The two storey barn was built in 1864, as dated on some timber carving found during the rennovations. This barn was initially a grain store of a crescent shape with two traditional large doors, where the horse and cart would arrive at the back door, unload their grain or hay into the barn and move out of the front door. At a later date, the doors were removed and the barns were converted into horse stables facing the courtyard and grain store to the front.
WORLD WAR I
During World War I, it is thought that the single storey barns were built to house horses that were reared to be sent off to the war in France. The estimated built date is 1910 to 1930.
WORLD WAR II
During World War II, the fields to the south of the site towards Colchester were used as an aerodrome by the American Air force. Park Lane Farm (Business Centre) lies to the immediate right at the top of the northern runway.
Key Dates during WWII
Spring 1942 - Work on airfield construction under way.
August 10th 1942 - Boxted first allocated to 8th Air Force.
August 17th 1943 - Airfield bombed by Luftwaffe. 500lb. (2 killed in communal area - see map)
November 2nd 1943 - 354th FG Ninth Air Force with P51b Mustangs move into Boxted
Jan 11th 1944 - Major James Howard’s Medal of Honour winning combat took place.
April 18th 1944 - The 56th FG move into Boxted from Halesworth.
May 8th 1944 - Robert S. Johnson claims 2 and becomes leading American 'Ace'. ASR Squadron becomes operational.
May 10th 1944 - First operational mission by the Air Sea Rescue Squadron
May 12th 1944 - First 'Zemke Fan'. Robert 'Shorty' Rankin shoots down 5 on one mission.
July 5th 1944 - Francis Gabreski becomes leading 'ace' with 28 victories.
In 1937, the barns were converted for use as a farmyard for fruit packing. Orchards can be seen planted around edge of the airfield. Unit 8 Rear doors were the 'goods-in', the packing hall was Unit 9. Tractors were stored in Unit 11 and 7. Tools were stored in Units 2,3 and 4. Unit 1 was the toilet block and Unit 5 the mess room and farm office.
After the war the runways were reduced in width, with the concrete being crushed and used in the development of the A12. A five metre wide strip of each runway remains today and is used occasionally for light aircraft. Orchards were planted and cropped from 1937 to 1999. Latterly the airfield crops: Onions, Potatoes, Sugar Beet and Wheat.
In 2008, Guy Williamson acquired the site, designed the Business Centre and started a 3-year restoration and conversion of the site, utilising experienced tradesman. Guy and Katy Williamson now run and maintain the Park Lane Business Centre.