Dereham’s oldest surviving domestic building gets a rethatch

Bishops Bonne’s Cottage in Dereham, Norfolk is being rethatched. This Grade II Listed building which was originally 3 cottages, is the towns oldest surviving domestic building and dates back to 1502. This historic building (the only thatch to survive the fires of 1581 and 1679) is creating great interest as there are clues being found which are helping a local antiquarian society piece together a fascinating life story.

The re-thatching works is thanks to a £35,000 grant from the town council, and the roof has been giving historians valuable information from the old timbers, construction methods and materials. Rye straw, muddy clay daub plaster, marked timbers hazel nuts and elm seed.

As is sometimes found in old thatch, a newspaper (dated Jan 3rd 1967). This one is apparently being left for when the next works are done, to be found again.

The cottage still has its original dirt floors, sloping ceilings , tiny rooms, twisting staircases and wooden beams, and now a new thatched roof.

Share this article