How to Thatch a Roof; The Technical Stuff; Introduction

Along with the pages on thatching materials and tools, this section hopefully forms a comprehensible and comprehensive guide to the art of thatching. Which is now explored in depth, in the next 10 sub pages; hopefully not so deep, as to leave you floundering in a sea of jargon!

This is not a ‘how to’ section by any stretch of the imagination; more a means of understanding the trade. Hopefully, after reading the following ten sub pages, the craft should not be a mystery. The sections on the history and distribution of Britain’s thatch should also be an easier read, if the following pages have become as old friends…

The ‘Features’ page should be of great help, to anyone, lay or professional, designing a new thatch roof or altering an existing one. This page contains advice on what is not desirable or possible, with a thatch covering; which is in fact a very forgiving material to use. Many are the drawings, of proposed roofs, I’ve returned through some poor design …

The final page of this section, concerns non standard thatching methods; the others explain the standard method, which is used to cover the majority of roofs in Britain. I have already covered a little of what follows, in the ‘Beginner’s Guide’ page on this site.

As a little light relief, before we dive in; the images, in the slider below, are some of the various roof decorations, found on our round Britain trip a few years ago. All are now gone, or have become a ghostly image, in the wire netting that covered them……
The origins, of these creatures lie in the decoration of hay and cereal, thatched ricks of times past.

‘Mr Sturgess, thatcher, of Blatherwick & his rick ornaments’


From a display board of around 1930. Our Northants. thatcher states ”The Squire is very particular and will have new ones every year.”