Historic Flint Masonry Repair

Historic Flint Masonry Repair

Learn the essentials of flint working techniques and traditional flint wall repair on this Humble Heritage course.

I feel like I could go and repair a bit of flint wall! Result!

18/04/2024 - 19/04/2024
Course Type: 


Introductory CPD, Intermediate CPD,
Hatfield House
Hatfield Park,
AL9 5HX, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom

£350, including lunch on both days

Event details

Join us at Hatfield House for this hands-on two-day course. You will learn the essentials of flint working techniques and traditional flint wall repair from specialist Lynn Mathias, one of the few remaining practitioners of this endangered craft.

Through a combination of live demonstrations and hands-on sessions, you will learn how to assess, prepare and repair traditional flint walls. You will be working on a 17th century garden wall in the grounds of Hatfield House, giving you plenty of opportunities to try out your new skills on real historic masonry, under the expert supervision of one of the country’s leading flint specialists.

Although this is an introductory course, you should come away from this workshop with the confidence to tackle your own flint masonry repairs.  

Flint has been used as a building material since Roman times, prized for its durability and beauty, as well as its abundance and availability. Masonry flint knapping is now a critically endangered craft, but Lynn hopes that courses like this will help to pass on knowledge and skills vital to keep the craft alive so it can one day be removed from the endangered craft list. 


This programme is subject to minor changes.

Day One

9am Registration, tea and coffee
9.15am Welcome and Health & Safety briefing
9.30am Introductory talk
10.30am Tea and coffee break
11am Drive to site
11.15am Condition survey: how to identify typical failures, defects and poor practices
12pm Demonstration and practical session on lime mortar:
  preparing and mixing appropriate mortars for pointing, bedding and jointing
1pm Lunch
2pm Practical session: rebuilding free-standing flint wall, including flint selection and consolidation
3pm Tea and coffee break
3.30pm Practical session: rebuilding free-standing flint wall (as above)
4.30pm Q&A and tidy up
4.45pm End of day one

Day Two

9am      Registration, tea and coffee
9.30am Flint knapping demonstration and practice
10.30am Tea and coffee break
11am Practical session rebuilding flint wall 
1pm Lunch
2pm Demonstrations and practice session on jointing techniques and tending
3.30pm Tea and coffee break
4pm Practical session rebuilding flint wall (as above)
4.30pm Q&A and tidy up
4.45pm                   End of the course

Who is this course for?

This is an introductory/intermediate level course aimed at building professionals and craftspeople seeking to work with or better understand flint masonry. It is also suitable for building owners and caretakers keen to learn more about how to maintain and repair flint masonry.

You will learn

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the characteristics of flint used in historic masonry buildings
  • Assess flint work condition
  • Identify flint finishes and bonding details
  • Identify typical defects commonly found in historic flint masonry
  • Understand the various materials and techniques used in the repair and conservation of historic flint masonry
  • Prepare a repair specification for remedial works
  • Carry out remedial work to flint masonry, including jointing and joint finishes

You will need

  • Please wear overalls or working clothes you don't mind getting dirty, and flat, enclosed footwear, ideally steel toe-capped boots. All other PPE is provided.  
  • The work will involve kneeling so you may wish to wear knee pads or bring a suitable kneeler cushion.
  • We will mostly be outside, so we recommend you wear warm layers and bring waterproofs in case of rain. 

Practical information

  • Parking is available at the main car park, where we will meet at the start of each day
  • From there we will car share to the site, where there is limited parking 
  • There is a toilet and handwashing facilities on site
  • A light lunch will be provided. Please indicate any dietary requirements in the booking form


Lynn Mathias, lead tutor

Lynn is a brick and flint specialist, a SPAB Guardian and founder of Mathias Restoration Ltd. He has worked with brick and flint in the conservation sector for over 30 years and teaches at West Dean College. Lynn has taught many of our brickwork and flint courses sits on our Education and Training Committee.

Myles Mathias, assistant tutor

Myles is Lynn's son and has been repairing historic buildings for six years since leaving school. He has gained a City and Guilds qualification in brickwork and is an accomplished flint knapper. He regularly assists at SPAB Working Parties.

About Humble Heritage courses

Our Humble Heritage courses explore and celebrate traditional buildings and the skills that go into creating and repairing them. They are designed to give learners a thorough technical and theoretical understanding about a subject, reinforced with guided practical, hands-on experience at historic locations. We have run courses on topics including bricklaying, thatching, flint and lime mortars at locations such as Moffat Cemetery, St Nicholas Church in Feltwell, Housedean Farm in Lewes, and Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.


This course is recognised by the IHBC for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  


Please note that you will be learning at an area of the Hatfield House estate that is an active construction site.

  • The ground will be uneven in places
  • The wall and surrounding area are muddy in places
  • Work to the lower parts of the wall will involve kneeling or crouching
  • There is no seating available, but you are welcome to being a camp chair or stool

Anything we can do to make this event more accessible for you? Please email education@spab.org.uk


We may take photos or videos at this event to be used in future promotion, including in print and online.

All bookings are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

Image credits: Flint © SPAB

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