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Agricultural Cathedral (Oxfordshire)

A cache by The Wombles Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 06/17/2003
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

Great Coxwell Barn is a medieval barn, generally considered to be the finest of it's kind. It is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in the UK. An easy cache, accessible for wheelchairs, children and a short walk from the parking place.

Great Coxwell Barn was a barn built around 1292 for a farm / grange of Beaulieu Abbey. King John gave the Royal manor of Faringdon to the Cistercian monks in 1203 for a new abbey. Although the abbey itself was built at Beaulieu, Faringdon remained an important part of their income.

William Morris used to live near here and regularly took visitors to see "the finest piece of architecture in England". It is also called the cathedral of barns, partly because it is so impressive and partly because of the construction - medieval people knew how to build huge churches and Cathedrals, so used the same design - in wood - for this barn. The building is almost complete despite it's great age.

The grange at Coxwell would have been run by lay-brothers of Beaulieu Abbey and hired servants. This grange was just one outlying part of the manor of which the centre was Wyke (now entirely lost). Great Coxwell Barn seems rather large to have served only as a grain store for one grange, but may have actually stored a variety of produce and materials as well as processing the grain. The grain crop could have been stored in sheaves, then threshed on the open threshing floors between the porch and back doors before being stored in the granary.

Monks were good administrators and we have a set of audited accounts for 1269-1270 (about 20 years before the barn was built). In the year, Coxwell produced 584 quarters of grain (an old English measure equal to a quarter of a ton). The grain produced was mostly wheat and oats but included rye and barley. There were 13 horses, 45 oxen, 1 bull, 11 cows, 18 young calves and 20 pigs (at the beginning of the year there were 134 pigs, the numbers could have been reduced by sale, disease or both). Produce included 4 tons of cheese, 6 tons of butter, 4.5 tons of honey and unknown quantities of fish.

More information about the barn can be found on the National Trust web site here.

Be careful with the door, one cacher reported that the door stuck.

In order to claim this virtual cache, find the carving (graffiti?) at the stated coordinates and mail the answers through our profile at the top of the page (ticking the option to release your email address so that we can reply). You will it useful to take a torch or smartphone light because it can be dark inside the building
1. What (famous) name with an Arts and Crafts connection is carved here?
2. What dates are with the name?

Under no circumstances should you post the answers in your log or post photographs of the answer. You must physically visit this cache in order to log it, please do not abuse this requirement (I regret that I will have to delete logs that do not meet these requirements). When you email the answer then please remember to release your email address to enable us to reply.

There is free car parking adjacent to the the barn in a layby. There is a suggested admission charge for NT non-members at the honesty box of £1.50.

Please check out the Geocaching Association of Great Britain offering support for Geocachers in GB.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Ba gur vafvqr bs gur raq qbbe

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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