Cressing Temple Barns

Experience a unique piece of history at the 13th century, Knights Templar Barns, complete with restored Tudor walled garden and Tiptree tea rooms.

At a glance

Opening times

Open spaces: 9.30am-4.30pm

For site enquiries: 0333 013 2738

For event enquiries: Events.ExploreEssex@essex.gov.uk

For filming enquiries: Filming.Explore@essex.gov.uk

For event and filming enquiries call: 03330 138222

Find & contact

Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Braintree, Cressing, Essex, England, CM77 8PD
Get directions

0333 013 2738

cressingtemplebarns@essex.gov.uk

Parking & prices

Free parking

At this place

  • Historic buildings
  • Café
  • Dogs on leads allowed
  • Picnics allowed
  • BBQs not allowed

Full site closures:

(Tiptree Tea Rooms remain open at all times, even during full site closures, which includes the gardens and barns.)

Festive opening times:

Saturday 24 December – closed at 2.00pm

Sunday 25 December – Tuesday 27 December – closed

Sunday 1 January – closed

Introduction


*Visitor Notice*

The Wheat Barn is currently closed for maintenance works.

Please check any further site closures above, as sometimes public access is not allowed during a private or ticketed event.

What’s happening in our barns?

When you visit Cressing Temple Barns you are likely to notice changes to the roofs in the 13th century Wheat and Barley buildings.

For the long-term protection of these heritage barns, fabric coverings have been put into place as part of maintenance works and to protect against any debris.

The design, material and placement of the coverings have been specified to allow access for the bat species that are roosting in our roof space.

This work is being carried out in conjunction with Historic England and is being overseen by professional ecologists.

These historic barns date back to the 13th century and were built by the Knights Templar, they are among the oldest and largest wooden structures of their kind in Europe and some of the few remaining Templar buildings in England.

Essex County Council are committed to the upkeep of these iconic and important buildings.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our visitors. Any key updates will be announced on social media and on this website page.

Read more in our FAQs here.

Soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful heritage site and find out about its fascinating history. Wander around the walled garden to learn about Tudor plants and how they were used or simply relax in the immaculate grounds with a picnic. Why not make a day of it with a visit to the Tiptree Tea Room for a special cream tea and browse in the shop and the plant stalls for a special memento of your visit.

Granted to the Knights Templar in 1137, Cressing Temple Barns is of significant historic interest for its unique buildings and garden. Internationally renowned for its impressive and remarkably well preserved medieval carpentry, the barns attract visitors from around the world, providing them with a remarkable insight into the building techniques of the time and a glimpse into the lives of the people who built them. The Grade I listed Barley and Wheat Barns are the oldest known timber framed barns and amongst the few remaining Templar buildings in England.

Nestled in the grounds, the walled garden has been faithfully recreated as a Tudor pleasure garden. A place of beauty and tranquillity, sure to delight anyone with an interest in horticulture or history, and perfect for young children to run, jump and hide!

Take a virtual tour of the beautiful walled gardens in all their spring glory and discover seasonal gardening tips from Head Gardener Rebecca.

History

Templar buildings

Cressing Temple Barns is a site rich in ancient history. Built in the 13th century, the magnificent Grade I listed Barley and Wheat Barns were part of large farmstead built by the Knights Templar. Estates such as Cressing Temple were an important source of funding for their military campaigns in Europe. These barns are now amongst the oldest timber barns and some of the few surviving Templar buildings in England.

The Granary, another Grade I listed timber-framed building, was built just after 1575 and is the largest granary in Essex. This and the other 16th and 18th century buildings are a fascinating insight into the history and changing life of the Essex countryside over the last 800 years.

During the Anglo-Saxon period, Cressing belonged to King Stephen until his wife, Queen Matilda granted the land to the Knights Templar in 1137. It was their most important landholding in Essex and by 1313 the estate included a chapel, hall, brewhouse, dairy and smithy, not to mention a large range of livestock including peacocks.

