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Barrowby's Listed buildingsFor a village of its size Barrowby has a surprising number of Listed buildings. Indeed most of Church Street is listed
This is a consequence of comparative wealth in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Even workers' cottages were built to a better standard than in many other villages, which meant that they have survived until the late twentieth century vogue for major restorations rather than demolition.
So if most of the buildings which are listed are from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – with a few which are older – why have I included this web page in the twentieth century section? Simply because the whole idea of 'listing' buildings as a way to preserve them is so very twentieth century! And it took until the 1980s before historic buildings in most rural areas were properly assessed.
The history of Listing
The statuary protection of rural historic buildings was a long time coming. In 1882 the Ancient Monuments Protection Act attempted to protect fifty prehistoric monuments. Amendments in 1900 and 1913 allowed the inclusion of later monuments and introduced greater levels of protection, as well as criteria and fines to prevent damage. A series of high profile conservation battles around these decades raised awareness of the limitations of the legislation to protect historic buildings as well.
The listing of buildings of special architectural or historical interest was established in the Town and Country Planning Acts of 1944 and 1947. The basis for the first listing survey was the heroic war-time lists, known as 'Salvage Lists'. These were drawn up to determine whether a particular building should be protected from demolition if bomb damaged. It was around this time that a system of grading and specific criteria were introduced.
This pioneer survey, then under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, took nearly 25 years and produced 120,000 entries on the lists. The entries were mostly medieval churches, country houses, and pre-1750 buildings. The information in these first list entries was quite basic as they were often drawn up without the benefit of an internal inspection.
Due to intensive urban re-development in the 1960s, the Minister of Housing and Local Government initiated a resurvey in 1968. The survey focussed first on 39 historic cities and towns whose centres were particularly threatened by post-war re-development. Rural areas were not well covered and the list entry descriptions were still very brief.
Up until 1984 inspectors from the Department of the Environment supervised the work of numerous trained fieldworkers. In 1984 the inspectors were transferred to the new organization, English Heritage, established by the 1983 National Heritage Act. All fieldworkers were trained and equipped with a manual on how to choose a building and how to write the List entry based on the mnemonic:
The resurvey extended the range of structures and building types recommended for listing, so even smaller structures like milestones or tombstones could be listed if they met the criteria. It also extended the date range to include more modern structures such as lidos, airports and cinemas.
In 1987, Department of the Environment Circular 8/87 removed the 1939 ceiling on listing buildings, introducing the 'thirty year rule' that still operates today.
One of the downsides of a building being Listed is that it is difficult to get consent to make changes. While this prevents homeowners from destroying the essential character of a property it also inhibits the gradual evolution of a building. In essence a Listed building is 'doomed' to forever look like it was at the time it was listed (typically the late 1980s for Barrowby).
If, by the late 1980s a building had been adapted too much it was, quite correctly, deemed unsuitable for Listing. One of my close friends from about 2001 was the Listings Inspector for this part of England. When out and about together he could talk from memory about any Listed buildings we encountered. And, from time to time, explained why an interesting-looking building was deemed unsuitable. He retired about 2009 and moved to Italy.
The invention of heritage and the imaginary 'rural idyll'
The whole concept of visiting attractive rural villages has its origin on a golf course and the consequent creation of Country Life magazine in 1897. In the 1930s the writer Arthur Mee and the marketing team of Shell petrol, in their various ways, supported this initiative. Starting before the Second World War but only getting up to speed afterwards such luminaries as John Betjeman, John Piper and Geoffrey Grigson compiled the county-by-county Shell Guides.
By the 1970s heritage and nostalgia were becoming blurred – a trend which has continued apace in the era of vapid social media. Listed buildings sit within this tangle of architectural history and commercialised tourism which shapes a key part of our sense of national identity. An identity that owes more to romanticised fantasies than the historical realities of rural life. Listed buildings themselves are rarely twentieth century – but the manner in which we 'value' them and wrap them in confused notions of nostalgia most certainly dates from recent decades.
Barrowby's Listed buildings
My plan is to add pages about many, though not all, of Barrowby's Listed buildings. But this will be quite time-consuming so for the moment check out the Lincolnshire Historic Environment Record which (among other useful information) includes the Listings.
If you think I've got something wrong – or can add additional information or photographs – then please email me:– email@example.com.
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Copyright Bob Trubshaw 2021
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Articles about BarrowbyBarrowby's location and geology
Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Articles and web links for nearby places
rare seventeenth fonts at Muston, Bottesford and Orston from Project Gargoyle Newsletter 2020
Ironstone quarries of Leicestershire
The Grantham Canal
Croxton Kerrial manor house excavations