The manor house was built between 1500 and 1520 as a home for one of the lords under the Tudor King Henry VIII. It was privately owned from then until 1956, when it was bequeathed to the National Trust. This non-profit organisation protects natural and architectural monuments in Great Britain. They wanted the new roof to be as close a match as possible to the original.
For this reason, the clay tiles were manufactured by hand, using traditional methods and the local Weald clay. This clay occurs naturally in the local area, including in the ground beneath the manor house, so the tiles that formed the original roof were very likely made from this same clay.
There was another advantage to making the tiles by hand: visitors were invited to immortalise their hand prints on the clay tiles in exchange for a voluntary donation. As a result, there are 12 885 individually ‘signed’ roof tiles in the renovated roof, and around £ 64 000 was raised towards the work in donations.