Dvaro g. 15, LT-86111
Kelmė, tel. (8 427) 61 065 
tel./faks. (8 427) 61 065

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A barn is a structure to store grain. It is an important component to build up a tidy yard. These structures are called by two names in Lithuanian: “svirnas” and “klėtis”, both of them having the same meaning, but different prevalence throughout the district.

Very long time ago (early X c.) barns were extremely significant: they could be found not only in the Balts’ homesteads, but also in mounds and castles. Barns, as typical structures of Lithuanian homesteads, were more known in the XVI – XIX c., in the inventories of manors, villages, and towns.

Usually it is a separate structure in a homestead. Very seldom a barn is jointed with other outhouses. Lithuanians used to choose the most beautiful place for a barn with its main facade oriented towards the tidy yard. House porches and barn-balks, as architectural components, give cosiness and beauty for the tidy yard.

Mostly barns were built from wood. The same constructions were applied for barns and other wooden buildings. However, functionality of a barn required the application of new ways of building: firstly, the foundation appears, which is lifted from the ground onto stones, so that the wind could blow through. Earlier barns were built on little poles. This was done in order to create a more spacious blow-off barn-balk to aerate grain. Such barns were built in Lithuania already in the XVI–XVII c.

Wooden walls of barns are made of round and trimmed-off logs, joined into corners or halving. Smaller or larger size windows are often cut out in barns.

The construction of barn-balks can vary: upper logs of side walls are turned out longer and cut slantwise. Two other logs are put across onto them forming an attic – barn-ceiling. At the bottom of a barn one, two, sometimes three log-crowns are pulled to form a lifted foundation of a barn-balk. Due to the constructional intensity barn ceiling is supported by columns on the barn-balk bearer and a totally finished barn-balk with little columns is obtained.

Ceiling and floor of the oldest barns were made of thick and split planks.

Roofs of barns are mostly simple wall-plate constructions. Barns were mainly covered with straws, also with reeds. Quite many barns are roofed with tiles, lathes and shingles. Very often they have big shelters.

Most barns have from 1 to 6 inner rooms. Garners are the most important in rooms for grain. They are made of small logs or nailed from thicker planks (about 0.75 – 1 m high, 1.20 – 1.60 m wide, upper garners are narrower).

The door is a very important architectural element of barns. They are decorated in interesting motifs and ornaments. The oldest and simplest rectangular barn doors were made of plain vertical one line planks. Later, taking strength and beauty into consideration, the outer part of a door was nailed horizontally or slantwise with the second line of planks. Planks were nailed with special nails that had decorative heads, which were made by blacksmiths. Key plates, hinges and other details are decorated in ornaments.

Kelmė Manor Barn is a wooden structure of purely folk traditions in style. For the first time the barn was mentioned in written sources in 1716. Inventories of the early XIX c. indicate that it is a structure “on brick foundation made of beams and covered with straws”. It has 4 sections; also, it has supports in front. Above, on both sides, it has 2 average-size windows from 4 glasses. A picture of the early XX c. shows the barn with an elevator installed instead of the windows in the front facade. Since then the barn has not changed a lot.

Historical value of the barn. It is the oldest wooden barn of this kind in Lithuania. The building has survived until today with almost no changes, having preserved its initial capacity, the structure and materials of the facade. Important is the fact, that the barn has changed its function only in recent times.

Kelmė Manor Barn is located in the north-eastern part of the homestead. Its foundation is made of stone. All inner walls and partitions are wooden or carcass. Partitions – wooden or timbered. The roof has two slopes and is covered with lathes. The construction of the roof is wall-plate and wooden. The barn is one-storey building with an attic. The planned structure of the building is non-corridor, jointed. The capacity structure is compact. The barn is distinguished by nice prolonged proportions, though they are imposed by purely utilitarian requirements.

There are no elements of a facade architectural decor. The main decoration of the facade – the extant 4 authentic doors. The doors are single-hinged, wooden, planked in a “herringbone”. Nails are made by blacksmiths. Authentic hinges, key plates and a lock have remained up to now. The doors are framed by massive door casings and lamperias. In the days of the manor a part of the central facade was drawn into and it was supported by three poles.

The interior of the building is utilitarian and simple. The planned structure has slightly changed.

Copyright © 2009 The BARN of Kelmė manor homestead adm zone. Sprendimas: V studija