Ashdowne handcrafted clay tiles transform 17th century pub

Marley Eternit’s Ashdowne handcrafted clay plain tiles have been used to help transform a derelict 17th century pub into a new fine dining restaurant and village centre.  The £3 million restoration project by David Bishop has seen the Wheatsheaf pub in Rettendon brought back to life as an exciting new complex which, in addition to Le Benaix Bar and Brasserie, includes a village store, hair dresser and separate beauty salon.

Famous for being a drovers’ pub back in the 17th century, the former Wheatsheaf pub in the Essex village of Rettendon is a building of significant historical importance but had remained derelict for almost ten years.  The challenge was to restore and extend the ageing building, retaining many of the existing features.

Owner David Bishop selected the handcrafted Ashdowne clay plain tiles from Marley Eternit to replicate the aesthetic of the clay peg tiles used on the original roof.  38,000 tiles were used to create the beautiful clay roof, creating a heritage appearance that connects both the old and the new parts of the building.  The roof includes a large octagonal shaped section to create a striking design feature.

David Bishop comments: “With such an important local building, we wanted to stay as close as possible to the aesthetic of the original clay peg tiles and we chose the Ashdowne handcrafted tiles because they had a very similar appearance and were more cost effective.

The aged look of the handcrafted tiles also meant we could use them to blend the new parts of the development in with the renovated historical pub. 

“As the building was disused for almost a decade, many of the original roof tiles were missing, so we would have had to find a huge number of old clay peg tiles, so the City Council planning department acknowledged the benefits of the handcrafted tile instead.  The finished effect is stunning and the tiles really do help to combine the two parts of the building and ensure the new build is sympathetic to the old.  Complementing the local village surroundings was very important and we’ve had several local people comment on what a beautiful roof it is and how well it blends in.”

Ashdowne handcrafted clay plain tiles are available in two weathered colours making them the ideal choice to enhance the beauty of a new build development or for a refurbishment project.  The traditional handcrafted finish ensures each and every roof takes on a character of its own.

Charlotte Hughes, product manager at Marley Eternit, adds: “The roof on this project certainly is stunning and demonstrates how handcrafted tiles like these can be used very sympathetically on restoration projects, at the same time as adding beauty to new builds.  The Ashdowne tiles on this project help to blend the old and the new buildings very effectively, with the aged clay appearance complementing the vernacular style.”

Ashdowne clay tiles also offer impressive environmental credentials, including the ability to achieve an A+ rating in the BRE Green Guide to Specification, BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation and certified carbon footprint data at product level.

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