Somewhere along a tiny road deep in the heart of rural England a strange building nestles in snugly amongst the vegetation, almost hidden from view. Looking for all the world like something from Tolkien's Middle Earth, it is in fact the work of a stained glass artist called Colin Stokes and despite what it would eventually become it started life as a barn!

Colin kept a rare breed of sheep and some time in the 1980s he decided he would build a barn in the corner of his field for his flock and for a few other animals he also reared. He used local stone to construct the barn but his artistic tendencies lead to him adding ornamentation and embellishments and soon the basic barn had become something entirely different. Tiny arched windows peep out from beneath the roofs of pointy towers, and arches span arches, the whole becoming an elaborate sum of it's many meandering parts. Colin cemented in each tiny piece of stone he collected from the fields about the land, none of it suitable for much other than dry stone walling, painstakingly erecting a fairy tail masterpiece in the process. He also glazing many of the windows, especially in his poetry and wine party room, with elaborate stained glass designs of his own creation reflecting the animals and the wild life of the area.

And then bureaucracy came along and reared it's ugly head. I am far from certain I have the story totally correct here but from what I can make of it, Colin's labour of love, originally intended to be a basic barn and hence exempt from the need for planning permission, caught the attention of the local council who immediately forbade him from adding anything further to the building; indeed had they had their way it may well have been bulldozed because it had grown way beyond it's original remit as a simple barn. Colin had managed to hide his work from the eyes of officialdom for the best part of ten years, by which time the barn had grown to the size of an appreciable house! So, faced with imminent destruction all looked lost until along came some bats - the barn has an appreciable population of these tiny flying mammals - so now the situation has become a stalemate, it cannot be built up any further but then neither can it be dropped. Colin's original barn had progressively metamorphosised into the place in which he wished to live, however he was upset to find that not only could he not move in, he was not allowed to finish it either. Then some of the adjacent land was purchased by a developer who announced the intention to begin quarrying there, thus shattering the peace and quiet - although in the end that plan does not appear to have come to fruition. Finally, along came the Foot and Mouth epidemic and although his flock had not been affected it seems they were destroyed anyway. Completely disenchanted, this was the final straw and Colin sold up and moved to Scotland.

From this point onwards I can find no further mention of him.

The current land owner wishes to preserve and protect Colin's Barn and no one locally will let on where it is. Of course this makes finding it rather difficult to say the least and it is only 12 months or so after first hearing about it that we finally stood in the field gazing in open mouthed amazement!

So there you have it! The Hobbit House, Colin's Barn, Colin's Folly... call it what you will. Once seen you cannot forget it! It is quite magical and I have every intention of keeping my mouth firmly shut too so that it will hopefully continue to stay protected from the vile elements of society who would damage what is an immense labour of love by Colin Stokes.


Below is a selection of the photographs we took in and around Colin's Barn.


To view any of the photographs in a far bigger size then click on the image of your choice and it will open in a new window.


Click on the  BACK  button to the right if you wish to return to our urb-ex site front page... 


First sight!
As you come round the corner it just gets totally surreal!
The way into the first part of the house.
And in we go...
No proper floors in this part of the building.
But lots of rooms.

This has a sort of John Barleycorn feel about it, that or he buried a beloved goose!

Crudely built but totally charming!

There are stairs going up but not to this bit!

M takes an upper floor shot.
Here it is...
...and in close up!
The stair case at the back has a lovely view over the wood.
Time to move on...
Back where we just came from.
Arch on arch on arch!
Aesthetics gone wild!
Was this a dove cote?

It wouldn't surprise me because Colin seems to have been very much at one with nature.

The roof is a bit dodgy here.


Best to stay low just in case anyone is about because we don't want to leave until we have all our photos!

That's quite some gate post!

One of a pair in fact!


I find it hard to believe anyone could have looked out of those windows!

The back yard!
An outhouse?
The back of Colin's poetry and wine room.
Attention to detail!
Lets go back inside now.
Stucco embellishments.
Now we see Colin's craft.
All the stained glass shows scenes from nature.
The badger and the barn!
Here they are again.
A sunrise and a sunset.
Time to leave...
A sentry post on the edge of the field?
One of the strangest explorations we have ever done!
 CLICK ABOVE  to return to our urb-ex front page...