About Alan Jones - founder of Pembrokeshire Thatch and Carpentry Services.

Alan Jones, Master Thatcher.
Master Thacher Alan Jones standing in a field of rare medieval landrace wheat grown in mid Wales.
Alan and Dafydd
Dafydd and Alan cleaning out water reed.
The Team enjoying a well earned cake
Dafydd and crew celebrating his 21st birthday with a cake made from the wheat knocked out of the straw being used on the roof.

A carpenter by first trade I got involved with a reconstructed iron age village» near my home in west Wales in 1982. Initially I was asked to be involved with the timber work. After the first thatched round house» was completed I took over the supervision of any volunteers, site crew and the occasional groups of archaeologists. This started a growing relationship with historical reconstruction that now extends in to my work with museums across the uk.

The iron age village started my affair with thatching, at first using mostly water reed (thought at the time to be a likely source of thatching material) that I had personally cut from a nearby estuary. I have continued cutting reed each winter since 1982 when I started trading as Pembrokeshire Thatch and Carpentry Services.

I was fortunate to receive professional training from 1995 and have been learning ever since. This has led to me being less involved with carpentry and more involved with thatching. As time has progressed the only carpentry I tend to get involved with now is the timber and window work associated with thatched roofs as there are no experienced architects or specifiers for sources of information in Wales, requiring me to sort out my own roof carpentry/geometry, specifications and materials - something I am very happy to do.

I am now sufficiently experienced to make informed judgments based on facts concerning regional styles and materials and I have swung away from using water reed on traditional buildings as it is historically almost unheard of.  I am also becoming heavily involved with producing superior quality thatching wheat - the traditional material so commonly used here in Wales as elsewhere in the uk.

With close observation of materials preserved in historical thatched roofs, lessons can be learned about our ancestors farming methods and preferred crops. This shows us today how to recreate a sustainable /renewable attitude to how we deal with our thatched built environment, re-establishing the continuum with our farming past and linking it to the future, providing income in the countryside as well as insuring the knowledge remains alive. 

If we can grow wheat that stands to the height of your chest here in the hills of Wales then clearly you can do it anywhere, no other construction material I am aware of has as a by product - food.

Dafydd Driver is the only Apprentice Thatcher from Wales ever to attend Knuston Hall, the only thatching college left in the UK. The course is organised via Herefordshire College of Technology»

If I can train the next generation in Wales to reproduce the crops and roofs to the quality of traditional farmers and Thatcher’s (who new a thing or two) then at least there is a source for caring thatch owners to rely on if they want to be part of a very long tradition.

In these times of concern over climate change we all need be involved with some form of sustainability. Anyone can join in, now is a good time!