I’m just back from a visit to the old Tithe Barn at Landbeach with Gemma O’Shea, chair of the Tithe Barn Trust. It’s a wonderful example of this once ubiquitous form of building, the place to which parishioners would have brought a tenth of their produce to provide a living for the priest of the benefice and other church costs. The system lasted up to 1836 when it was replaced by cash payments, which themselves lasted a further century in various forms before also being abolished.
Many tithe barns, left high and dry by the changes didn’t stay high or dry for very long and were either lost or converted to other uses. Just a few survive unchanged, and Landbeach’s is one of them, and is particularly special because it forms a near group with the church and former rectory close by.
It is now in the ownership of the District Council and leased gratis to the Trust who have taken on the job of both essential conservation work and also aim to improve facilities so that its access and use can be widened to provide both a resource for the local community and a visitor destination. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is in process, but local people have already raised some £60000 to help the project on its way.
If you go to www.thetithebarntrust.org.uk you’ll find there is already an interesting programme of events in place from film nights to a carol evening. Do email Gemma on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or offer help, and you can donate at www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/TitheBarnTrust.
And visit! The barn is opposite 2 Waterbeach Road, Landbeach CB25 9FA. Go through the kissing gate, up the grassy track, and there it is. (And why not drop in at All Saints Church while you’re there, look at the amazing stained glass in the east window, and bless them too.)