Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert joined a celebration event to mark the restoration of an ancient barn in Sullington on Friday (1 December).
Newly restored building
Gail and Graeme Kittle welcomed the MP back to the Grade 2 listed Sullington Manor Farm to see the newly restored farmstead building. Mr Herbert first saw the building when the ‘Saving Sullington’s Heritage’ project began in July 2015. The project received special support from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) who provided a working party of volunteers to undertake repair works using traditional methods. More than 300 people have supported the restoration work.
Sullington Manor Farm received an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which has help to fund the development of a café and a free permanent exhibition about the history of the farmstead.
Friday’s celebration event brought together the project leaders, volunteers and local residents. The South Downs folk singers provided entertainment with traditional songs about Sussex. Mr Herbert congratulated all those who helped with the restoration and thanked the Heritage Lottery Fund for making the work possible. Gail Kittle said: “The farm was chosen for the SPAB venue as these ancient farmstead buildings so richly represent the manorial heritage of the South Downs in Sussex. The character of the ancient farmstead at Sullington is a result of diversification over hundreds of years as the balance between agricultural activities swung backwards and forwards depending on demand. Old agricultural buildings are no longer suited to modern agricultural methods and traditional barns no longer meet modern regulations for harvest storage; in the South Downs National Park the demand now is to use such buildings for leisure purposes.
“The transformation of this barn into exhibition centre, with a café opening in the spring, continues the historic agricultural pattern of adapting buildings for a new economic purpose. The buildings must be used or they will deteriorate and the historic fabric potentially lost forever. The farm inspires all who visit it, but now the history of the farmstead will be explained in a free-of-charge exhibition in the newly repaired barn. We are thrilled to have reached the conclusion of the ‘Saving Sullington’s Heritage’ project and look forward to the future which it has opened up.”
Mr Herbert said: “I was delighted to return to see the completed restoration of this beautiful barn. It is a lovely building in a magnificent position in the South Downs, and I am sure that many people will enjoy visiting it. I look forward to returning when the café is open in the Spring.”