Tots at the tithe barn in Landbeach learn ancient tradition of wheat threshing

Landbeach tithe barn

Landbeach tithe barn - Credit: Archant

Beach Babies preschoolers followed in the footsteps of farmers and farm labourers from hundreds of years ago when they returned to the Tithe Barn in Landbeach to harvest the wheat they sowed earlier this year.

Landbeach tithe barn

Landbeach tithe barn - Credit: Archant

The preschoolers threshed their wheat in the medieval Tithe Barn then separated it from the chaff using flails - shortened broom handles in this case - and beat it on the historic brick threshing floor.

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They then used a quern stone to grind the grain into flour.

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Gemma O’Shea, Tithe Barn Trust chairman, said: “It was just wonderful seeing the preschoolers get hands-on with history and seeing the Tithe Barn being used as it would have been over five hundred years ago.”

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The Tithe Barn reflects the agricultural heritage of the Fen edge villages and is an important part of local community history.


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Tithe Barns hint at a different side of history, not just the story of the wealthy.

The Tithe Barn would have been used to store taxes, a tenth of all crops to the church, the contributions being stacked in the barn for winter threshing and storage.

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The Tithe Barn Trust is a small charity and volunteer not-for profit group aiming to save and sympathetically restore Grade II Listed Tithe Barn, in Landbeach, for community use.

• As part of Heritage Open Days the Tithe Barn will be open for free on Saturday September 9. There will be talks and a chance to find out more about the work of the Tithe Barn Trust. There’ll also be a chance to make your own corn dolly, an ancient tradition made at harvest time from the last sheaf of corn cut. The Corn Spirit was believed to live in the corn doll and was kept until the following spring and then ploughed into the first furrow to ensure a good harvest.

Visit their website to find out more.

Make a pledge or become a friend

• Volunteer by emailing tithebarntrust@gmail.com to find out more.

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