'Compton, Surrey', photography by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

'Compton, Surrey', photography by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner
'Compton, Surrey'
England
19th century
Albumen print
Museum no. PH.34-1982
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This farm lay on the path of a pilgrimage route in the Middle Ages. The barn, with its double doors open, was built not primarily as an agricultural building but as a pilgrim shelter. The barn acts as focal point in a detailed farmyard scene. On the left, a thatched cornrick, indicative of the summer's good harvest stands raised on 'staddle' stones to protect it from damp, rats and mice. Behind, a wooden thatched barn with combined dovecote has a pair of ladders, to climb corn and hayricks, hanging on its side. On the right is a haystack used in part for the livestock's winter feed. No sign of the 19th century intrudes. This ordered and abundant scene documents forms of age-old rural practice that were to vanish over the next few decades due to increasing industrialisation.