Right at the moment, our future sadly looks uncertain. So many people have put time and love and effort into the cooperative, to get us this far. But we need your help. We need volunteers to spend some time on the land, maintaining the buildings, dealing with weeds and pests and also just generally to be on the land, use it and fall in love with it, as we have.
Here are our dreams:
The project has five main parts:
- Visitor cabins to accommodate 60 people, a kitchen/dining hall, and associated amenities.
- A replica of the small French medieval castle, Chalencon, and its associated village.
- A residential subdivision with a medieval theme.
- A Centre for Heritage Crafts.
- A perma-culture farm featuring old animal breeds and plant varieties.
We plan to have a group of visitor cabins, with a total capacity of about 60 guests. The designs are based on surviving medieval buildings, many of them in the Weald and Downland Museum in Devon, UK. Between medieval events, the cabins will be accommodation for craft and permaculture workshops.
The cabins will also be available for group bookings of the site, such as scouts, schools, church retreats and drama workshops. They will adjoin a village green, for medieval tournaments and games.
The cabins will all have:
- Instant gas hot water showers
- composting toilets
- gas heaters in the cabins to get visitors through the winter months
Groups are welcome to sponsor the construction of cabins, in return for ongoing rights to use the facility. There is ample scope to customise the design. Please contact us for more details.
Along with the cabins, there will be a hall capable of hosting feasts and tavern nights. Our plans include a caretaker’s residence upstairs.
The Development Application approved by Yass Council includes provision for additional toilet/shower amenities blocks and a utility shed. The parking, road and building plans make special provision for people with disabilities.
Castle and Village
The centrepiece of the project will be the medieval village castle, based on the French mountain village of Chalencon during the period 1400-1430 AD. Chalencon dates from 1037 and includes a small castle with a round keep.
The village was chosen as the model for the Crossroads Project because of its compact size, its similarity in climate and landform to the property, and because of existing links to that area within the Yass community.
During the Hundred Years War, the area was held by the Duc de Berry, the famous patron of artists. Berry supported the uncrowned French Prince, the Dauphin, against the English. Joan of Arc fought to regain France for the Dauphin and was burnt at the stake. The Lord of Chalencon was knighted by the Dauphin for leading troops against the traitorous Burgundians.
Chalencon was significant because it was on major trade and pilgrimage routes. After the middle ages, these were no longer important and the village was virtually abandoned. This has meant that the medieval features of the village have remained essentially intact. The village is now being restored.
The Craft Guild
While our primary interest is medieval times, the co-op’s objectives seek to foster traditional crafts and skills generally. We would like to establish partnerships with a variety of national organisations for pre-industrial crafts, for instance in blacksmithing and embroidery. Many of these national groups do not have an exclusively medieval charter.
At an appropriate time, we will seek government funding for a Centre for Heritage Crafts. We would hold craft courses and special events for community groups, honouring a broad range of traditional crafts while encouraging attention to the medieval aspects of each hobby. We will be asking for seed funding for our crafts complex: several multipurpose workshop spaces, a studio for an artisan in residence, and a Guild Hall gallery/display space. We will seek funding for a Co-ordinator to establish a calendar of weekend workshops, to make the Centre self-funding. As we are able, we will build additional workshops for specific crafts.
We may establish a trust fund to bring expert medieval artisans from around Australia and overseas: they would run specialist courses to make the programme self-sustaining.
The Centre for Heritage Crafts will come within the project’s re-creation of the Chalencon village. The buildings will be constructed in the style of the original ones. If we are unsuccessful in obtaining grant funds then we will develop these facilities in smaller steps as we are able.
Medieval craft skills
The Crossroads Co-op is fortunate to have many talented craftspersons as members, and more amongst our friends. Some of these people have their own plans for facilities on site, for instance a wood-fired pottery kiln and a blacksmith’s shop. When the time comes, we aim to work with artisans both from medieval groups and also the wider community. The project’s craft facilities will be a great resource for people interested in the middle ages.