A Fishtail Tile

The old brick and tile works is long gone. The clay pit is filled and the whole site now has other, light industrial uses. But at Market Lavington Museum we can preserve the memory of the heyday of brick and tile making in the parish. We have a couple of the slightly fancy fishtail tiles.

Fishtail tile from the 1870s at Market Lavington Museum

This one dates from about 1870 and is clearly labelled with the brickwork owner’s name – ‘W BOX’

The tile is clearly stamped W BOX. William Box owned the brickworks

With a little digital jiggery-pokery we can get some idea of what these bricks might have looked like when laid together.

The tiles could have looked like this when hung.

It has been said of Christopher Wren, in St Paul’s Cathedral, ‘if you seek his momument, look around you’. The same could be said for the brick masters of Market Lavington. And you don’t have to look far from the museum to find fishtail tiles. Indeed, the nearest building, now The Old School, is covered in them.

A part of Market Lavington Old School roof – it is covered with fishtail tiles.

We can see that the tiler had a course with a triangular, rather than rounded tail, to make a pattern across the roof.


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3 Responses to “A Fishtail Tile”

  1. RonH Says:

    I’m actually looking to buy some replacement fishtail tiles, which is how I found this page. But these tiles shown are actually called HALF-ROUND, because they have a protruding semicircle at the lower edge – and sometimes known as CLUB. Those where the semicircle occupies the full width of the tile are called SPADE, ROUND-END, BULLNOSE or BULLNOSED. SCALLOPED is similar to SPADE except that the curve to the lower edge is much shallower – but some use it as another name for SPADE. Those with a triangular tail are called HEXAGON or ARROWHEAD (or, if the triangle is not full width, POINT or ARROW TAIL). There is also one called OCTAGON, which is like club or half-round but has straight lines instead of curves; if this is full-width, then it is as if the corners are trimmed at 45 degrees, and the tile is called BEVELLED. TAPERED is like a cross between SPADE and HEXAGON. The FISHTAIL tile is actually where it looks as though there is a quarter-circle missing from each of the two lower corners. I hope this helps. For more info, including pictures, you could try (among many others)

  2. RonH Says:

    Close inspection seems to show a bit missing from the lower left-hand side of this CLUB tile; a sideways overlap would be difficult to fix, and would be very fragile! The right side is complete, though, and the tile would have been symmetrical. This will, of course, affect the overlay picture of what a section of roof would have looked like, see e.g. http://www.salvo.co.uk/images/userimgs/6446/handmade-staff-blues_58808_1.jpg

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