thatching tools

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history of the Thatcher

Brief History

In the middle ages and earlier, thatch was the universal roofing method. "Thatch" from the saxon thaec, was originally the term used for any kind of roofing material. Buildings from barns to houses, castles and hayricks were roofed with thatch, providing year round employment for skilled thatchers.
Until recently, thatch had experienced a steady decline with a great many thatched roofs being replaced by slate or tile. High insurance premiums and the lifespan of the thatch were partly to blame but equally, modern building methods saw thatch as old fashioned and undesirable, with even a faint stigma of poverty attached to living under thatched accomodation. Thankfully, country villages ar now being re-discovered by City folk fleeing the ratrace, as well as there being a newly kindled interest in traditional crafts and ways of working which has made thatch once again desirable.
Few craftsmen have benefited from this "rural revolution" more than the Thatcher. There are over 500,000 buildings under Thatch in England, that provides a steady stream of work for over 900 professional Thatchers ( source: Countryside Agency 2004)
From the same source (countryside Agency) comes the revelation that there are only in the region of 400 traditional Blacksmiths working in England. As many rural crafts rely on the Smith for specialist tools, trades such as Thatching are being prevented from working traditionally because of the lack of suitable tooling, or suitably qualified craftsmen to make the specialist tools needed by so many crafts.
Blacksmiths have always historically made and developed tooling for other Craftsmen, and in carrying on this tradition Simon is able to satisfy a demanding market and help to keep traditional ways of working alive, both for the Thatcher and the Blacksmith.

It is important to our heritage that British craftsmanship should never lose sight of the traditionalism and methods of working that have been invented, tried and tested by successive generations of our forebears, those same forebears whose skills were responsible for building an Empire and whose ingenuity made England one of the most successful nations on the planet. They often fought and died to protect their craft, their ideas and their business and if successive generations are allowed to practice these ancient crafts without proper training, guidance and support, continuity of skill will be lost and future generations will not know any different. A hand-made job will inevitably cost more than something that is mass produced, but any craftsman or women passionate about their trade will impart their spirit, as well as their skill, into that piece of work, a spirit that you won't find from a factory made product. Ask the craftsman where they trained, enquire more about their craft and be proud to pay a handsome price for a job well done.

Simon Grant-Jones FWCB,LWCB,Cert.Ed,
(Updated 2019)

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