Avoncroft Museum opened to the public in 1967 following the rescue and reconstruction of a medieval Town House from Bromsgrove town centre. Its collection has since grown to encompass over 30 historic buildings and structures, dating from the 14th century to the mid-20th century. All of Avoncroft’s buildings and structures were neglected and/or threatened with demolition before being relocated to the Museum’s site.

Cholstrey Barn

Our 16th threshing barn was originally located at a farm in Cholstrey, Herefordshire. Prior to mechanisation in the early 20th century, threshing was undertaken by hand. Pairs of agricultural workers separated the stalk of the wheat, oats or barley by beating the crop with a flail, which was hard and time-consuming work. The barn has impressive cruck-framed timbers, cut from a black poplar tree, which rise from the ground to carry the weight of the roof and support the walls.

Cottage and Forge

This late 18th century cottage and forge was occupied by a succession of blacksmiths during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was originally located on a main road between Leominster and Hereford, opposite a coaching inn called the ‘King’s Arms’. The inn provided a resting point for travellers and regular work for the blacksmiths who repaired wagons and carriages and replaced horses’ shoes. The forge also met the needs of the village and surrounding farms.


Dovecotes were designed to house pigeons or doves. This dovecote was originally located at Haselour Hall Manor in Staffordshire and was constructed in the early 17th century. The pigeons or doves housed there would have provided a valuable source of feathers for mattresses and pillows, manure for fertilisation of their grounds and meat for consumption.


The Tollhouse was originally located at Little Malvern, Worcestershire. It was built by the Upton-upon-Severn Turnpike trust in 1822 for a total cost of £56. Turnpike trusts were established by Act of Parliament from the late 17th century onwards. The trusts assumed responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of roads, which were essential for the transportation of materials and products, from local parishes. To fund work, trusts charged tolls for the use of the roads, which were collected at tollgates. This task was often delegated to a gatekeeper who, in return for a yearly rent, was allowed to keep the payments they collected. Many travellers despised the toll system as roads frequently showed little improvement and they began to suffer long waits.


Britain faced a major housing shortage following World War Two. New house building had ceased during the war, and over three million houses were either destroyed or damaged by bombing. A building programme of ‘emergency factory-made houses’ was launched in 1944 to address the issue. Following a design competition, thirteen models were chosen. The Acron Mk V, of which our prefab is an example, was one of the most popular. They were built for roughly £1200 and allocated to councils most affected by bombing. Acrons were at the height of modernity, equipped with hot running water, electric lighting, built-in storage, and a fitted kitchen with a cooker and a fridge. This prefab was built in 1946 and stood at Moat Lane in Yardley, Birmingham.

Avoncroft Museum's medieval Town House and period garden

Medieval town house

This mid 15th-century town house was the first building in Avoncroft’s collection. It stood for 500 years at the corner of Station Street and Worcester Street (now Road), just a couple of miles from the Museum. Beneath centuries’ worth of alterations its dilapidated exterior hid a typical medieval ‘hall house’ with a central hall used by the whole household next to smaller private family rooms. It once had another bay, probably containing a buttery and pantry, whose location is now marked by sandstone blocks. The kitchen was probably located in a separate building to prevent fire.


This stable was built in the 18th century to house working horses. Working horses were essential to the economy during this period. They were used to transport people and goods via carts and wagons, to plough and sow agricultural land and to pull and power a range of industrial and agricultural equipment. The stable has a practical design with a ground floor to house horses and a top floor, reached by ladder, to store hay.


Avoncroft’s much-loved windmill originates from Danzey Green, Warwickshire. It is a typical West Midlands post mill with a simple but effective design that enables it to be operated by a single person and to be turned in any direction to face the wind.

Post mills were widespread during the 18th and 19th centuries. They were used to grind grain, such as corn or wheat, to produce flour, often for bread- a staple of people’s diets during this period. Windmills entered steady decline as steam powered milling machinery increasingly began to be harnessed, with many falling into disuse and eventually being lost.