History of Thatching

Originating in the Bronze Age, thatching dates back thousands of years and is one of the oldest roofing crafts. Using traditional methods, thatchers from all over Devon are able to protect your home from the natural elements whilst giving it a distinctive look and feel.

Home owners have the option of choosing to source reed from within the UK or from further afield. Thatch is a renewable source and growers throughout the world depend on the traditional roofing method in order to survive.

Sticking with the green theme, a thatched house can have significant benefits in terms of heat loss. Thatch is a very good insulator meaning that heat loss is a much more minot problem compared to some other older properties with alternative roofing materials in use.

How We Become Members

To become a member of the Association, a thatcher must present completed examples of their work, plus a work in progress, in both water reed and wheat straw.

Applications to gain entry to the Master Thatchers Association can only be accepted after a prospective members work has been scrutinised by a three man inspection committee.

The committee inspect three completed roofs and full a re-thatch in progress. In addition to the applicant meeting the highest possible standard of craftsmanship they must also have the highest standard of business ethics.

The findings of the committee are then discussed at the next meeting to see if the applicant has reached the required standard of a Master Thatcher.

The Association has to the right to remove any member that falls below the highest standard that has been set.


There are a number of benefits that come from using a thatcher who is a member of the association:

  • The strict entry requirements guarantee the quality and skill of your thatcher.
  • A member of the association is able to offer expert advice on the materials best suited to the individual property.
  • Members have experience of liaising with conservation officers and this is particularly important when dealing with listed properties
  • In the unlikely event of any problems or disputes, the association can be contacted and used as an intermediary
  • The association is able to carry out surveys and produce written reports where required.
  • In short, the thatchers are proud of their association and rightly consider themselves ‘The Best in the West’!

Keeping Up A Tradition

Tradition remains strong in the counties of Devon and Cornwall. They contain a great number of distinctive and traditionally thatched houses, along with local styles of thatching they are unique to the area.

The Devon & Cornwall Master Thatchers’ Association was formed after the Second World War, with the intention of continuing the quality of workmanship and materials and maintaining the distinctiveness of the region’s thatching styles.