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Chedglow, England

Colin's Barn

Colin Stokes "got a bit carried away" and built a castle that looks like something out of Tolkien. 

Colin Stokes just wanted to build a barn to store hay and house his sheep. Then he “got a bit carried away,” and ended up with a castle that looks like something out of The Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit House, also known as Colin’s Barn, in Chedglow, England, has been abandoned since Stokes moved away in 2000 to avoid the noise of a forest marble quarry opening up nearby. He never finished his project, which he had started 1989 using rocks and stones from around his property, and concrete to hold them together.

Inspired by buildings he had seen over the years, Stokes started with a simple rectangular structure, put up with dry-stone techniques. Then he just kept going. He added turrets and dovecotes, stained glass windows featuring the seasons and the elements (which Stokes made himself), a spiral staircase, and beautiful arches. All of it was done by hand, and with no plans drawn up in advance.

Several birds, including an owl, lived in the turrets and dovecotes while Stokes was building, and those parts are now dominated by birds. On the second floor, Stokes added a room for himself so he could live in the structure during lambing season, though he mostly lived in a nearby cottage. 

Built to blend into its surroundings, the building has come to be known as the “Hobbit House,” though Stokes takes issue with the nickname. He thought of it simply as his barn. To be fair, unlike a hobbit’s home, the structure is not built into the side of a hill. But it does look a bit like a hill itself. The barn is a little difficult to find, and is on private land. A sign discourages visitors, but it doesn’t seem to work. The structure is still in very good condition—a testament to the builder’s skill.