Stephen’s thatching career started in 1975 working school holidays with the esteemed Suffolk thatcher Frank Linnett, with his tuition and others Stephen became a Master Thatcher with the then Suffolk Master Thatchers Association in 1981.
Most of the thatching Stephen has done this past 40 years has been using the regions traditional Long Straw and Water Reed materials, with some roofs thatched using Heather and Combed Wheat Reed where appropriate in other parts of the UK.
Over the years Stephen has trained several thatchers, all of which run successful thatching businesses.
Services Stephen offers are:
- Thatching with a number of types of thatch materials
- Consultancy and surveys
- New-build, Re-instatement, Conservation works
- Thatched walls
- Advanced thatch training techniques
Stephen also grows his own thatching wheat straw, and harvest old heritage varieties from the 19th century back using vintage reaper binders and threshing machines.
Presently the current chairman/secretary of the National Thatching Straw Growers Association, and project officer for a number of thatch related research programs being carried out jointly between the NTSGA and Historic England.
Letch, S. (2012); Ensuring supplies of suitable thatching straw;
Through persistence Stephen has lobbied Historic England into funding further much needed research into chimney related thatch fires, using some of his initial research design the Fire Protection Association have been commissioned by both the National Farmers Union and Historic England to carry out rigorous realistic research into the subject. This is a 3 year project with a final report and recommendations to be published by the end of 2017.
In 2015 Stephen managed a team of thatchers to thatch the walls of a new hugely influential commercial building at the University of East Anglia, this was a new idea of making up sectional thatch away from the construction site to be then craned and lifted into position, we took on the work to bring awareness and promote the benefits of thatch for new build.
Mobile: 07796 796200
Post: Laurel Farm, Skinners Lane, Starston, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 9PX