Medieval barn to open at Lloyd's Great Dixter home

Great Dixter barn
Image caption Ceiling joists are inscribed with the date hop picking began from the 1890s

A 500-year-old medieval barn and three 19th century oast houses are opening to the public for the first time at a well-known house in East Sussex.

The Grade II* listed great barn will open on Tuesday at Great Dixter in Northiam near Rye, the former home of horticulturist Christopher Lloyd.

It is one of the South East's largest surviving medieval timber framed barns.

The barn and brick-built oast houses were restored as part of an £8m, four-year conservation project.

Work on the great barn by local craftsmen included repairs to rotting timbers and decaying joists.

Key features such as the remains of a cattle feeding trough and the threshing floor have also been preserved with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Repairs were also made to the original medieval house and a ground source heat pump and biomass boiler for heating were installed.

Image caption Christopher Lloyd wrote about 25 gardening books

'Icing on the cake'

The 20th-century Dixter Farm buildings were converted into living quarters for horticultural students and an education centre for visitors.

The gardens of Great Dixter were made famous by Mr Lloyd who died in 2006.

He was awarded the OBE for his services to horticulture as well as the Royal Horticultural Society's highest accolade, the Victoria Medal.

For more than 40 years, Mr Lloyd wrote a column in Country Life Magazine and was a regular contributor to the Guardian's gardening pages. He also wrote about 25 gardening books.

Fergus Garrett, head gardener and chief executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, said the restoration of the barn was the "icing on the cake" of the work done to the estate since Lloyd's death.

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Media captionA 500-year-old medieval barn and three 19th Century oast houses are opening to the public for the first time at a house in East Sussex.

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