It was the evolving pattern of farming into a larger, mechanised and more centralised model that brought to an end the traditional fieldbarns with their ‘resident’ six or eight cows per building.
However, our emphasis focuses both on these semi-redundant solitary structures and includes all agricultural buildings prior to the 1950’s, so buildings adjacent to the farms and within the villages of Starbotton and Kettlewell are to be studied. Our overall survey target will be well over two hundred structures (there are over twenty buildings meeting the classification in Starbotton alone) and even with the present five Recording Teams it will be many months before they are all visited and recorded.
Underpinning our desire to have a detailed snapshot of the current state of the traditional agricultural buildings, as we enter the 21st century, is the desire to see if anything remains of the early buildings, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries that were known to abound. It was during this period that as the old common land was enclosed, farmers who had distant holdings, built the fieldbarns so their cows, hay fodder and manure were all kept out in the field and only he, the farmer, had to travel. This successful system, once established, remained unchanged from 1550 to 1960, resulting in a landscape of meadows with their field barns, with wide bio-diversity and of national importance.
In a Crown Survey conducted in 1605 of the Manor of Middleham land in Kettlewell over eighty ‘outhouses’ were recorded, and though these will have been changed dramatically through re-building, re-roofing and raising, it is likely that some physical evidence remains of these older structures.