Some more wisdom from Cecil Torr, Small talk at Wreyland:
There is a machine now to prepare wheat straw for thatching; and it bruises the reed, and renders it less durable than when it ws prepared by hand. and now they never sow wheat early enough for the straw to gather strength. the result is that the thatch decays and landlords and farmers both get tired of patching it, and put up slate or iron instead, thereby helping to destroy the market for one of their own products. I have know a field of wheat pay rent and rates and every outlay with the straw for thatching, ad the grain was all clear profit.
Nobody who has lived under a thatched roof will willingly live under any other- the comfort is so great. The thatch keeps out the cold in winter and keeps out the heat in summer. This house has about 4000 square feet of roof, and my other buildings i Wreyland have about 12,000 altogether; and the whole of this is thatched. Thatching costa bout 3pence per square foot, and lasts about 25 years, the period varying a little with the shape of the roof and its aspect, exposure, and so on. and it really is not inflammable. Just as paper will burn and books will not, so also straw will burn ad thatch will not; at least, thatch will only burn quite slowly like a book. I have twice seen a fire stopped by cutting away a strip of thatch, and so making a gap that the fire did not cross; and the fire burnt so very slowly that there was ample time for this.