Barns like this one, associated with Stoner’s House, were used to store crops like oats, barley, potatoes and hay until they were needed. From the early 19th century, barns were built across the wind with two doors opposite each other. The through-draught helped in the work of threshing and winnowing.
If you look carefully at the bottom of the walls outside, you can see the outline of an earlier building, shorter and narrower than this one. We think that in the 1860s, this building was reconstructed and extended to form the threshing barn. Though by that time the barn’s layout, with its opposite doors, was outdated, the people of the township probably copied the buildings they already had and were familiar with.
The 1890s photograph shows the barn under a thatch roof with hipped ends. This would have been supported on crucks. Around 1905, the roof was replaced with corrugated steel, set on a new timber framework. At that time, the crucks were sawn off at the wallhead, removing the hipped ends. The new roof was held down onto the dry stone walls by lengths of fencing wire, twisted tight, and metal bars set into the stonework.
[caption id="attachment_22884" align="alignnone" width="598"] Duncan Stoner’s Roofing Materials request, 1905.[/caption]
In January 1968, a few months before the township opened as a museum, a hurricane tore the roof off this building. The metal bars supposed to hold the roof in place pulled the walls down as the hurricane lifted the roof. The building was left a ruin. It was rebuilt ten years later, but by then all but one of the old cruck stumps had gone, as had the timber structure of the cattle standings at the byre end. Some of the rebuilding work was of poor quality, using cement mortar. This has caused some stones to crack. New timber was used to re-create the roof, covered with second-hand corrugated steel sheets provided by the Argyll Estate.
[caption id="attachment_22885" align="alignnone" width="750"] The barn before the storm with its cattle standings still in place.[/caption]