The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Dorset Granaries Photo Essay

David Bailey takes us on a tour of some of Dorset's granaries

This late-18th-century or early-19th-century granary at Chettle is brick-built with a half-hipped, tiled roof. Its main structure rests on timber sleepers supported on staddle-stones. It is one of the more impressive surviving examples of this type of building.

According to English Heritage, solitary granaries all emerge from a reasonably clearly defined period in history: the 18th and 19th centuries. From the late 1880s onwards, granaries started to be replaced on larger farms by silos which, although no doubt more effective in safely storing grain, are somewhat less easy on the eye.

Lying in the grounds of the large early-18th-century house, built by Robert Browne of Frampton, this is a rather utilitarian granary, whose roof and walls are both clad on by corrugated iron

This granary, which is now the home of Dorchester Saddlery dates from the late 18th century, has Flemish-bond laid brick walls raised on round brick arches: three along the sides, two at front and back. The half-hipped clay-tiled roof has stone-slate eaves; the brick steps are a 20th-century addition.

Rather like the size of the chimney stacks on estate-owned workers’ cottages and gatehouses, the size of a granary was either a statement of the wealth of a given farmstead, or a statement of how wealthy its owner wanted people to think it was.

This rather handsome granary with a corrugated iron roof, at All Hallows Farm in Wimborne St Giles, clearly shows the staddle-stone-and-wooden-beam construction method

In terms of construction, granaries were solidly built affairs; they had to hold large numbers of sacks of grain and they were generally built with raised floors to ensure that the floor – and thus the grain, did not become damp. Sometimes – as normally seen on brick-built granaries – this was achieved through the use of arched piers.

This late-18th-century detached granary uses limestone slabs between the arches and piers to replace the mushroom head of the staddle stone as a vermin deterrent; atmospheric erosion and the rough-and-tumble of farmyard life seem to have taken their toll on the survival of the slabs

In earlier examples, the issue of vermin – or more precisely the aim of preventing vermin from entering – was also a chief consideration in the construction of granaries, hence the frequent use of mushroom-shaped (and therefore theoretically unable to be climbed by rats) staddle stones as footings, on which sturdy wooden beams were placed.

This detached 19th-century granary has four staddle stones supporting a weatherboard-covered structure

Lying next to the village hall, Briantspuddle's Post Office and village shop – once a granary, hence the arched base – was established as a community enterprise ten years ago. It is managed and run by 'by the village, for the village', and was the first recipient of the Dorset People's Project Award in 2010.

This 18th-century former granary is by far the largest in our collection; its position on the quay at Wareham, with easy access to the trading route of the River Frome, explains why

This clinker-board clad, slate-roofed granary in the grounds of Turnworth House looks like part of an agri-industrial heritage exhibition

Originally dating from the 17th century, this converted detached granary had its roof raised by a storey in the 19th century. It also has half a dozen pigeon holes with perches at the second floor level.

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