Judging by Google searches, wooden 'nails' for fixing roof tiles are definitely a thing of the past. However almost all the searches I have attempted (in an area I don't know my way around) have only turned up offers to sell metal or plastic 'nails'. The closest I came to anything useful were:

ROOFING from English Heritage, and

How to Tell the Age of a Barn from Superior Hardwoods at least mentions nails but they are metal, and the context is USA, similarly History & Photo Examples of Nails from InspectAPedia.

Wikipedia has Treenail but those are used differently.

At least a drawing of one at PEG TILES IN SOUTH-EAST ENGLAND from the Society For The Protection Of Ancient Buildings (bottom left on page 3).

So I have searched, but unsuccessfully, for some indication of when wooden pegs ceased to be in common use (replaced by metal ones) for 'fixing' clay tiles (hand-made) for roofs. In particular for southern England (specifically, West Sussex).

Can anyone indicate a date?

I'd guess about the middle of the 19th Century.

1 Answer 1


The Heritage Directory reports that peg tiles were introduced in the 12th century and "were the universal form of plain tile till the 19th century". Specifically, "[b]y 1850, nib tiles were being used and were common by the 1880's."

The City and Countrey Purchaser, and Builder's Dictionary of 1703 describes curved "Flemish" tiles that "have no holes for Pins", so curved and lapping tiles also appeared during the period when pegs were used to fix plain tiles.

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