Written By Chris Young
This post was most recently updated on June 27th, 2018
English thatched cottages are now extremely popular with property owners, and visitors from overseas. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best examples – but let’s first see what a ‘thatched cottage’ actually is…
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What Is A Thatched Cottage?
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation like straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, or heather. The materials are layered, so any moisture is kept away from the inner roof.
This method is very old, and is still employed by some builders. In countries like England, thatched roofs are common on the oldest residential buildings.
In recent years, thatching has become the choice of some affluent home-buyers, who desire a rustic look, want a more earth-friendly home, or are replacing the roof on an originally thatched roof home.
So why do so many cottages in England have thatched roofs? Even into the late 1800s, thatching was really the only roofing material available to rural residents in England’s countryside.
Thatch became a symbol of poverty after other materials became available, but has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially among the wealthy. Once a symbol of poverty, thatched roofs have become a status symbol.
There are actually more thatched roof homes in England than in any other European country, and these roofs can last for up to 50 years if maintained well. Thatched roofs have become part of the very fabric of the English countryside, depicted in paintings, photographs, and other media.
The type of thatching used in English cottages varies depending on the region. Southern England cottages in Hampshire, Dorset, and Devon use a heavy layer of wheat straw to create the roof.
Roofs in Somerset and in some parts of Devon use wheat reed to create a cleaner line.
In East Anglia, roofs are made with Norfolk reed from the sea marshes and rivers. In Northern England, you’ll see roofs of heather.
We’ve assembled a list of some really beautiful examples of thatched-roof cottages from all around England. Please enjoy!
20 Gorgeous Thatched Cottages
1. Test Valley, Hampshire
Cottage outside the Golden Pond Fishery in the beautiful Test valley in Hampshire, southern England. The roof is thick and sloping. This cottage has gorgeous original glazed windows that speak to the attention paid to the maintenance of this building over the years.