EU fund comes to the rescue of last surviving timber home

THE building may look like a rundown farm shed but this agricultural building at Octon is the East Riding's last remaining timber cruck construction and was for centuries a family home.

Conserving the building is one of the projects being helped by a grant scheme introduced in the East Riding to help local communities protect heritage in "serious decline".

The Leader programme – the acronym for the EU's "Liaison Entre Actions de Dveloppement de l'Economie Rurale" scheme– , supported by English Heritage and East Riding Council, offers grants of as much as 5,000 to support heritage projects costing up to 20,000.

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Leader's rural heritage officer David Bull said: "A high proportion of the nationally important buildings and monuments in this area are in serious decline and are classified as at risk by English Heritage."

The building at Octon has been dated to the early 1670s and until the 1930s it was the farmhouse for Glebe Farm.

A Leader grant has paid for a bat survey and there has been an initial building assessment. Officials hope money will become available for conservation work, including a new roof, from the high level stewardship scheme.

The ultimate aim is to open the building to organised groups by appointment and on heritage open days.

Mr Bull said: "The farms in the East Riding tend to be very large Georgian farms rather than small vernacular buildings. This building would have been home to a farming family with livestock in a byre at one end and living accommodation the other end.

"It gives a real understanding of what farming was like before the agricultural revolution."