Understanding Thatch

This day course is aimed at anyone who would like to learn more about the history of thatching within East Anglia, and strengthen their understanding of the use of thatch as a traditional building material.

The course will explore thatching through two sessions. The morning session will be lecture based, providing an introduction to the material, and the afternoon will include a practical demonstration using all three main thatching materials.

The morning session will explore:  

  • A brief history of thatch
  • The progress of thatch from 1900, with a focus on post WW2
  • Vernacular thatch for East Anglia
  • An overview of main thatching materials and styles
  • Material changes and requirements for Listed Building Consents 
  • Fire protection and thatching
  • Thatchers and conservation professionals
  • The future of thatch 

The afternoon demonstration will provide students with the chance to get closer to materials, and gain an understanding of how to identify the three main materials: Water Reed, Combed Wheat Reed and Long Straw. There will also be time for detailed discussion/Q&A. 

The course will be led by Chris Dodson, Director of Chris Dodson Thatching Services Ltd. Chris is a member of the East Midlands Master Thatchers Association and has won three awards from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) as well as being awarded two ‘Highly Commended Awards’ from the National Society of Master Thatchers in the Best Thatched House Competition. Chris is passionate about passing his knowledge about thatching on to the public and future generations, and regularly provides training courses across the East of England. 

The course will be held at Cressing Temple, Essex, site of the impressive 13th century Barley and Wheat Barns. A light lunch will be provided by Tiptree. 

Book a place on this course