Friday, April 3, 2020

More photos - Coggeshall

A tithe; To pay or give to the church 10 per cent of your income. That is how the churches and monks of England flourished, the first taxes of course.  The medieval peasant paid with his labour, maybe some chickens or a calf, it was called serfdom, or perhaps feudalism..  You were tied by ownership of land to your lord or abbot, not quite slavery, you did have some rights of course.
So a tithe barn had to be large for the gathering of crops and the preparation of the crops, winnowing for a start.  I can think of two great tithe barns, one was at Bradford St. Avon in Wiltshire, the other at Coggeshall Abbey in Essex.
Again the wonderful timber work inside has born the brunt of centuries of farming. 

I remember this visit not just for visiting the few remaining buildings of the old abbey but for the garden we passed on our way and the lovely old mill we found at the end of the green lane.  Still untouched by the hand of modernisation, protected by their listings.  The abbey was to become Cistercian, and did not have a very exciting history, and at the Dissolution only had 6 monks living there.

I think this must be the St.Nicholas chapel

]I have a weakness for the yellow of laburnum shrubs.

Farm buildings now, but early medieval brickwork interspersed with flint

Essex mills are all very similar

In Essex the plastered houses are often painted with soft shades of  pink or other colours, and  may have pargetting, a form of patterning on the plaster.
As Yorkshire Pudding says, the styles of building belong to the different areas  within the landscape and of course the materials you find in these areas.  That is why the beautiful honey stone of the Cotswold is found in those tourist rich villages.
The commons are neither capitalist nor communist, market nor state. They are an insurgency of social power, in which we come together as equals to confront our shared predicaments.


  1. I am really enjoying these posts, virtual visits to places I may never get to, thank you!

  2. I love seeing these pictures and explanations too. I know I will never get there so it is wonderful to be able to see your views of it. Thanks so much!

  3. Essex is a county I have never visited Thelma. Don't suppose I shall now. As for Tithe barns - I remember as a Grammar School girl at Lincoln Christs Hospital Girls' High School we had our lunch each day in a beautiful old tithe barn.

  4. This and yesterday's post brought back some memories of family holidays in Essex (my husband's brother lives there and we would stay at his house). The Tithe Barn at Coggeshall is HUGE. The church did very well out of the community there, that's for certain. We've visited several down the years, but damned if I can call them by name now! Lacock is one, and there's one at Frocester (just outside Gloucester).

    I'm enjoying the virtual travel too - memories of riverside walks beside the Stour up to Dedham Mill have suddenly sprung to mind.

    1. We never got to Dedham Mill though I did want to go but Paul said it was a long drive. But perhaps Constable's paintings are a better reminder. I was always fascinated by these timbered tithe barns, the great grain warehouses of the monks.

  5. Thanks everyone for commenting it is appreciated. X


Love having comments!