March 15, 2024

Colin Stokes, Colin's barn

pictures are screenprints from the videos in the documentation

The complex of buildings pictured above partly includes living space and for a larger part stables and storage facilities for hay. It is located in an area of grass near the hamlet of Chedglow, part of the village of Crudwell with about 1000 inhabitants in the Wiltshire region, about 85 miles west of London.

Life and works

This complex, known as Colin's Barn, or Hobbit House, was created by Colin Stokes, who was born in 1945 and who not only became skilled in making stained glass windows, but also went into farming as a keeper of a flock of sheep.

To properly care for his flock of sheep, in 1989 he built with his own hands a simple rectangular sheepfold, using chunks of Cotswold stone found lying around in the surrounding field.

This was the start of a construction project that would keep him busy in the years that followed. His singular architecture was built of stacked stones, decorated with cement on the inside to provide strength.

He built a hay warehouse and other structures functional to his business, but he also created -as depicted in above image- a two-story living area where he could stay with his flock when necessary.

The images of this temporary accommodation structure show that the shelter was higher and more extensive than all other structures.
The building had two floors and was equipped with turrets and dovecotes. Inside there was a spiral staircase from the ground floor to the first floor, where also was a simple bedroom, which Stokes could use to spend the night during the lambing season.

And then there were all kinds of narrow stairs, fences and attics, all constructed single-handedly.

The images above and below show that Stokes  had artistic skills, which allowed him to provide some rooms with beautifully decorated arches and windows inlaid with stained glass. 

The information available on the internet does not indicate whether Stokes had any professional training in this regard.

In 2000, a marble quarry was opened near Colin Stokes building. The noise that this business entailed prompted him reluctantly selling his property and moving elsewhere, leaving his project in the good condition it was in at the time.

In 2013 it was reported that Stokes, then aged 68, was farming sheep, poultry and angora rabbits near Moffat in Scotland. 

As far as is known, Stokes died in 2021

The barn is a little difficult to find, and is on private land. The current owner of the site does not appreciate visitors and chases them away when he is around. A sign discourages visitors, but it doesn’t seem to work, because there are various reviews from visitors on the internet.

* Article on website Atlas Obscura
* Article (November 2013) on Mail Online
Article (January 2021 by Hugh Williams, with pictures that give a good impression of the stacked stones in Stokes' creations

* Video (4'52", May 2021, YouTube) by RPM Adventure

Video (17'41", 2022, YouTube) by Partners of the Forgotten World

Colin Stokes
Colin's barn
Chedglow, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
address not available
visitors not welcome

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful, imaginative and organic it is. I love the decoration and stained glass windows, stone staircase and dovecot. Amazing to see what a one man shepherd achieved with his own hands. Quite a formidable talent. So sad to see it falling into disrepair and not being maintained. It is a work of art.