Oast Houses

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright April 2009, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


❖ Converted oast houses

Over 85% of oast houses have now been converted to dwellings, usually houses, but sometimes flats.
TQ7040 : Station Oast, Goudhurst Road, Horsmonden, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ9136 : Tiffenden Oast, Harbourne Lane, High Halden, Kent by Oast House Archive TR0461 : Oast House on Head Hill Road, Goodnestone, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7269 : The Oast Houses, Rede Court Road, Rochester, Kent by Oast House Archive

…lots of which are also B&B's and holidays lets.
TQ7534 : Bull Farm Oast, Glassenbury Road, Hartley, Cranbrook, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7951 : Oast House at Langley Park, Langley, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7846 : Sanders Oast, Chart Hill Road, Cross-At-Hand, Kent by Oast House Archive TR2057 : Oast House, The Green, Littlebourne, Kent by Oast House Archive

One of the first known conversions was at Millar's Farm near Meopham in 1903.
TQ6361 : Tower Folly, Gravesend Road, Wrotham, Kent by Oast House Archive

Other oast houses have been converted to…

Farm shops
TR0347 : Oast House at Perry Court Farm, Bilting, Kent by Oast House Archive

Offices
TQ7038 : Church Farm Oast, Brick Kiln Lane, Horsmonden, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ8150 : The Oast, Warmlake Business Estate, Sutton Valence, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6345 : Tatlingbury Oast, Five Oak Green Road, Five Oak Green, Kent by Oast House Archive

Theatres
TQ5847 : Oast House at the Tonbridge Oast Theatre, London Road, Tonbridge, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ8165 : The Oast House Theatre, Stratford Lane, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent by Oast House Archive

Community centres
TQ8166 : Oast House at Rainham Oast Community Centre, Granary Close, Rainham, Kent by Oast House Archive

Visitors centres
TQ4949 : Bough Beech Oast, Winkhurst Green, Ide Hill, Kent by Oast House Archive

Gift shops
TQ6723 : Oast House, Batemans, Batemans Lane, Burwash by Oast House Archive

Schools
TQ7354 : Oast House at Bower Grove School, Fant Lane, Maidstone, Kent by Oast House Archive TR1153 : Canterbury Steiner School by O O'Brien

Health centres
TQ7454 : Fant Oast, Upper Fant Road, Barming, Kent by Oast House Archive

Youth hostels
TQ7865 : Oast House at Capstone Farm, Capstone Road, Gillingham, Kent by Oast House Archive

Student Accommodation
TR1557 : Maltings, Outen Hill Place, Canterbury, Kent by Oast House Archive

Cafés, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants
TQ6747 : Brookers Oast, Beltring, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ9950 : Oast House at Beech Court Gardens, Challock, Kent by Oast House Archive

a Christian Retreat
TQ8123 : The Oast Houses, Tufton Place, Ewhurst Lane, Northiam by Oast House Archive

…even a Kebab shop!
TQ6069 : Converted Oast House into shops by David Anstiss

An increasingly small proportion of disused oast houses are left unconverted.
TQ7150 : Buston Manor Oast, Shinglebarn Lane, Hunton, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ5337 : Unconverted Oast House at Florence Farm, Withyham Road, Groombridge, East Sussex by Oast House Archive TQ5853 : Oast House at Mote Farm, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7446 : Unconverted Oast House at Broad Forstal Farm, Tilden Lane, Marden, Kent by Oast House Archive
or in ruins
TQ4940 : Derelict Oast House at Nore Farm, Blackham, East Sussex by Oast House Archive TQ8115 : Derelict Oast House at Moor Farm, Stonestile Road, Westfield, East Sussex by Oast House Archive TQ6467 : Derelict Oast House on Melliker Lane, Meopham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6749 : Derelict Oast House, Arnolds Lodge Farm, Hale Street, East Peckham by Oast House Archive
See a Geograph MapExternal link of unconverted oast houses and Shared descriptionExternal link.

There are a number of publicly visitable oast house museums.
TQ7742 : Oast House at Brattle Farm, Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6747 : Bells 1-4, Beltring Hop Farm, Beltring, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7458 : Oast House at The Museum of Kent Life, Cobtree, Lock Lane, Sandling, Kent by Oast House Archive TR0644 : Brook Oast, The Street, Brook, Kent by Oast House Archive
TQ8038 : Oast House at Sissinghurst Castle, Biddenden Road, Sissinghurst, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6723 : Oast House, Batemans, Batemans Lane, Burwash by Oast House Archive TQ4949 : Bough Beech Oast, Winkhurst Green, Ide Hill, Kent by Oast House Archive

❖ Preservation

Over 500 Oast Houses are Listed buildings. See more listed oastsExternal link
SU8135 : Oast House at Wey House, Standford Lane, Headley, Hampshire by Oast House Archive TQ5754 : Oast Houses, Foxbury Farm, Stone Street, Kent by Oast House Archive TR0957 : Denstead Oast, Denstead Lane, Chartham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7953 : Oast House at Belks, Otham Street, Otham, Kent by Oast House Archive TR2258 : Ickham Oast House, The Street, Ickham, Kent by Oast House Archive

Yonsea Farm was saved from the path of the Channel Tunnel railway link near Hothfield, and completely moved to the Rare Breeds Centre.
TQ9534 : Oast House at Yonsea Farm, Rare Breeds Centre, Woodchurch, Kent by Oast House Archive

The tiles and timbers of an oast house at the Bewl Water Reservoir site were taken to Montreal, Canada, where an oast house was reconstructed.

