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Patrick Grattan

The Process of Hop Drying

  Hops are grown in “hop gardens” (Kent and Sussex) or “Hop yards” (Hampshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire). The “bines” or stems grow up to 20 feet each year on poles. The young shoots were wound around the poles, a process known (in Kent) as “twiddling” From the mid 19th Century the introduction […]

The 16th CE. The earliest evidence

The first evidence of hop growing and drying comes from books and old records, not surviving buildings. Hops had been  used in brewing in northern Europe for centuries but hardly at all in England up until the 16th CE. Growing and drying hops was well established in Bohemia and parts […]

The 17th Century

  In the 17th Century brewing beer and the associated malting and hop growing/drying were cottage industries, widespread across the country on a small scale. But there was steady expansion through the century.  Gerard’s Great Herbal, hugely popular for many years extolled the virtues and wholesomeness of hopped beer over […]

Little Golford (Godwin House)

    The oast at Little Golford, east of Cranbrook, (TN17 3PA) appears to be the most authentic surviving example of an early oast, closely mirroring the 16thCE building described by Scot in size and layout. In 1960 its significance for the history of agricultural buildings had not been identified […]

Malthouses

Up until the 18thCentury both malting and brewing took place on a domestic scale for local consumption. The term oast was used for buildings drying both barley and hops . The hop counties of England were not major malt producing districts but many oasts/kilns were used inter-changeably for barley and […]

Kentish Wealden oasts

  There is a striking concentration of historic 17th-18thCentury oasts in the Cranbrook-Biddenden area of the Kentish Weald. Whether this is down to chance or some other explanation is hard to know. The hamlet of Golford near Cranbrook has a second early oast at Golford Corner. It is probably a […]

Catt’s Place, near Paddock Wood, Kent

    To the South East of Paddock Wood a barn turned oast at Catt’s Place (TN12 6NQ) has survived remarkably little changed. The 1960 photograph shows the half timbered building with plaster and weather boarding of various ages. A large brick kiln was built inside the older building probably […]

Kenward Farm, Yalding

One of the most remarkable oasts identified in 1960 was at Kenward Farm, Yalding (ME18 6AG) close to the River Medway. As the plans show it had 10 kilns, each of them 14 foot square. The drying floors were in poor condition; the kiln walls of rough plaster. The vent […]