The grandest pigsty in the world (probably)


The grandest pigsty in the world (probably)

Near the seaside village of Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire sits a Victorian folly in the style of an Ancient Greek temple. Amazingly, this was designed and used as a pigsty.

The Pigsty can be found next to Fyling Hall School, with fine views of the sea and coastline. It is a Grade II* listed wooden building that was once a functioning home for pigs. It is now operated by the Landmark Trust as a holiday home.

The date of the building is uncertain – it seemed to have been completed in 1891, but alterations may have been made as late as 1906. The folly was designed by the local Squire and Justice of the Peace, John Warren Barry (1851–1920), who was attracted to Mediterranean buildings. His book "Studies in Corsica: Sylvan and Social", published in 1893, has recently been reissued in paperback.

A 15 year-old apprentice, Matthew Hart, was hired to build the sties. He reported that Squire Barry had no fixed idea as to their final appearance and frequently changed his mind during their construction. Apparently young Matthew Hart was so delighted when the squire finally approved the sties that he climbed on the roof and danced a jig, falling off and breaking his nose.

The pigsty was only one of Squire Barry's creations. One was a cow byre in the shape of a church complete with oak doors and stalls and stained glass windows. An employee recited rote verses from the bible as the cows were milked.

The squire also had a chicken coop built in the shape of a pyramid. Unfortunately, he was unaware that pyramids had a solid inside and the capping stones soon collapsed, injuring a farm worker.

By the mid 1980s the building was deteriorating badly.

The lease was acquired by the Landmark Trust and turned into a holiday rental. The building now has a bedroom, bathroom, and living area - with whimsical carved pigs dotted around the place in homage to the original inhabitants of this unique property.

Further reading

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