Our handmade clay tiles are hung from the framework of the roof by fixing them with nails. The handmade clay tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. These can either be bedded and pointed in cement mortar or mechanically fixed.
Tiled roofs first replaced thatched roofs in ancient Mesopotamia. Fired roof tiles occur from as early as the third millennium BC in the Early Helladic House of the tiles in Lerna, Greece. Debris found at the site contained thousands of terracotta tiles which had fallen from the roof. In the Mycenaean period, roof tiles are documented for Gla and Midea.
The earliest finds of handmade clay tiles in archaic Greece are documented from a very restricted area around Corinth, where fired tiles began to replace thatched roofs at two temples of Apollo and Poseidon between 700 and 650 BC. Spreading rapidly, roof tiles were within fifty years in evidence at a large number of sites around the Eastern Mediterranean, including Mainland Greece, Western Asia Minor, and Southern and Central Italy. Early handmade clay tiles showed an S-shape, with the pan and cover tile forming one piece. They were quite bulky tiles, weighing in exess of 66 lb each. These handmade clay tiles were more expensive and labour intensive to produce than thatch.
Their introduction has been explained by their greatly enhanced fire resistance, which gave much better protection to those sacred temples.
The spread of the handmade clay tile technique should be viewed in connection with the simultaneous rise of monumental architecture in ancient Greece. Only the newly appearing stone walls, which were replacing the earlier mudbrick and wood walls, were strong enough to support the weight of a tiled roof. As a side effect, it has been argued that the new stone and tile construction also brought an end to Chinese roof construction in Greek architecture, as they made the need for an extended roof as rain protection for the mudbrick walls a thing of the past.
Production of Dutch roof tiles started in the 14th century when the leaders of cities required the use of fireproof materials. At the time, most houses were made of wood and had thatch roofing, which would often cause fires to spread quickly. To satisfy demand, many small handmade clay tile makers began to produce roof tiles by hand. Many of these small factories were built near rivers where there was a plentiful source of clay and much cheaper transport.
The county of Hampshire is believed to have been continuously occupied since the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 BC. At this time, Britain was still attached to the European mainland and was mostly covered with deciduous woodland.
The first inhabitants of Hampshire were Mesolithic hunter gatherers. The vast majority of the population would have been based around the river valleys. Over several thousand years, the climate became much warmer, and sea levels rose; the English Channel, which started out as a river, was a major inlet by 8000 BC, although Britain was still connected to Europe by a land bridge across the North Sea until 6500 BC. Notable sites from this period include Bouldnor Cliff.
Agriculture had started in ernest in southern Britain by 4000 BC, and with it a neolithic culture. Some deforestation took place at that time, although during the Bronze Age, beginning in 2200 BC, this became more widespread. Hampshire lacks monuments to show from these early periods, although nearby Stonehenge was built in several phases at some time between 3100 and 2200 BC. In the very late Bronze Age, fortified hilltop settlements known as hillforts began to appear in large numbers in many parts of Britain including Hampshire, and these became more and more important in the early and middle Iron Age; many of these are still visible in the landscape today and can be visited, notably Danebury Rings. By this time, the people of Britain mostly spoke a Celtic language, and their culture shared much in common with the Celts.
Hillforts seemed to have declined in importance in the second half of the second century BC, with many being abandoned. Probably around this period, the first recorded invasion of Britain took place, as southern Britain was largely conquered by warriors from Belgic tribes of northeastern Gaul. By the time of the Roman conquest, the oppidum at Venta Belgarum, which is now Winchester, was the de facto regional administrative centre; Winchester was, however, of secondary importance to the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, now Silchester, built further north by a dominant Belgic polity known as the Atrebates in the 50s BC. The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar invaded southeastern England briefly in 55 and again in 54 BC, but he never actually reached the county of Hampshire.
The Roman army invaded Britain again in 43 AD, and Hampshire was incorporated into the Roman province of Britannia. It is believed their political leaders allowed themselves to be incorporated peacefully. Venta became the capital of the administrative polity of the Belgae, which included most of Hampshire and Wiltshire and reached as far as Bath. Whether the people of Hampshire played any role in Boudiccas rebellion of 60 AD to 61 AD is not recorded, but evidence of burning is seen in Winchester dated to around this period. For most of the next three hundred years, southern Britain made the most of a peaceful existence. The later part of the Roman period had most towns build defensive walls; a pottery industry based in the New Forest exported items widely across southern Britain.
A fortification near Southampton was called Clausentum, part of the Saxon Shore forts, traditionally seen as defences against maritime raids by Germanic tribes. The Romans left Britain in 410 AD.
Two major Roman roads, Ermin Way and Port Way cross the north of the country connecting Calleva Atrebatum with Corinium Dobunnorum, modern Cirencester, and Old Sarum. Other roads connected Venta Belgarum with Old Sarum, Wickham and Clausentum. A road, presumed to diverge from the Chichester to Silchester Way at Wickham, connected Noviomagus Reginorum, modern Chichester, with Clausentum.
Records are unreliable for the next two centuries, but in this time, southern Britain went from being Brythonic to being English and Hampshire emerged as the centre of what was to become the most powerful kingdom in Britain, the Kingdom of Wessex. Evidence of early Anglo-Saxon settlement has been found at Clausentum, dated to the fifth century. By the seventh century, the population of Hampshire was predominantly English speaking; around this period, the administrative region of Hampshire seems to appear. Albany Major suggested that the traditional western and northern borders of Hampshire may even go back to the very earliest conquests of Cerdic, legendary founder of Wessex, at the beginning of the sixth century. Wessex, with its capital at Winchester, gradually expanded westwards into Brythonic Dorset and Somerset in the seventh century. A statue in Winchester celebrates the powerful King Alfred, who drove away the Vikings and stabilised the region in the 9th century. King Alfred proclaimed himself King of England in 886; but Athelstan of Wessex did not officially control the whole of England until 927 AD.
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