September 2011 – the fieldwork continues
Now all the grass has been harvested, September saw teams two and five back out in the fields surveying more barns and in the case of team five, also a sheep-wash. Team three were not active, as two members were in North America for most of the month and team five were catching up on what they regard as normal lives, having spent the summer crisscrossing Britain on bicycles!
So far, we have only found one barn with a definite date stone - showing the date of construction and the owner’s initials. However, we have found a number with carved initials and/or dates added as graffiti to the stonework, either around the doors or the forking holes. Whilst these do not necessarily date the building of the barn, these show that the barn was standing at that time and someone with these initials had a connection to the building - not to mention the time to indulge in stone carving.
There are barns, which have multiple sets of initials, the photograph below is of the shippon door but this barn also has two different sets of initials on either side of the mew door. The style of the letters differs in each case and the ones to the right are crudely executed, suggesting that they were done at different times by different people.
Though not indicative of a build date, at least these remains on the building prove a link between the
barn and a certain “I.F.” in 1887 – maybe the written records will add further details. © Phil Carroll
Below is another example of graffiti, this time carved into the splayed return of a broad chamfered door jamb, has two sets of initials and dates side by side. The earlier also has a symbol carved below.