Overview of the Master Thatchers Associations
Over the years, county based Master Thatchers Associations have been established across various regions of the UK. Some were begun as early as the 1940s and others more recently. Of these, not all continue to operate today.
These regional Master Thatchers Associations came together in 1987 to form the National Council of Master Thatchers Associations (NCMTA), with the aim of meeting annually to represent its member Associations.
All associations were paid memberships and had the promotion of regional thatching techniques and standards of workmanship as their original goal, often peer assessed.
This page is work in progress and further information will be added in due course.
Members of the NCMTA include (alphabetically):
Devon & Cornwall Master Thatchers Association
“The Devon & Cornwall Master Thatchers’ Association is comprised of members who have been vetted by a committee to ensure that their workmanship is of the high standard expected by the Association and have shown their competence in the use of both water reed and wheat straw.
Meetings are held regularly throughout the year to not only maintain those standards but to build on them with further training in health and safety, fire safety, construction of chimneys and use of wood burners and to discuss the supply and quality of their materials.
Following from these meeting, members have produced their own guidelines of advice of what to do when the thatcher arrives to start work such as the safety issues of turning off outside lights, checking the insurance of the thatcher and their own and going through the ‘check list’. They have produced their own ‘complaints procedure’ for use in the unlikely event that if the customer is not totally happy at some stage the Association can assist in resolving the situation and are at present working on their own version of the Dorset Model.
It is an Association that does not ‘stand still’ but continues to work towards even higher standards and many members go to Country Shows to meet the public and discuss with them any concerns that they may have about owning a thatched property.”
Dorset Master Thatchers Association
East Anglia Master Thatchers Association (Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex & Hertfordshire)
“The Suffolk Master Thatching Association was formed in 1949 and expanded to become the East Anglia Master Thatching Association in 1988 as the membership now covered the whole Anglian region.
Currently we have 17 full members whose work has been vetted to meet the high standards and specifications that the association publish and adhere to. The members thatch in a traditional long straw style and water reed.”
East Midlands Master Thatchers Association (Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire)
Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire Master Thatchers Association
Not currently active
Kent, Surrey & Sussex Master Thatchers Association
Not currently active
North of England and Scotland Master Thatchers Association (Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cumbria & Scotland)
Northamptonshire Master Thatchers Association
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire Master Thatchers Association
“The Ox. Berks. and Bucks. Master Thatchers Association was formed in 1947.
Membership is gained by having work judged by the existing members and also a minimum of four years of thatching experience is required. This is to ensure that all members are working to a set standard and are the high quality craftsmen the thatch owner expects.
The aims of the Association are straight forward-to promote the highest standards of thatching with a responsible and reliable approach, giving the thatch owner complete peace of mind.”
Rutland & Leicestershire Master Thatchers Association
Somerset Master Thatchers Association
“The Somerset Master Thatchers Association was formed in 1947. The association covers the whole county from Exmoor to the Dorset and Devon borders. The association aims to provide the thatched property owner, together with architects and other interested professionals with sound advice and a dependable, reliable service.”
Wiltshire Master Thatchers Association
“The Wiltshire Master Thatchers Association was formed in 1947 and operated as a dual county group until 1991. At this time the Wiltshire based members felt that they needed a voice for thatching concerns in their own area and the Wiltshire Master Thatchers Association was formed.
The association started with just 6 members but has grown since its launch and now represents 14 full members. All members are based in Wiltshire and work throughout the county. Members also undertake work further afield in the neighbouring counties of Berkshire, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Gloucestershire.
The thatching work we undertake
Our members are skilled in the use of all thatching materials such as combed wheat straw, long straw and water reed.They provide a high quality of workmanship on all jobs including re-thatches, re-ridges, new thatches, patching and repairs.
Our aims are to offer thatch owners in Wiltshire and surrounding counties a high quality job by local tradesmen using local materials wherever possible.