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XIII] THATCHING 201

purlin. In Sussex the rods are known as ‘radlings,’ and as
‘ledgers’ in the Isle of Wight, Hampshire (at Winslade), and
Dorset. In West Somerset the ledgers are described as ‘laid
horizontally across the row of “ reed,” and then tightly bound with
cord, or more commonly withies, to the rafters: the durability of
the thatch greatly depends upon the ledgerl.’

The third method of securing the thatch is by means of sods,
called ‘scraws’ in the North, which also provide a foundation for
the thatch. In one variety a small quantity of straw is pulled out
at one end of the ‘ yealm,’ turned down, and wound round the top
of the ‘yealm,’ forming what is known as a ‘staple.’ With a
thatching iron, an instrument slightly forked at the apex, the
twisted head of the staple of straw is pushed through the turf, and
is prevented from coming out again by the ‘ head’ of wound straw.
A Scottish form of thatching on turves, known as ‘stob thack,’ has
been described as follows: ‘The rafters are laid far distant from
each other, on the coupling, and these rafters are then covered with
shrubs, generally broom, laid across the rafters at right angles;
over this is placed a complete covering of dith (turf), which is
again covered with straw, bound up in large handfuls, one end of
which is pushed between the divots; this is placed so thick, as to
form a cove-ring from four to about eight inches deep, and, after
being smoothly cut on the surface, forms a neat, warm, and durable
roof2.’ This was the ‘ha’ ’ or dwelling house, as the farm buildings
had the straw ‘spread loose on the roofs, laid much thinner, and
held on with straw ropes, crossing each other like the meshes of a
net,’ that is, rope thatch as described below.

In Northumberland, and also, as the writer has found, near
Sheflield, there is a method which is intermediate between the
second and third as above described. The straw is laid on turves,
but is held down by rods, which in their turn are secured by
‘scoubs’ or broaches driven into the turves.

The fourth, and last, method of securing the thatch is by ropes,
and in the North it is called ‘rope-thatch.’ The most primitive
kind of thatch we have, in which the straw is heaped on the roof
without any order, is secured by ropes; and the writer believes
it to be the oldest form in use in these islands. Such thatch on

1 English Dialect Dictionary.

2 By an anonymous writer ‘Agrestis,’ of How of Angus, in Ea’inéorouglz
[l/agazine, 1818, p. 127.

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