One of the most important buildings at Avoncroft Museum is the 16th century `Cholstrey Threshing Barn’. Rethatched in 2022 the barn has recently had a new animation installed revealing how the barn was originally used. Before mechanisation, ‘threshing’ (the separation of the edible grain from the straw) was performed by hand. Labourers worked in pairs using flails (hinged sticks) to thresh the crop; the work was repetitive, tiring and backbreaking.

Alongside the animation a soundscape includes an oral history recording from local farmer William Horton. The recording was made in 1955 when Mr Horton was 85 years of age and reveals his experience of threshing in the 19th century and the impact of mechanisation.

Avoncroft Museum is very grateful to the Dialect and Heritage Project, National lottery heritage fund and University of Leeds for supporting the project.

The other partners in the project are Ryedale Folk Museum, Weald & Downland Living Museum, Food Museum Dales Countryside Museum