They’re raising the roof at Kings Head in Horncastle!

Landlady Joanne Buckland and partner Ian Barton outside the historic Kings Head pub which is about to get a new thatch. Photo: John Aron
Landlady Joanne Buckland and partner Ian Barton outside the historic Kings Head pub which is about to get a new thatch. Photo: John Aron

It’s one of the most iconic buildings in Horncastle and the Kings Head pub is getting an update - in the shape of a brand new thatched roof.

The award-winning Bateman’s pub - in the Bull Ring - has been known as ‘The Thatch’ for many years.

It was last thatched in 1999 but when landlady Joanne Buckland - who runs the pub with partner Ian Barton - had temporary repairs carried out to the roof about three years ago, it highlighted problems.

Apparently, the entire thatch had ‘slipped’ and will have to be replaced.

Work will start this week and will be carried out by Dodson Brothers, a third generation family owned company from Cambridgeshire.

It will take around a month to complete and you can forget any imported material. Dodsons will be using prime English grown ‘long straw’ which has just been harvested.

The Kings Head should be in good company because Dodsons regularly work on properties for the National Trust - and recently 
re-thatched Queen Charlotte’s Cottage in Kew Gardens.

Joanne explained: “We’d actually planned to have the roof re-thatched earlier this year but the person who was going to do it was ill. Now, it’s ready to go.”

The old thatch will be completely removed. Fortunately, the living accommodation on the first floor includes ceilings so Joanne and Ian will not be exposed to the unpredictable British weather.

The new thatch will be between 16 and 18 inches thick, so it should be good for between 20 and 30 years.

The popular pub will remain open and Joanne and Ian are thinking of holding a Cider Festival to celebrate the new roof.

However, they have dismissed suggestions that fitting modern-tiles would be much easier - and cheaper.

Joanne added: “It’s one of the few surviving mud and stud buildings in Horncastle.

“It’s Grade Two listed and I don’t think they’d look kindly on a modern roof. Why should we change? Everyone knows us as ‘The Thatch’. It’s quirky. We love it here.”

The new roof will also feature a specially designed finial (ornament) to mark the fact the pub was previously run by Joanne’s mum, Sue Skinner.

And, hopefully, the work should not disturb the Kings Head’s resident ghost...