A “charrue” is a plough and the building was originally a barn and until recently used to house farm implements on the ground floor. A ladder provided access to the grain and other produce store on the floor above.
Some of the farming implements that were found here are believed to date back to the early 1600’s.
The barn was actually built in 1848 at the same time as the Chateau. It adjoined a small cottage by the road (originally to house barn staff) and linked to the next cottage, which was also a barn.
In the southern end wall can be seen two large stones, which would have supported a mantelpiece in the cottage on the other side. There is a niche that shows the remains of a doorway through which farm labourers would have passed after downing tools for the night and first thing in the morning. Also in the same area of this cottage is another smaller niche, which would have been for allowing cats in and out because rats would have been a major problem when grain was stored.
The staircase is a traditional Charentaise staircase, dating from around 1800. The Broughton-Tompkins had removed this from another property in the nearby town of Corme Royal.
The original opening to the building covered the entire eastern face where the existing entrance is now. It had to be high enough and wide enough to accommodate barrows and carts, and quite probably a horse-drawn buggy or two, and any other implements that were in use at the time. From the upper section, where the bedroom windows now are, sacks of grain would have been thrown into a cart below, as and when was needed.
The grain stored up there would have been produced by the Chateau and its land and would have been for domestic purposes only. In another of our cottages can be seen the remains of the bread oven where the chateau staff kneaded dough and baked the bread.