Thatching Glossary

Batting / Bolting

Bundle of tied, threshed straw.



A prepared heap of long straw, sedge or rye from which a 'yealm' is drawn.



Tied yelm of straw for setting eave of gable.

Brow Course

The course after the eaves course.



Bundle of water reed 24" in circumference, 12'"above butt, usually at the tie.



Thicker end of a bundle of reed or straw.


Combed Wheat Reed

Straw which has had the corn leaf and weed removed - varieties include Aquilla, Marris Wiggen and Marris Huntsman.



Layer of reed or straw laid across the roof.


Crooks/Hooks/Iron/ Spikes/Thatching Nails

Thatching nail used to fix sway to rafter trapping thatch.


Cross Rods/Pattern Pieces

Split willow or hazel rods. Used for fixing between liggers.



Main roof surface area.



A weave of water reed laid over the rafters instead of timber battens.



Weatherproof covering of thin lead or cement used to protect the valleys between the slopes of a roof or junction between roof and chimney.



The overhang of thatch at a gable of the roof .


Gabble/Top Gabble/ Ridge Yealm

A parallel drawn layer of long straw ridging material forming the topmost part of the ridge.



Cut length of hazel between 1" and 3" in diameter used to split into spars or liggers.


Half Coat/Casing/Spar Coat

To place new thatch over the existing thatch after the latter has been thinned to an appropriate level.



Hazel or withy. Used to hold down thatch on the surface. Types include split, unsplit, apex, kettle and muff.


Long (Wheat) Straw

Hand prepared straw thrashed but not combed.



Galvanised wire or polythene used to protect thatch from bird



Used to stitch on the thatch.



Area of roof adjacent to window or chimney.


Norfolk Reed/Water Reed/ Continental Reed

Member of the Phragmites Australisis grass/bamboo family originally sourced from East Anglia but now increasingly from eastern Europe.



Bundle of combed reed weighing 28lb or 14lb.



Elevated end of a gable, ridge, or hip.



Covering of supple straw or sedge grass, laid along apex of roof to bind and protect the main thatch. Types include wrap-over, butt up, flush, straight cut and patterned. Patterns include dragons' teeth, diamond, scalloped, clubbed, herring-bone and crossed.



Sausage shaped yealm of reed or straw for setting eave of gable.


Rye Straw

Variety of threshed soft straw used mainly for ridging.



The junction of a ridge with a large area of thatch.



Water reed used for ridging.



Bundle of unthrashed straw. Eight sheaves make a stook, sixteen a stock.



The side course of a ridge.



A split length of hazel or withy, pointed and twisted to form a staple used to fix half coat work or the liggers on ridge.


Spot Board

Board for butting reed bundles.



Hazel or steel rod used to secure thatch to the rafters in the roof. The sways are fixed by stitching with tarred cord, screw ties, or by hooks driven into each rafter at intervals dictated by the length of the materials to be fixed, these are covered by each succeeding course.



The forming of a valley.



A strip of thatch worked from eave to ridge.



Clump of hazel.


Straw/Long straw

Any type of straw which may be used to thatch. Wheat straw is generally favoured.



Steel or hazel rod used with irons to secure thatch.


Tarred Cord

Strong cord treated with a preservative of Stockholm tar.



The angle formed by tightening the sway between the top and the butt of the reed.


Tilting Fillet

A 'V' section of timber fixed to the rafter to set the tilt.



Tied yelm of straw for setting eaves and gables.



Drawn wet long straw or sedge, prepared and ready for laying.



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