The Roof Refurbishment of Godwick Great Barn 

The story of Godwick Great Barn’s roof refurbishment project. Why we did it and what impact it’s had on the business already 

Refurbishing the roof at Godwick Great Barn was one of those projects that we always said we will tackle next year and then postpone because of time and cost. Early last year, we decided to bite the bullet and fix it for this winter.

Late on a Friday evening last September, I got a phone call that I had never wanted to take. It was from my barn wedding manager saying that they had just heard from the couple who were setting up their wedding and that water had poured into the west side of the barn following a big thunderstorm.

Now it was a torrential downpour of Armageddon proportions, but we had had big storms in the past and while the odd bit of water may have forced its way in, it was very small amounts and was manageable. This wasn’t though. If it had happened at the same time the following day it would have been during the couple’s wedding breakfast and this would have been disastrous.

There and then I decided this was a risk we could no longer afford to take and with the effects of global warming we were definitely being exposed to more and bigger storms.



Looking back on it now (March 2020 amid the Coronavirus epidemic) it was the best and worst decision I have ever made.


Best in that we now have a much improved and better looking barn, in my view, and one that is solidly water tight and now with insulation in the roof, meaning that we should be able to retain the heat much more effectively and, importantly for our green credentials, efficiently. Worst decision on the basis that we had to eat into the cash reserves that we had to do the refurbishment and we suddenly find ourselves as a business – due to the sudden and devastating Coronavirus epidemic – that was growing solidly to one that has been slammed into reverse. 

Getting back to that wedding in September, I can safely say we pulled off the clean up, thanks to my incredible team, but also in no small part thanks to caterer Florentina’s front of house team and the couple’s wedding stylist the Little Lending Company.

We all worked tirelessly the next morning to get the mess cleaned up and thankfully the bride and groom were the coolest couple ever and let us get on with the task in hand trusting that we would get it sorted. A happy ending.

As we stand today, we face a fight for business survival. One we as a team are determined to get through and if we do we will be truly thankful of that fantastic looking and totally awesome refurbished roof at the Great Barn.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisations, companies and individuals for helping us achieve this magnificent project on time and on budget! 

Historic England for allowing us to refurbish this magnificent Grade II listed roof much of which dates back to the date it was created in 1597. 

Peter Rawlings our conservation architect, whose careful, considered demeanour kept the project on track and ensured we kept true to the integrity of the building. In the end, I think we have enhanced it’s beautiful internal roof features. The wonderful giant oak beams, rafters and purlins, stand out even more now they are backed with Siberian larch. 

NAP Anglia, our building and scaffolding contractors. I must thank them all for their hard and tireless graft under some pretty horrendous conditions at times. They said they could pull the project off in the time available and they did. It was pretty tight and they had to work a lot of weekends, but they finished with a week to spare. The quality of the craftsmanship of the oak beam work is second to none and the replacement roof, both inside and out, is a pretty impressive structure. 

The New Anglia Business Growth Programme Small Grant Scheme. We were fortunate enough to be awarded a grant from the Small Grant Scheme to help us with the roof refurbishment project. This valuable contribution enabled us to undertake this project in this financial year and has enabled the business to expand beyond its traditional season of weddings. 

Jeremy Peter's landscape image of the Johnson suite, Godwick's latest room with funky flamingos
Sarah Jane Ethan - three wreaths on the entrance windows
Jessica Elizse's lovely image of the bride and her train descending the main staircase at Godwick Hall
James Powell's image of a wedding ceremony in the middle of the great barn
 Luis Holden's great image of Nick Will the tractor driver
Jessica Elizse's image of wonderful hanging floral wreaths and Godwick trestle tables
Peach and Jo - Godwick isn't Godwick without sheep in the ancient landscape

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