Hire of the Duchy Barn 

The Duchy Barn is  available for private hire:  £15 per session for local groups;  £40 for parties.
Contact Anne Rowledge on  01206 322 394.

Duchy Barn
1-IMG1751 1   2-IMG1752   3-IMG1755  
Click on the image to view a larger image.      

A Brief History of the Duchy Barn.

Dedham Hall was the seat of one of the three ancient manors of the village, the others being Overhall and Netherhall.  According to G. H. Rendall, in the thirteenth and fourteenth  centuries, the hall stood at the East end of the present churchyard, on the South side of the area that is now known as Royal Square.  The hall was demolished in about 1586.  Nearby stood the sheds, barns and granaries to service the Hall of which the Duchy Barn with its attached brick shed are surviving evidence.  The precise age and history of the current Barn are unknown.  On an early nineteenth century map, the buildings on the site which were used as a Cart-Shed, were shown as belonging to the 'King',  being part of the Duchy of Lancaster estates.  By the middle of the nineteenth century it had become a Changing Room and Pavillion for the football and cricket clubs.

By the efforts of W. W. Hewitt in the early twentieth-century the Barn was granted by the Duchy of Lancaster to the Vicar and Churchwardens of Dedham for the benefit of the village.  During the First World War the Barn served as a Recreation Room for Soldiers in training.  The remains of its use as a Boxing-Ring may still be seen.  In 1920 and probably until the end of the Second World War it became the Parish Mortuary.  The Bier (a hand-cart for moving the coffin) which still belongs to the Parish Church  used to be kept in the adjoining shed.   In 1973 after renovation and improvements supervised by Raymond Earith, it was opened under the auspices of the Council for the Preservation of Essex as a Countryside Centre to promote knowledge and welfare in the countryside and also as a Tourist Information Centre.  In 1999 CPREssex offered the lease back to the Vicar and the Churchwardens, by which time major repairs were needed.   After substantial fund raising, grant-getting and local generosity, the Barn opened as a Youth and Community Centre for the benefit of all in Dedham in November 2002.

Text written by GGM in 2009.

If you want to know more about the Manors and Other Estates in Dedham click the link below to access the relevant section in  "A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10: Lexden Hundred (Part) including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe (2001)"