Rossway Granary

Rossway Granary at Chiltern Open Air Museum

What is it?
A granary for storing grain such as wheat, barley or oats. It could hold up to 75 tons (76,200 kg) of wheat – the same weight as 13 African elephants!

How old is it?
It was built in 1802 (we have a receipt from a builder for £73 10s 0d, or £73.50). The upper storey was added in 1850.

Where did it come from?
Rossway Home Farm, Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire. The Hadden family owned the farm since 1683.

Rossway Granary Interior at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire

Why is it here at the Museum?
By 1976, the granary wasn’t being used because it was surrounded by much newer farm buildings.

What is it built from?
It’s wood with a slate roof and is divided into small rooms for storage called bins. The granary was made bigger and taller in the middle on the 19th century.

Curious features

  • There are metal bars on the windows to stop thieves stealing the grain as it was very valuable.
  • The granary is on mushroom-shaped staddle stones to hold it up off the ground. This keeps the grain dry and stops sneaky rats and mice from getting in and eating the grain.
  • There is a very steep ladder for going upstairs. You’d have to be able to climb this whilst holding really heavy sacks of grain.
  • There are big funnels called ‘hoppers’ in the ceiling and six chutes, like slides, leading outside the building. The grain was kept loose in the granary, so when it was needed it was tipped down from upstairs. The doors on the chutes were then opened and the grain fell into bags on the ground.

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