In 1797 a stone granary was constructed for Newton Farm and continued to be used as grain storage for nearly 200 years until problems of ground water in the under floor reception pit for the grain made an update essential. A new steel framed building was erected adjacent to the other 20th century buildings leaving the granary vacant and looking rather sad in the old rickyard!
In the meantime, the building had been Grade II Listed by English Heritage as being of special architectural or historic interest – it was also within the Newton St. Loe conservation area. The Duchy’s plan to re-use it as an office involved not only overcoming the ground level damp issues but also making the best use of the existing openings and using traditional materials for alterations and repairs. The roof retained its clay double roman tiles, gutters and down pipes became cast iron instead of plastic and the absolute minimum of new openings were carefully created with new windows and doors from oak. A new oak staircase was installed along with oak framed double glazed internal partitions to maximise the available light. Specialist lighting and air conditioning was put in and high levels of sound insulation installed between the two floors.
The first organisation to lease the building was a firm of pension fund managers who were delighted with the space as their south west regional headquarters. The building was entered in the 2002 CLA Farm and Country Buildings Scheme and won the County Award for Somerset which, as well as being an honour for the Duchy, gave well deserved praise to the Bath contractors Shellard Winter & Co. and the supervising surveyor from King Sturge.