Swalcliffe Barn | Oxfordshire County Council

Swalcliffe Barn

Experience one of the finest medieval barns in the country.

Swalcliffe Barn

Fine half-cruck barn

The barn, situated in the picturesque village Swalcliffe six miles west of Banbury and surrounded by beautiful countryside, is one of the finest 15th century half-cruck barns in England.

Swalcliffe Barn, constructed in 1401 for New College, Oxford. is a Grade 1 listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. See the interior.

It was acquired by the Oxfordshire Buildings Trust in 1990 and is leased to Oxfordshire County Council and used by the Museums Service to exhibit agricultural and trade vehicles from the county.

The Friends of Swalcliffe Barn also stage a permanent exhibition of 2,500 years of Swalcliffe's history.

Opening times

The barn is opened by volunteers from Easter to the end of October on Sundays and bank holidays 2pm - 5pm.,

Admission is free and toilets are available on site. There is ample car parking adjacent to the site. The site is accessible to people with impaired mobility

Special openings can be arranged for group visits. A minimum requirement of six people and nominal charges apply for special openings. Contact us for more information.

Where to find it

Shipston Road
Swalcliffe
Banbury
Oxfordshire
OX15 5DR

Google directions.

Displays and exhibitions

A treat for young and old

Popular with local schools and families, the sheer size of carts and vehicles are impressive to young visitors and adults. See gallery.

A volunteer reported at one event: 'It was wonderful to hear the children's excited conversations echo round the lofty barn and witness their genuine interest in the transport of yesteryear.'

Fire-fighting from Robaczyn to Swalcliffe

The chance discovery of a working historic fire pump in the Polish village of Robaczyn by volunteers Colin and Cathy, led them to discover more about the history and significance of the New College, Oxford fire pump displayed in the Barn. This pump, made by Adam Nuttall of London in 1760 to protect the College from fire, was commissioned by William Wykham (1735-1783) whose ancestor commissioned the building of the Barn.

A political cartoon by Hogarth published in the Times in 1762 showed a similar pump in use.  Although the New College fire pump is a rare survival, other examples still exist and several are described in the Hungerford Virtual Museum.  This 1923 British Pathe News newsreel shows an almost identical pump, 188 years old, still in use in the village of Plympton. Another can be seen on Youtube being operated for the first time after its restoration in 2015.

Oxfordshire blackberries - a piece of personal history

The fruiterer’s flat trolley (early 20th Century) used by Thomas Stanford and Sons of Bicester has a grand legacy. Known as the Blackberry King of Covent Garden, men, women and children for miles around the Bicester area would collect and gather blackberries to sell to Stanford and Sons. They were transported to London on this trolley via Bicester North Station and were sold to John Lyon to make jam and also to the Swan Company for black ink. A whole empire created from Oxfordshire blackberries!

Gallery

Last reviewed
19 January 2018

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