The 15th century thatched buildings at Hamptonne Country Life Museum are being rethatched for the first time in 30 years.
Five thatchers from Devon have started work on Hamptonne House and are hoping to rethatch Langlois House as well, subject to the results of a bat survey. Planning permission has been granted for all the work.
The water reed thatch on both buildings has been in place since the early 1990s and was in urgent need of replacement. The thatchers were due to visit the Island last year but were delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic. They are replacing the reed with straw, which is the material that would have been originally used on the roofs.
Chris O’Connor, Jersey Heritage’s Head of Property, said: “Although the ridges that cap the top of the thatched roofs have been replaced as part of the maintenance programme, the main body of thatch on both Hamptonne and Langlois Houses has reached the end of its natural life and is in desperate need of attention. We have had to carry out a number of emergency repairs over the past 18 months so are relieved that the team from TJ Thatchers, who were originally due over last spring, have finally been able to make it over to Jersey.
“These buildings have survived four centuries and maintaining the thatch is an important part of ensuring their future. It protects the buildings and the collection pieces inside, as well as adding to the lovely rural ambience at Hamptonne Country Life Museum.”
There are only a handful of thatched buildings in Jersey and it is a rarity to see rethatching taking place. While the thatchers are at work over the next few weeks, the south courtyard at Hamptonne is closed to visitors, as are Hamptonne and Langlois Houses. The calves have been temporarily returned to their farmer. However, the north courtyard that visitors enter as they arrive at Hamptonne remains open and offers an ideal viewing spot to watch the thatchers at work.
The piglets, which are housed behind Langlois House, remain at Hamptonne and can be visited. The garden, meadow, orchard and play area are all open to the public as usual.