date of the timbers; in medieval times timber was generally used shortly after felling.)

Some idea of its importance may be gained from the fact that it is typical of the kind of roof being placed over aristocratic houses at that time.

Earlier in the 14th and 15th centuries, oak from this royal manor had been used for the roofs of Eton College and Westminster Hall.