Now is in my early 30’s, I have been thatching since 2004 when I started learning my trade with a local master thatcher who uses traditional methods. He was taught by his Uncle, who was taught by the local Pearce family of thatcher’s.
I have also been working with my father since I was old enough to get on a trailer load of sheaves in the production of high quality traditionally produced ‘Thatching Straw’. I use this straw myself, as well as supply to other thatcher’s across the country.
Having lived and worked in Wiltshire all my life, I understand and am passionate about the time honoured thatching techniques that provide the much loved character of the area.
I always aim to offer a fully inclusive service to owners of thatched properties in the Pewsey area, and throughout Wiltshire. This includes providing free, no obligation estimates, roof condition reports and more detailed specifications for recommended thatching works. This could range from general maintenance and re-ridging to complete re-thatching.
I look to employ the correct, time honoured techniques and the best quality materials, which is why I always use straw grown by myself wherever possible. This helps to ensure maximum longevity and enhance the visual appearance of my work.
As such, I consider myself a craftsman in both Combed Wheat Reed and Long Straw thatched roofing with traditional family business values. I do all the thatch work myself, but on occasion, especially on a larger job, I will work with other thatchers, whom I know well and trust completely.
The term ‘Master Thatcher’ is a very broad term. In fact, any thatcher can call him or herself a master thatcher. Over the years, various thatchers have gotten together to discuss all aspects of thatching and how it can be governed. However there are no real regulations for any thatchers to adhere to which is why the undertaking of choosing the right thatcher is a task many thatched home owners struggle with.
Skilled thatchers should have undergone a minimum of 5 years training with a local master thatcher. Many apprentices do 6-8 years or more in order to gain the complete skill set needed to do any thatched roof. I believe you never stop learning with this job.
Some highly skilled thatchers may choose not to join any master thatcher organisations so it is always recommended to ask them where they have worked locally to see their work first hand.
Finding a thatcher capable of offering the special skills and understanding is very important to maintain a listed building. The quality of the craftsmanship is one of the most important factors in determining the life of a thatch roof, alongside materials.
Some thatchers may not be as experienced as others and therefore not fully understand the all the aspects of the property (i.e whether it is listed or in a conservation area etc.) and will not charge a lot. Others will do the job very quickly and may skimp on materials just to get the job done.
As such, it is always wise to get minimum of 3 quotes, and wherever possible find out where they have been working and have a look at their work. Many good thatchers tend to stay within their own ‘area’ or ‘patch’ so it won’t be too hard to find a previous thatched roof of the thatcher in question. And don’t forget – the cheapest price might not always be the best.