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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644

 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644




Originally from Switzerland, Nico and Liliane Saas-fee have settled happily with their four sons, in a large 16th century thatched cottage here in rural Hampshire. Included in the grounds are several meadows, a tennis court, and a croquet lawn.




 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644





Every twenty years or so the straw that is used to thatch the roof of this beautiful cottage has to be replaced, and right now in the chilly month of February this process is well underway.





 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644Thatching roofs has been going on in Britain since the bronze age and the results can be seen mainly in rural villages all over the country on cottages and barns.

The thatching process is undertaken by attaching yealms, basically bundles of specially grown straw, to the roof with spars. The spars are twisted pieces of hazel wood which when pushed into the yealm hold the bundle in place. Although this sounds quite simple, Thatching is a specialized skill that has been passed down from generation to generation.


 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
There is an interesting story that goes with this particular cottage. During The English Civil War between the Parliamentarian Armies of Oliver Cromwell (known as Roundheads) and Soldiers loyal to King Charles 1st (known as Cavaliers), there was a large battle near Newbury in the year 1644.
 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
The town of Newbury lies just to the north of Hampshire in the county of Berkshire. The Cavaliers at this battle were largely defeated but two escaped hotly pursued by a band of Roundheads.
 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
The kindly farmers wife loyal to the King and sympathetic to the plight of the two Cavaliers hid them in the loft behind a concealed door in the oak paneling in the cottage above whilst the Roundheads searched the village. Their lives were saved.
 English thatched cottage and the Second Battle of Newbury 1644
These days English Civil war battles are re-enacted by a society called the sealed knot.
                     To find out more about thatching go to The guild of straw craftsmen    click:http://www.strawcraftsmen.co.uk/finials.php To find out more about the sealed knot click:http://www.thesealedknot.org.uk/index.asp
. General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

2 comments:

Barbarapc said...

Simon, that's amazing about the straw thatched roof. It really is amazing that it lasts 20 years - and that there are people who still know how to do it. Question for you...you mentioned greengages - what are they?

simon tinks davis said...

Hi Barbara, A Greengage is a cultivar of the plum, yellow-green in colour and very tasty. It is thought the original trees were brought to England from France where they had been cultivated from a 'wild' variety. The Greengage gets its name from Sir William Gage who introduced the species here in 1724. We have planted a greengage tree to replace an old one that had to be felled because of disease a few years ago. Best wishes Barbara, Simon