You’ll find them across the world – but as outdoor ornamentation goes, there’s something quintessentially British about the weathervane. In these islands of agriculture and maritime exploits, that cockerel facing the wind amidst the four compass points would have been highly symbolic – as well as practically useful!
Clearly, this was in the days before weather forecasts and GPS navigation – but homeowners retain a lingering affection for the traditional weathervane. It’s a classic adornment that makes a lasting difference to its setting – we sell a lot of them at Sandedge, to discerning buyers all around the country.
Here’s our advice if you’re thinking of investing in one (or buying one as a gift).
Firstly, one lingering misconception is that weathervanes are exclusively for the grandest houses: solely to crown the highest roof of that imposing gothic rectory on the hill.
That might have been the case many years ago. But today, you’re likely to find one on anything from a modest bungalow to a townhouse family home. Aside from adorning roofs, we’ve seen weathervanes bolted to garden walls, topping garages and sheds, adding character to summerhouses and outside offices.
In terms of design, it’s helpful that the iron-black look complements pretty well any exterior masonry, tiling or paintwork, and that the range of designs allows you to choose an item that matches the character of your garden… and its owner! Our stock ranges from the patriotic (St. George, or the Welsh Dragon); to the nautical; the whimsical; animals from grand to humble – and, of course, that traditional cockerel.
Looks aside, our top tip is that you’ll need something robust. The British weather isn’t kind to anything lightweight or flimsy, and false economies are a bad idea in the long term.
All our current stock of weathervanes are hand-made in Britain using solid steel, finished with an iron phosphate primer and an antique black coat. They weigh in at around four kilos, which we’ve found is perfect: manageable enough to fit as a routine DIY job, yet sturdy enough to stand up to the winter gales.
You might already have a spot in mind. If not, take a stroll outside (front and back), and survey the skyline around your house. You’ll want to head away from the trees, and look for those exposed spaces where you can create a silhouette against the clouds.
Don’t forget those other potential locations, also – use a weathervane to brighten up a boring shed! Any wall will do; if it’s painted white or cream to set off the iron look then so much the better.
Have fun choosing, and once it’s in situ, don’t forget to send us a picture!