The Shelley family history of Master Thatchers in Essex
My family have lived and worked in Essex for six generations, spanning over 200 years.
Henry was the first thatcher, born in Hockley in 1807 and lived in the village all of his life. In 1852 he had a son called Daniel who followed him into the trade. In 1880, Daniel’s son George was born in a cottage on Hockley Common, one of ten children. George left school at the age of 11 and joined his father as a thatcher. George retired at the ripe old age of 89 having worked for 78 years.
In 1924 George had a son Stanley, who was also one of ten children and he lived his whole life in Hockley. Stanley joined his father in the family business and in 1950 his first son Stephen was born. Stephen left school at the age of 15 to become an apprentice to his father and is still working to this day.
The present day
In 1997 I joined the family business to become the sixth generation of Shelley thatchers. I spent a part of my apprenticeship at the only known thatching college; Knuston Hall, where i became the youngest qualified master thatcher in the world.
In 2003 Stephen’s son, Daniel, joined the family business after travelling the world and also attended Knuston Hall.
My family have had great success in the thatching business over the last 200 years and have remained very happy and very successful within our trade due to excellent workmanship and by only using the finest materials available.
Although we are able to assist each other from time to time we had decided a few years ago to undertake jobs/contracts individually, something which i strongly believe to be in the best interest for the house owner, dealing with just one thatcher.
Uncle, Grandad and Great Grandad working on Silver End Church in 1967. I was lucky enough to re-thatch it in 2015
''……….I'm so very pleased to see the church roof looking better now then I've ever seen it before. We all consider Pauls work to be first class……..''