This unlisted oast house at Wincheap, Canterbury, is currently under threat of demolition.
TR1456 : Old Oast House, Hollow Lane, Canterbury, Kent by Oast House Archive

Lack of maintenance is common on disused buildings, as demonstrated by this collapsed kiln roof near Brenchley.
TQ6740 : Derelict Oast at Tong Farm, Marle Place Road, Brenchley, Kent by Oast House Archive

Many traditional materials and features are changed during the conversion period, such as large domestic windows, chimney stacks, porches, white painted weatherboard (rather than black stain), tile hung walls, and painted walls.
TQ8141 : Pound Hill Oast, Biddenden Road, Frittenden, Kent by Oast House Archive

It is important that oast houses are converted sensitively to maintain their character and avoid unattractive additions…
TQ6649 : Orchard Oast, Bush Road, East Peckham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6950 : The Oast House, Yalding Hill, Yalding, Kent by Oast House Archive

Other modifications;

Some unusual windows
TQ6361 : Tower Folly, Gravesend Road, Wrotham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6128 : Cinderhill Farm Oast, Rushers Cross, Mayfield, East Sussex by Oast House Archive

Cowl replacements
TQ9127 : The Roundel, Stocks Road, Wittersham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6723 : Oast House, Batemans, Batemans Lane, Burwash by Oast House Archive

❖ Archive

Unlike castles, windmills, pillboxes and other distinct buildings, there are no other public lists or photo-archives of oast houses.
With over 2400 separate oast houses photographed, GeographExternal link has the largest public online photographic record of oast houses.

❖ Popular Oast Houses

Some of the most photographed oast houses on Geograph and the rest of the internet…

TQ8038 : Oast House at Sissinghurst Castle, Biddenden Road, Sissinghurst, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6747 : Bells 1-4, Beltring Hop Farm, Beltring, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7458 : Oast House at The Museum of Kent Life, Cobtree, Lock Lane, Sandling, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7038 : Church Farm Oast, Brick Kiln Lane, Horsmonden, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ8125 : Great Dixter, Oast House, Northiam, East Sussex by Oast House Archive

…and most featured on postcards and calenders

TQ5045 : Oast House at Larkins Farm, Chiddingstone, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ5045 : Triangle Oast, Hampkins Hill Road, Chiddingstone, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ5246 : The Oast, Moorden Farm, Station Hill, Chiddingstone Causeway, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ5758 : Nearly Corner Oast, Heaverham Road, Kemsing, Kent by Oast House Archive

❖ Fake Oast Houses

Some 'fake' or 'mock' oasts have been allowed to be built. Most are easily spotted as they are out of proportion to a normal oast house, built at a much larger scale than the originals. Many of these appear to have been built around the 1980's when planning laws were more relaxed, though there are some more recent examples. Most are in areas were the local area has little or no architectural merit.

TQ8652 : Mock Oast House at Tenacre Court, Ashford Road, Harrietsham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7256 : The Barn, Hermitage Court, Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ8223 : Wychwood, Mill Corner, Northiam, East Sussex by Oast House Archive TQ7856 : The Early Bird Public House, Grove Wood Drive, Grove Green, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ6141 : Mock Oast House at Jarvis Hotel, Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ4762 : The Oast House, Pratt's Bottom by David Anstiss SK3533 : The Oast House pub, Sinfin Lane by JThomas

SO5968 : Toilets, Market Street by Bob Embleton These toilets were opened in 2010 in the style of two oast house kilns, at about half size.

See more fake oast housesExternal link

❖ Village signs

Many village signs in hop growing areas adorn an oast house.

TR1460 : Tyler Hill Village Sign by Oast House Archive TR2057 : Littlebourne Village Sign by Oast House Archive TQ8748 : Boughton Malherbe & Grafty Green Village Sign by Oast House Archive TR1258 : Harbledown Village Sign by Oast House Archive TQ7822 : Staplecross Village Sign by Oast House Archive TQ6331 : Wadhurst village sign, High Street by Oast House Archive TQ9239 : Bethersden Village Sign, Bethersden, Kent by Oast House Archive

See more village signsExternal link

❖ As seen on TV

TQ9141 : Oast House at Buss Farm, Pluckley Road, Bethersden, Kent by Oast House Archive
Darling Buds of MayExternal link (1991-1993).
Buss Farm was the main filming location for the tv series, where it was known as 'Home Farm'. In one episode the oast is re-tiled.


❖ Trivia

The most common names are Manor Farm OastExternal link and Park Farm OastExternal link.

An oast house was only used for drying for one month each year. The rest of the year it would be used as a store for other farm produce, animal feed, farm implements or whatever else the farmer might need to store.

In 2004, as an alternate way to sell an oast house at Chilham, it was put up as a raffle prize.
TR0755 : North Court Oast, The Kilns, Lower Lees Road, Old Wives Lees, Kent by Oast House Archive

In 2007, the Daily Mail newspaper gave away an oast house, valued at £400,000, in a competitionExternal link.

❖ Further reading

Books
"Kentish Oasts" by R. and I. Walton
"Oasthouses in Sussex and Kent" by Gwen Jones and John Bell
"Beltring Hop Farm" by Robin Walton
"The Oasthouses, Their Life & Times" by Alan Major

Webpages
WikipediaExternal link
Images Of EnglandExternal link
Geograph: Oast Houses (snippet)External link
Geograph: The Hop FarmExternal link
Geograph: Hopper Huts (snippet)External link
Geograph: Hops & Hop Fields (snippet)External link
Geograph: Maltings (tags)External link
KML

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