News & Awards

Malcolm Dodson

1940 – 2011

Malcolm was passionate about thatching and worked tirelessly to uphold standards not only for the craft of thatching but also for the customers, even going to court, at our own expense, to fight for the customers right. He believed the art of thatching should not stagnate, but move on, progress and that different or improved materials should be used if practical or appropriate.

He held prominent positions for many years as President and Chairman for the National Society of Master Thatchers and the East Midlands Thatching Association.

He was also an excellent speaker and gave many talks firstly on corn dollies and then on the history of thatch to many WI’s and history groups. One of his greatest achievements has to be the working demonstration of the history of thatch at the Ramsey Rural Museum in 2006. People were so impressed with what he had to say – some listened to it twice!

He loved birds and wild flowers and spent hours collecting seeds, sowing and planting them, not only in his own garden but also around the fields where we grow our own straw.

Malcolm didn’t retire at 65 and probably would still be working now if he hadn’t have become ill.

He had a great respect and regard for the men who worked for him and was often ‘dubbed’ as the best boss and indeed although towards the end of his life he lost a lot of weight, he still had great inner strength and courage and insisted on walking up the road to the yard to greet his men at 6.30 am every morning until the day before he died.

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Dodson Brothers Win Best Thatched House Award

Dodson Brothers Thatchers has won the coveted Best Thatched House Award for 2015!

The winning project was located at the property of Mr and Mrs Inglis from Clavering.

The Mill End Dairy Farm has a new thatched roof completed in a 3-month long effort and the finished result bagged Dodson Brothers their 6th award from the National Society of Master Thatchers.

From October to December last year, Dodson Brothers worked tirelessly to restore the thatched roof at the Inglis' property with employees Iain Wallace, Michael Walton, Todd Zellars, Paul Brasnett and Ross Pammenter.

In 2011 Dodson Brothers Thatchers won first place in the Best Thatched House awards and this is now the sixth time that they have bagged the number 1 spot. Stuart Dodson, grandson of the original founder of the company, is extremely proud to have been recognised by the industry and says; “Because this award is given by thatchers to thatchers, it really shows that we are at the top of our game. Because of the size of our company, we are able to take on bigger and more complex jobs and give them the proper time and care that they deserve.”

No strangers to the limelight, Dodson Brothers Thatchers have also featured on BBC One's Countryfile as they restored a roof with the help of presenter Matt Baker.

The company covers a wide area, including Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Huntingdon, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Essex, although they have also taken enquiries from as far as field as Holland, America and even Australia!

  • 2015 Award Photo
  • 2015 Award Photo
  • 2015 Award Photo

Best Thatched House Award

During the 1990's The National Society for Master Thatchers (NSMT) created a biennial National Awards Competition known as 'The Best Thatched House Award'.
The top seven thatched houses are selected from numerous photographs submitted by thatchers from all over the country. These are then inspected and scrutinised on site by three independent judges.
Dodson Bros are extremely proud to be the current winners of this award for Silver Birches at Woodhurst. We have also won first prize on five additional occasions at Fen Stanton, Chequered Skipper at Ashton Estates, Stamford on Avon and the Golf Club House at Stapleford Park.
In addition we have been placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th on several occasions.


Countryfile on BBC 1

Dodson Bros Thatchers Ltd appeared on BBC1 Countryfile in 2010 where the presenter, Matt Baker tried some thatching along with Stuart Dodson.


Countrylife Magazine

"Traditional rural crafts are only being kept alive today by a core of dedicated and skilled people. Country Life talks to a dry-stone waller, thatcher, cooper, organ builder, plasterer and coppice……."

Thursday, 24 April 2008, David Sapstead

The Field Magazine

The Field Magazine


Ripton thatchers notch another top top - Hunts Post. PDF
Obituary: master thatcher dedicated to King’s Ripton - Hunts Post. PDF
The Art of Thatching - Harts of Oak. PDF
Survival of traditional rural craftsmen - Country Life. PDF