French manoir restoration could win ‘historic’ status

Mr Thomas (left) with historian Jérôme Caouën

A single-handed restoration of a 14th-century manoir has been done to such a standard that the building and the complex around it are heading for monument historique status.

Olivier Thomas has been working on the building in Brittany since 2008 after hours from his job ensuring the maintenance of schools and has taught himself the techniques used by the original constructors.

Unlike them, though, he has had to learn a whole range of skills, becoming, in turn, a stonemason, carpenter, roofer and blacksmith.

“This is actually my second restoration project – I had to sell the first when I was divorced – and I decided that this time I would do it as close to the original techniques as possible,” he said.

“I was very lucky to find the manoir in the state it was, with the original buildings and outbuildings and so I decided the restoration will be as thorough as ...

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