The History of Ysgubor Degwm
The Tithe Barn
Ysgubor Degwm is a Grade II listed building located in the heart of the Llyn Peninsula.
Dated 1773 and initialled 'LP', but possibly of earlier origins, with a later extension to left end. The barn may have served as an out-barn on the estate at Penarth Fawr, although there appears to be no documented association with tithes (as its name might suggest).
Substantial rubble agricultural building with slate roof; comprises a barn to right and cowshed to left. The barn has slit ventilators, internally glazed, and central camber-headed entrance with modern red brick voussoirs inscribed '1733 LP', now infilled by a painted timber screen and doors. The lofted cowhouse has cambered brick relieving arches, perhaps suggesting an altered former cartshed. The rear of barn apparently had lean-tos added at one time, as evidenced by joist holes below the eaves. It now has a lean-to at the E end, roof lights, two raised dormers and a further one with a cat-slide roof.
Eight-bay barn with collar trusses, those to right with added, bolted, ties; one truss replaced, and splayed vents. Full height rubble wall between barn and 3-bay, formerly lofted cowshed. Belt drives retained at right hand end, not seen at the time of inspection.
A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the Middle Ages for storing rents and tithes. Farmers were required to give one-tenth of their produce to the established Church. Tithe barns were usually associated with the village church or rectory, and independent farmers took their tithes there. The village priests did not have to pay tithes—the purpose of the tithe being their support.
Many were monastic barns, originally used by the monastery itself or by a monastic grange. The word 'grange' is (indirectly) derived from Latin granarium ('granary'). Identical barns were found on royal domains and country estates.
According to English Heritage, "exactly how barns in general were used in the Middle Ages is less well understood than might be expected, and the subject abounds with myths (for example, not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn, although such barns existed)".