In our native Wimborne and elsewhere, Dorset is home to many thatched properties. Numbering roughly 5000, enough to keep a few thatchers busy! The majority of these are simple workers cottages of one kind or another. But thatch has also always had a diverse usage in Dorset architecture. Here are some of the most interesting.
The surviving wing of a defensive castle built around 1370, it is now owned by the Landmark Trust and is available as a holiday let. Its thatched roof is one of the largest in Dorset.
Built from cob with a straw thatch, like many in Dorset. This modest cottage was the birthplace of the writer Thomas Hardy. Built by Hardy’s grandfather and hardly changed since, it is now preserved by the National Trust and is available to visit.
St Georges Church Gillingham
Interestingly, not as old as it looks at first glance. It was built in 1921 in the arts and crafts gothic style, as a war memorial, by the Manger family.
Reportedly the largest thatched Manor House in Dorset, Hammoon Manor is a rarity. Up until relatively recently, thatching one’s roof was seen as a sign of poverty. As a result, many houses of this size would have been converted to tiles or slate over the years.
Originally built as a row of 36 identical thatched cottages, Milton Abbas is a rather unique village. In 1780, the landowner, Lord Milton, created it from scratch, keeping the local master thatcher in cider for a good few years, I can only imagine. He had decreed that the existing village of Middleton was far too close to his country house and was presumably spoiling his view! As a result he had the entire village demolished and many of the inhabitants were re-homed in Milton Abbas.
If you’re looking for thatching services, repairs or a thatched roof survey in Wimborne, Dorset or beyond, contact Stevens Master Thatchers.