History of Odo’s Barn

Odo’s Barn is a 15th Century Tithe Barn, built on land once owned by Bishop Odo, the Bishop of Bayeux and an Earl of Kent. Amongst his claims to fame, Bishop Odo, was half brother to William the Conqueror. He was responsible for the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Following Bishop Odo’s disgrace, the Barn passed to William de Albeni who was Henry I’s Chief Butler and was later to become the Earl of Arundel and Sussex. From there it passed to the Fitzalans, the Staplegates, the Chaineys, the Barnhams and then the Riders.

By 1825 it belonged to Sir William Richard Cosway, Secretary to Vice Admiral Collingwood who was in command of the Royal Sovereign at the Battle of Trafalgar. Cosway was greatly admired by the Admiral, who wrote “nearly all were killed or wounded on the quarterdeck and poop except myself, my captain and my secretary, Mr Cosway, who was of more use to me than any other officer after Clavell”

Sir William Richard Cosway became a philanthropist who did a great deal of good for the inhabitants of Bilsington from the 1820’s until his untimely death in the 1850’s, in a coaching accident. The Bilsington Monument, as seen from Odo’s Barn, is an obelisk that was erected in his memory.

Today the Maylam family, who farm the surrounding land, own the Barn.

The barn was traditionally a threshing barn with a large wagon entrance on one side allowing carts, laden with corn to enter and a smaller one opposite for the empty carts to exit. The barn was used for threshing the corn and the draught from the two open doors blew through to separate the chaff from the grain, which was then stored at one end. A medieval moat lies adjacent, surrounding the 13th Century Farmhouse, and this afforded some protection from marauding animals and lawless people whilst also keeping the farmhouse dry.

The barn itself has an aisled frame with the sill beams resting on a Wealden sandstone plinth and is a fine example of the late medieval traditions of Kentish Vernacular architecture.

Today, Odo’s Barn is a perfect venue for weddings, parties, anniversaries and many other gatherings.

A 14th Century Church, St Peter and St Paul, sits within a short walk from the Barn and provides a traditional marriage location, allowing guests to enjoy the Reception next door in Odo’s Barn.

Odo’s Barn is steeped in history and character and has splendid views over the Romney Marsh. It is 55ft long, 36ft wide and 30ft high, making it just under 2,000 square feet. It can hold up to 120 guests and there is more space available on our terrace, which is 50ft by 20ft giving 1,000sq. feet.

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