A new barn in a completely different style – 14th and 15th century English.

I know Minecraft agriculture and animal husbandry don’t technically need a barn, but I just don’t feel like I’m doing it right without one. In my most recent vanilla game (the one in which I built the Dutch Windmill), a couple of weeks ago I got to the point where I could think of no building project more pressing than a barn.

I’ve actually built a few barns in Minecraft. My most recent big red barn (built using blocks from the mod Better Agriculture), was the largest and most detailed one I had built so far. But I’ve built several other barns. Now, the thing that all these barns have in common is that they are fundamentally American in design, meaning I took as my starting point barns that I have seen in real life in different parts of rural America (especially Texas).

My very first attempt at a barn, way back in a modded 1.4.7 instance. It sure seemed bigger when I was building it.

This barn comes from an modded 1.5.2 instance. There was a lot of function built into this barn. It actually housed a lot of my Factorization machinery. On the left, there, is a ridiculously complex Railcraft powered chicken farm.

Obviously, there’s this little beauty, too.

But the other buildings I have built so far in this vanilla game haven’t really been American in style. Admittedly, they’ve been a little all over the map, but overall I think it’s safe to say that I have opted for a more British and European aesthetic than an American one (even though my base is situated next to a swap biome, and you might think a Deep South plantation look would be the most fitting). So I decided as I began to plan out my new barn that I wanted to find a way to emulate a distinctly British look.

In the early planning stages, this involved finding some images online of British barns. Two stood out to me, both because of their interior and their exterior. Both are, actually, excellent examples of medieval British barn construction that are under the protection now of the organization English Heritage (my wife and I were members of Scottish Heritage one year when we lived in Edinburgh, and for American students in the UK I think that is one of the best things you can do to make the most of your time overseas).

The first barn was Leigh Court Barn. In fact, I originally was going to make a replica of Leigh Court Barn, but I found its cruck frame structure (the interior beam design) to be difficult to emulate.

The interior of Leigh Court Barn is really cool, but difficult to emulate in Minecraft, with its diagonal lines and slight curvature. This barn was built in the 14th century (meaning 1300s).

The exterior of Leigh Court Barn is an important part of the inspiration for my new barn. It has been restored, so the red brick that you see is not original, nor is the roofing material, if I understand things correctly.

So I found a second inspiration in Harmondsworth Barn. The exterior of Harmondsworth Barn is somewhat less well preserved and less interesting than that of Leigh Court Barn, but the interior frame structure was more suited to the cubic realities of the world of Minecraft. It also provided a really cool and convenient set of bays for storing animals.

The interior frame structure of Harmondsworth Barn, which was built in 1426.

The exterior is a little on the plain side, however.

Even though neither of the two real barns has a thatched roof, I decided I wanted to use bales of hay to create a thatched roof look. Also, instead of making the exterior walls out of wooden planks (as both real barns’ walls are made of), I decided to use white stained hardened clay and wooden beams in a not-entirely-accurate emulation of timber and plaster construction that was also in use in England during this same time period (or perhaps a little after). When the 1.12 update drops, I will probably replace the white hardened clay with white concrete. But for now, the exterior has a slight pinkish hue.

The ends really show off the half-timber construction. Also, notice the hipped roof.

The first step was to build the frame structure. In the past, I have tended to use logs for interior wooden frames, but this time I decided to use wooden planks blocks, stairs, and slabs (specifically plain old Oak Planks).

Looking down the length of the barn’s interior, you can see the cruck frame structures is far more like Harmondsworth Barn than Leigh Court Barn.

From the ground looking up at one of the frames.

After the frames were in place and I had planned out the basic dimensions of the barn, I added the interior part of the roof. The roof interior is made of upside down Dark Oak stairs, which puts the stair texture on the inside and leaves the outside blocky (since I am putting blocks of hay on top of them). In order to give the impression of oak beams in the roof itself, I used full Oak Planks blocks in a diagonal line in line with the Dark Oak stairs.

Looking down from the roof, you can see on the opposite side how I used diagonally placed full oak blocks next to dark oak stairs to give a sense of dimension that is less than a block width.

The barn’s entrances, rather than being on the short sides the way they typically are in an American barn, are located on the long sides on these Medieval British barns.

I have an entrance on both of the long sides of the barn, right in the center.

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, that is a LOT of wheat. I’ve actually been harvesting wheat for over a week and I’m still only just over halfway done with the roof.

The opposite side of the barn reveals what the roof looks like without the hay/thatch. This is the side where I am keeping my sheep and cows.

While I keep sheep and cows outside, inside the barn, I keep horses, donkeys, pigs, and rabbits (and llamas, once I tame one).

The space in between the frames makes a great bay to keep animals, like Chipotle my little burrito, here.

I have a larger pin at one end of the barn to keep rabbits.

One last detail: outside the barn I have planted a small flower garden (one, because it looks nice, and two, to get my wife say, “Aww! A flower garden!”).

A small flower garden surrounded by boxwood bushes/spruce leaves.

To the left of the entrance, we have roses, poppies, oxeye daisies, and azure bluets. In the center are lilacs.

To the right we have dandelions, blue orchids, peonies, and sunflowers. All I am missing are tulips and alliums.