Letter: A straw poll on thatching

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Sir: With reference to your article about thatching problems ('Conservation: the last straw', 28 July), I know of a derelict building that was 'restored' as a tourist attraction together with a water mill. Both were thatched where they had been originally slate-roofed. Both were then seized upon by a conservation officer, who listed them so that they now have to be thatched for ever more. One of the buildings was a grain kiln housing a semi-open hearth.

Could I also point out to Peter Dunn that there are probably no thatched buildings left from medieval times, and certainly there were no combined wheat reed (CWR) thatchers then, because there was no CWR, because there were no CWR combers (which were driven by steam power prior to tractors). And I'll bet there probably wasn't much wheat for thatching, as the material then was usually straw.

See the problems us thatchers have]

Yours faithfully,


Master Thatcher


Isle of Skye

28 July