New Canterbury Handmade Clay Tiles

As Marley Eternit brings back traditional craftsmanship with the launch of the Canterbury range of premium handmade clay tiles, product marketing manager, Sarah Jackson, discusses the heritage of handmade clay plain tiles and the growing demand in today’s market.

'At Marley Eternit, we are really excited to be able to re-introduce the Canterbury handmade range to meet the growing demand, bringing back the traditional skills and craftsmanship to our clay facility at Keele in Staffordshire. It means that we can now combine authentic production methods that are true to tradition with modern firing techniques, to create beautiful tiles that are highly durable.

From January 2015, we are launching three colours in the Canterbury handmade range; Loxleigh, Burford and Chailey with a range of traditional handmade fittings and decorative accessories.

The Loxleigh handmade plain tile has a subtle variation in colour, ranging from red to grey and black with a sanded finish that gives a premium antique reclaimed appearance. The Burford has a rich red-brown tone in a fully sanded texture, which adds warmth and character to the roof. Finally, the Chailey has a vibrant orange tone with a sandfaced texture that can be used on the main roof and is a perfect contrast tile for vertical detailing.

In addition, all three colours can be mixed on the roof to give a unique patchwork of colours that is often seen on traditional roofs in Suffolk, Sussex and Kent.

Handmade clay plain roof tiles date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. At one time, all clay roof tiles would have been originally made by hand using locally sourced clay and they have been a popular roofing material in the UK since the 1100s.

In recent years, homeowners, builders and architects alike, have rediscovered the beauty of natural handmade clay tiles and there has been something of a resurgence in their use. In many cases, planners will only accept genuine handmade tiles for heritage or conservation projects and there is also a growing demand from premium house builders, looking to distinguish their properties with an authentic handmade clay plain roof tile.

All Canterbury handmade clay plain tiles are made from Etruria Marl which is generally accepted as the finest clay for strength and durability.  The process starts with the hand maker sprinkling some sand into the bottom of the mould to help give the tiles their individual colour and sanded texture. 

They then place a pre-cut rectangular shaped ‘clay bat’ into the centre of the mould and the maker ’knocks’ the raw clay by hand, using a wooden mallet, to achieve the desired shape and thickness.  The excess clay is wired off and a punch is brought down to create the nail holes and nibs and at the same time, the identification marks and batch numbers are stamped into the back of the tile.

Finally, the hand maker releases the tile from the mould and removes any excess clay from the nail holes, before placing the unfired or ‘green’ tiles on a metal drying tray. Once fired, the clay tiles will never fade and it is the firing process, combined with the natural colour of the clay and the different sand used, that gives the tiles their beautiful distinctive colours.'

To find our more about the new Canterbury handmade clay plain tile range, please click here to visit our website. You can also view a short YouTube clip of how the tiles are made. 

Click the link to request a sample directly and download or request a copy of the new brochure. Alternatively, for further information, please call 01283 722588.

Here at Marley Eternit, we are always on hand to offer practical and experienced support. Select an option below or call us on 01283 722588.