the area we cover
Formed in 1948 the East Midlands Master Thatchers' Association (EMMTA) serves an area stretching from the flat, fertile Fenlands in the North East to chalky North Downs in the south east, and from the wooded Chiltern Hills in the south west to the fringes of sandstone and ironstone deposits of Northamptonshire in the north west.
The area is predominantly rural but includes a variety of architectural materials, styles and traditions. Our members thatch buildings ranging from stone, brick and rendered brick to timber framed, often with wattle and daub infill. Other structures are of flint, both knapped and un-knapped, and compacted chalk known as clunch.
Facts about Thatch
How does thatch keep the rain out?
In thatch there is no impermeable moisture barrier, so how does it keep your home dry? Laid horizontally even the best thatch would soon let the rain in.
The secret is in the roof pitch. Given a great enough angle water droplets will run down reed or straw rather than transfer from one to another. The pitch of the roof, which ideally should be between 45 and 55 degrees (although "slacker" pitches are used over windows and in valleys), forces droplets to run down the stems of thatch material and run off at the eaves. Below the top inch a properly constructed and maintained thatched roof should remain bone dry.
Wire netting is a late addition to the range of materials used by today's thatchers. Netting becomes virtually invisible once a thatch has lost its "brand new" look, unless viewed up close. Netting can prevent birds and small mammals from nesting and, by giving the weather a foothold, shortening the life of the thatch. Netting is also reckoned to be of benefit in areas of high and gusting wind.
East Midlands Master Thatchers' Association
© EMMTA: East Midlands Master Thatchers' Association 2008