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Visitors to Beagles café, at Barrington Court, which is cared for by the National Trust, will be able to view up close a type of thatching work rarely seen in the UK.
The use of a tiled, rather than straw ridge, is more closely associated with thatching in Holland and Belgium rather than the UK. This unusual thatching technique has not been used on any other building at Barrington Court.
Edward Coney, Master Thatcher, says “We’ve never seen thatching like this before. It’s been interesting to work out how to do it.”
Caroline Jeeves, the National Trust’s Experience and Programming Manager at Barrington Court said ‘There has been much speculation as to how and why this unusual style of thatching was implemented on this one building at Barrington Court: Was it a style seen by Colonel Lyle whilst he was stationed in Ypres during World War I? Was it introduced by one of his sons at a later date? Was it introduced as a more durable option than a straw ridge or was it just the fancy of the master thatcher commissioned to work on the building now known as Beagles café?’
‘What we do know is that the building known as Beagles café was originally designed and built in late 1922 to house Colonel Lyle’s significant model railway layout. He quickly, however, realised he had no spare time for this hobby with the estate remodel, and the building was adapted in 1925 to house the pack of beagles. In 1981 the building was converted into a tearoom’.
Visitors are invited to ponder the who and why of the mystery over a cup of tea and piece of cake.
For opening times and more information check out www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/somerset/barrington-court