Hands placing freshly made clay tile onto drying rack
The Vyne Tudor mansion with red clay tile roof
Aerial view of church dome with patterned red and grey tiles

Keymer Heritage Roof Tiles

Heritage, in relation to roofing, can be defined as a style of roof tile or fitting found on historic structures that is no longer mass manufactured. Whether it involves buildings of national heritage or local interest, the specification of ‘lost’ roofing materials presents a problem when replacement is necessary.

Heritage roofing projects deal with the bespoke replication of historical roof profiles and features in order to maintain the original beauty of a period building. Use of reclaimed materials is often impractical due to the need for a high-quality roof covering and absolute authenticity in relation to particular buildings. 

Handmade Clay Roof Tiles Since 1588

Keymer is one of the oldest established roofing brands in the UK, crafting handmade tiles and fittings since 1588.

Using Wealden clay local to our Ewhurst factory, Keymer offers four clay plain tile designs - Peg, Traditional, Shire and Goxhill. Made by hand using the same traditional techniques as 400 years ago, each strong and durable Keymer roof tile is a living piece of history.

Since Keymer was acquired by Wienerberger in 2014, the Keymer team have worked closely with our Heritage Service team to provide roof tiles and handmade fittings for heritage restoration and conservation projects.

Find out more about Keymer roof tiles on the Keymer website.

What does our Heritage Service offer?

The Wienerberger Heritage Service creates bespoke roofing products for conservation and restoration projects, providing a specialised design and manufacturing resource to make tiles and fittings that are no longer in mainstream production.

Old designs can be copied to match original tiles and fittings, sometimes from no more than a drawing, using manufacturing methods which ensure the finished product will meet the highest standards.

Specifiers can expect a guarantee of quality, firm prices and an established timing of delivery from the Wienerberger Heritage Service. Depending on requirements, a project undertaken by our Heritage Service could involve…

  • A full discussion concerning production and design times at the project development stage.
  • A comprehensive site survey to understand the project and site requirements such as planning restrictions, local by-laws and the needs of conservation bodies.
  • An inspection of original roof tile samples as well as product and structural drawings.
  • An assessment of how best to authentically reproduce the tile profile.
  • Production of working models and drawings, resin/wood moulds, castings and mock roof sections.
  • Creation of technical specifications showing recommended batten sizes, gauge, pitch and fixings.
  • An individual fixing specification including full fixing information, together with CAD detail of the product itself. 

Heritage Services case studies

Grevel Lane

See how the Heritage Services team helped add a modern extension to a traditional 1950s Cotswolds home

The Vyne

Find out how Heritage Services restored the roof of this iconic Tudor mansion with Keymer handmade clay roof tiles.

Chideock Church

Discover how the dome of this historic chapel was restored using traditional handmade clay tiles.

Bespoke products

Wienerberger offers the greatest choice of roof tiles in the industry, thanks to our dedication to pitched roofing. The years spent developing such a diverse range of products has helped generate the expertise needed to create both simple and complex bespoke tiles for heritage projects as economically as possible.

Our bespoke handmade tiles are also often used for contemporary building projects by architects seeking individuality. These roofing products have helped to create signature buildings which add to their surroundings and give a nod to the area’s history. 


Using clay for heritage projects

Natural clay is one of the most enduring, appealing and versatile traditional roofing materials available, with its mellow appearance and ability to age beautifully. We have access to two types of clay: Wealden clay from South East England and alluvial clay from the River Humber. This enables us to manufacture replica tiles and fittings in close proximity to the source of clay used for the original roof tiles.

Our handmade tiles are air dried then fired using the latest in modern kiln technology, ensuring the highest quality colours and textures.

Working in collaboration

Our team has the resources to design and develop bespoke roofing products to exact standards. Working closely with all interested parties, care and attention to detail has become the trademark of our heritage work. We frequently work with organisations such as the National Trust and Historic England.

We understand that restoration projects are often subject to strict regulatory constraints and criteria that demand products which are genuinely ‘like for like’, so we collaborate with project teams to make sure that the finished result meets these expectations.

Ian Martinson carving a Terracotta warrior at a Heritage Open Day event.

Ian Martinson, Carver of Clay

Ian Martinson produces beautifully intricate sets of ridges and finials as well as fantastical figures such as gargoyles, dragons, griffins, eagles, horses and warriors. To create these unique sculptures, Ian uses his trademark tools - his bare hands and a humble kitchen fork – to transform solid blocks of clay.

With 30 years’ experience in the clay roof tile industry, Ian has an expert knowledge of the crafting and firing of roof tiles. Working with the same soft alluvial clay that is used to make Wienerberger roof tiles, self-taught sculptor Ian has a great feel for working with this material and pushes the boundaries of how it can be used in his bespoke pieces.

Ian also uses his skills with clay to help recreate ornate ridges and finial sets for heritage projects. He produces accurate reproductions of decorative roof accessories to ensure that renovation and conservation schemes can authentically replicate a roof’s original design.

Ian and the rest of the Heritage Services team work closely with our customer to ensure that each spectacular sculpture or set of roof tiles and accessories meet and surpass the client’s expectations.  

Follow Ian, Carver of Clay on Twitter


We are proud supporters and members of the following industry bodies. 
Historic England Angel Awards


Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)


National Federation of Roofing Contractors


Heritage Open Days participant


Download the Keymer brochure

Man placing freshly made clay tile onto drying rack

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Handmade clay roof tiles give a look and effect to your property that cannot be replicated with any other roofing product.

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