Malt Barn

The Malt Barn in New Market Street is now part of Usk Rural Life Museum.

In spite of its appearance and name, the Malt Barn which houses the Rural Life Museum is not primarily an agricultural building. Like the adjacent house, it is of early origin with some beams later re-set. This was a hall house probably dating from the start of re-building after the 1402 attacks by Owain Glyndŵr, in which most of Usk was burned down. However, it is also possible that these are the remains of a hall house constructed before 1402 but so badly damaged by Glyndŵr’s men that is had to be replaced by the house – now, The Old Maltsters – to the north, later becoming the malt barn of the maltsters living across the alleyway.

It was converted to a Council depot in 20th C with double doors dating from this time. The Rural Life Museum opened here in 1981, having been founded as the Llanvapley Rural Crafts Preservation Society with its first exhibition in the local village hall in 1967. The cottage at the rear is a two-storey early 18th C addition. The premises have been extended further to the rear to provide additional display areas and a café.

The long barn-like building has many signs of alteration in the masonry. At its northern side there is a medieval mullioned window. Inside are the remains of pads on the tops of the front and back walls of the main room which are typical of Monmouthshire construction. These appear to have been the bases for an original arch-braced or even hammer-beamed roof.


The interior of the barn can be seen via the entrance to the Rural Life Museum cafe in the town car park. The barn and associated extensions house an extended display of 5000+ old farm machinery and artefacts dating from the 1850’s.

Source:-   Geof Mein in “Usk Castle, Priory and Town”  Editors: – J K Knight and A Johnson  2008