Site of historic civil war row wins award

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A barn which is thought to have been the scene of a row between Cromwell and Lord Fairfax during the English Civil War has won a prestigious award.

The award has gone to the architects responsible for a £1.4 million transformation of the historic 16th century barn.

The grade II-listed building at Crag House Farm, Cookridge, was converted from an almost derelict outbuilding into a new restaurant and farm shop, for the charity Caring For Life.

Townscape Architects worked closely with Caring for Life and Leeds City Council on the rejuvenation project, which took almost a year to complete. The work involved challenges such as the preservation of ancient oak beams dating back to the 16th century.

The new premises, opened in October 2012, provide training opportunities for students from the charity’s catering academy which offers hope and a fresh start to vulnerable people – many of them homeless or destitute as a result of extreme poverty or neglect.

And, at a prestigious ceremony at Leeds Town Hall, The Granary was named the winner in the Best Conserved Building category at the Leeds Architecture Awards, winning high praise from judges who described the project as “a very fine piece of restoration which deserves top marks for conservation.”

Townscape Architects’ managing director Nick Silcock: “Of course, we were hoping to come away with something but we knew it would be tough against such strong competition.”

“We were thrilled to be announced as the winners in our category but it was a team effort and our thanks should also go to everyone who played a part, including the council, Caring For Life, J & W Kirby from Wakefield – who worked on preserving the beams – and structural engineer Jameson Consulting.”

The old granary is thought to be a possible location of the famous spat over taxes between Oliver Cromwell and Lord Fairfax in the aftermath of the Battle of Marston Moor. However, the building also withstood a more modern assault on its architectural integrity.

Mr Silcock said: “Research suggests the barn started with a thatched roof, which was replaced with stone and then asbestos – which was apparently damaged extensively when a wheel fell off a light aircraft passing overhead and crashed through the building.

“However, as soon as we cast eyes on the barn, we could see what potential it had.”

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