Following the dissolution of the Templar order, Cressing was passed to the Knights Hospitaller

Walled Garden

The original Walled Garden was built c.1500 -1600, during the reign of Elizabeth I, a formal pleasure garden to serve the wealthy occupants of the Tudor Great House which once stood on this site. Providing for the daily needs of the household the garden would also have been a place for leisure, entertainment and relaxation: a glimpse of paradise on earth and a retreat from the hardships of everyday life

Around one hundred years later Cressing Temple had come into the ownership of a wealthy Dutch merchant who had little use of the Great House and had it demolished but the garden was retained to serve as a kitchen garden for the Farmhouse.

Only the Tudor wall remains of the original garden but the present layout is a faithful recreation of a manor house garden of the time. Evidence from 15th and 16th century illuminated manuscripts and early printed books were used to inform the design, which contains all the elements you would expect of a Tudor garden, including medicinal herbs, a flowery mead, knot garden and potager. It is a serene and picturesque area of the site that we take great pride in keeping lovely all year round.

Following years of restoration, our medieval barns, Tudor walled garden and additional farm buildings are now open to the public.

Read more about the history of the Knights Templar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Activities

Events

Cressing Temple Barns runs a full programme of events all year round. To view the latest events, go to what’s on.

Please note, Cressing Temple Barns will be closed to visitors on the following days:

Saturday 4 September - All day closure

Volunteering

We have a vibrant volunteer community at Cressing Temple and lots of opportunities for people to get involved.

Volunteers, with or without experience, are always welcome to help in the walled garden the community vegetable garden, the heritage apple orchard or the Cressing beehives. Working under the guidance of the Head Gardener, tasks are varied and suited to all ages and abilities. Make new friends, learn new skills, keep active and healthy while helping maintain gardens to be proud of.

If gardening isn’t for you, why not volunteer to help in the visitor centre shop or with selling our plants or Cressing produce. We have a lively and active Friends group who raise money for the gardens and are always happy to welcome new members to get involved.

If your interests lie more in building and mending we have a thriving Community Shed where you can make use of old skills or learn new ones.

To volunteer, please contact Head Gardener rebecca.ashbey@essex.gov.uk.

The Friends of Cressing Temple Gardens

The Friends group were set up in 2013 to support the gardens. They fundraise by selling plants, honey and other produce and seek external funding for specific projects towards garden improvements.

Facilities

Visitor Centre, Shop and Site

Summer Opening times 10.30am-4.30pm
Winter Opening times 10.30am-4.00pm

(The changeover date is when the clocks change)

Shopping at Cressing Temple Barns

At the newly renovated Cressing Temple Barns Visitor Centre there is a gift shop selling locally sourced craft and gift items, including honey from our own on-site bees. Choose the perfect present from the handpicked range of local wine, chocolate or beer, bird feeders and nesting boxes. Archery sets, games and knights will help to bring the visit to life for our younger visitors. Come and browse at your leisure.

Plants are also available to buy.

Accessibility

There are two disabled toilets on site. Level access to all areas apart from Stables, Bake House and Granary. A mobility scooter is available to loan if booked in advance.

Venue Hire

You can hire our barns and conference rooms. To find out about pricing and availability, please contact us

Tel: 0333 013 2738

cressingtemplebarns@essex.gov.uk

Shop, Eat & Drink

Eat and Drink

Tiptree Tea Room

Bright and vibrant, the Tiptree Tea Room serves meals made with fresh and local ingredients. The extensive menu includes breakfasts, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, salads, cream teas, cakes, tea and coffee, cold drinks, wine and farmer’s ales. You can contact the tearoom on 01376 585081.

Shop

Fill your garden with Cressing Temple plants. Select from a range of reasonably priced, unusual perennials and wide choice of herbs and wildflowers. Or take home some home-grown fresh produce and cut flowers from our community vegetable garden.

Festive opening times

Saturday 24 December – closed at 2.00pm

Sunday 25 – Tuesday 27 December – closed

Sunday 1 Jan – closed

Opening times

Summer

Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 5.00pm

Winter

Monday to Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm


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