Investigation work starts on thatch
Pete Kilgannon, 27th November2004
The first stage of the investigation into Church House's thatch commenced with a visit, on Thursday 25th November 2004, from John Letts, the authority on smoke blackened thatch. Selecting what appeared to be the oldest section of the ceiling, John extracted a good sample of rye (not to mention a heavy cloud of medieval soot) to be taken back to the laboratory for analysis. From a preliminary investigation, John was able to estimate that the field of rye that grew to provide this thatch was over six feet tall. He was also fortunate to find some seed in the sample he extracted which may yield more information from DNA testing.
John next turned his attention to the partition at the east end of the building. There was already a small exploratory hole at the roof edge, made during a preliminary survey. No one knew what lay behind the partition and John widened the hole just enough so that he could climb through. The thatch blackening also occurred behind the partition but appeared to be more localised towards the western end. More samples and notes were taken to be studied off site.