History

The history of Kent Peg Tiles


A short history of Kent peg tiles and Kent peg tile production ...


Peg tiles were first used by the Romans.

There was then an approximate gap in manufacture of 700 years, when they departed in the 5th Century.

By the 14th Century tile production was in full swing.

In 1477 during the reign of King Edward IV there was a charter standardising the size of plain tiles to 6.5 x 10.5 inches. Kent pegs never followed suit and range from 9" to 10" deep by 6" wide, which makes them easily identifiable and unique!


Andrews of Brabourne Tile Makers
Andrews of Brabourne Tile Makers
Boys Tile Making
Boys Tile Making
Carrying Head of Tiles
Carrying Head of Tiles

Original Kent peg tiles were always made with locally dug clay.

Many country estates had their own brickworks, producing a range of wares from bricks and tile, to land drains and chimney pots.


Dunton Green Tileworks
Dunton Green Tileworks
Andrews of Brabourne Tile Makers
Fixing Tile Pegs Smarden
Fixing Tile Pegs Smarden

  • In 1355 Kent peg tiles were recorded as costing 2 shillings per 1,000
  • In 1483 they were 5 shillings per 1,000
  • Now they average £1,000 per 1,000 including VAT

Goddington & Kennington Tile Works 1888
Goddington & Kennington Tile Works 1888
Horse Drawn Pugmill at Westenhanger
Horse Drawn Pugmill at Westenhanger
Motor Cycle Operated Pugmill at Westenhanger
Motor Cycle Operated Pugmill at Westenhanger

Contrary to popular belief Kent peg tiles appear to have only ever been fixed with “SOFTWOOD” pegs.


Tile Makers Wearing Dewpants
Tile Makers Wearing Dewpants
Tiling at Westenhanger
Tiling at Westenhanger
Westwell Tile Works
Westwell Tile Works

  • In 1891 there were 150 recorded tile makers in Kent.
  • In 1914 there were 105
  • In 1938 there were 64
  • In 1959 the last works closed in Staplehurst

Dunton Green Tile works
Dunton Green Tile works
Richard Dryland of Andrews
Richard Dryland of Andrews
of Brabourne tile makers
Melvin & Vic Gash of Babylon tileworks, `Keeping Tradition Alive'
Melvin & Vic Gash of Babylon tileworks, `Keeping Tradition Alive'

There is now somewhat of a revival with several firms making traditional Kent peg tiles and fittings. The best Known local yards being Spicer tiles and Babylon tile works, both of which there are links for on this website.


George Chambers, a peg tiler with 50 years experience
My good friend George Chambers, a peg tiler with 50 years experience showing his historic collection of peg tiles at our Kent Show Stand.
Part of the historic display
Part of the historic display.

Please note: All images on this website are copyright © Karl Terry