Double Red Duke, Clanfield


How a sympathetic renovation to an historic 17th century coaching inn delivered authenticity in design whilst ensuring 21st century comfort for the guests.

As originators of the Conservation Rooflight, the team at The Rooflight Company are experts at designing solutions that require a sympathetic renovation in keeping with the character of a building whilst also delivering ultra-modern performance standards.

Thirty years ago, the Rooflight Company founder and architect, Peter King, created the original Conservation Rooflight.  Since then, the design has been carefully refined so that each element continues to emulate the cast iron Victorian roof window, whilst meeting the ever-improving modern building regulations, including Part L requirements concerning the limiting factors for both new and existing dwellings.

When it comes to the finer details of a heritage rooflight, there are several features that must be included to ensure the true characteristics of the original Victorian roof windows are protected. Whilst most features such as being top hung with exposed hinges, having glazing bars and a flush finish are more well known, there are more intricate details that make a truly authentic Conservation Rooflight. These include the following three vital  elements.

• A single glazed appearance – the original Victorian rooflight was only available with a single pane of glass using a 1” overlap at the cill. With modern thermal  performance requirements, double glazed units are now essential to support the protection of our environment and conserve energy. It is possible to incorporate an insulated glazing unit whilst staying true to the authentic aesthetic, which the Rooflight Company achieve through the 25mm stepped glazing edge.

• Glazing clips – In the Victorian era, a single pane of glass was held in place with putty and clips. Whilst modern technology ensures glazing units today are secured firmly in place, the Rooflight Company still retain the use of glazing clips at the cill of the rooflight to reference back to that original design feature. The visual is further enhanced through a hand-applied perimeter application of silicone which mirrors the putty of old, whilst ensuring modern weathering performance and longevity.
• Fine lines – Due to the manufacturing capabilities of the 1800s, the original cast iron framework was minimal. In the 21st century, thermally efficient rooflights require a robust frame structure to minimise heat loss. The Rooflight Company’s Design Engineers have developed the perfect balance, achieving the much-desired fine lines, whilst simultaneously and consistently rising to the challenge of the ever improving thermal performance requirements.

The result is a rooflight architects repeatedly specify for heritage projects, knowing it will fit seamlessly into the design of the building, be a true authentic representation of the original cast iron design and deliver on thermal   performance.

Planners and Conservation Officers also rely on this product range to bring our nation’s precious buildings up to the latest performance standards with sympathy and elegance, which is evident in the installation of the Conservation Rooflights in some of our country’s most significant heritage renovations.

The Double Red Duke, situated in the Cotswolds village of Clanfield is one such heritage building. One of Oxfordshire’s most iconic inns, with a history dating back to the 1600s, legend has it, that it was named after a Clanfield farmer, who gave away much of the ‘double red’ corn he grew, to the villagers.  Whether this legend is true, we’re not quite sure, but we know that the inn itself was built only about a century after that time, during the Tudor era.  

Although the legend of where it got its name is lost to history, the building itself is certainly typical of buildings this age, and the owners of this impressive property took on the challenge of a sympathetic renovation. This was achieved with grace, maintaining the enormous character of the building, encapsulating its history, whilst also creating a warm, snug and cosy inn, with 19 individually designed bedrooms, a mini spa and an award-winning restaurant.

One of the main challenges to achieving the owners’ brief was the careful balancing act of thermal efficiency and modernising the property without compromising its much-loved character and aesthetic.   

A key element to achieving this careful balance involved replacing the buildings’ old rooflights with the Rooflight Company’s original Conservation Rooflights. The use of rooflights throughout the pitched roof allowed for natural light to flood bathrooms, bedrooms were attractively lit from above and hallways were awash with an abundance of natural light. This ensured the rooms remained            light and airy, with a feeling of spaciousness, whilst complementing the original architecture of the building. As the rooflights sit flush to the roof they are largely inconspicuous from the exterior. With both opening and non-opening styles, allowing for ventilation and climate control the rooflights are free from unsightly fittings both inside and out, satisfying both owners and planning officers alike.  
The result is an award-winning inn, with accolades  including entry into the Sunday Times 100 Best British Hotels in 2021. Testament to the quality and comfort of the rooms and the stunning yet sympathetic renovations.  

The Rooflight Company has been designing and engineering conservation rooflights for three decades and has a wealth of expertise in the heritage and conservation arena. Outstanding levels of quality are a feature of both their architectural toplighting solutions and their customer service, which includes bespoke design and production right in the heart of the Cotswolds. Their expert innovation team are always on hand to advise and support at all stages of a project for both listed and unlisted buildings. Protecting against the elements, remaining sympathetic to the character of the building, adhering to planning restrictions and meeting all applicable building regulations are exactly what can be expected of products from the Rooflight Company. With meticulously hand crafted rooflights, the quality of these products speak for themselves. To find out more or to speak to one of their experts, visit:


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