The English Stone Forum

Editors Peter Doyle, Terry Hughes, Ian Thomas 

The papers presented at the 2005 conference on England's stone built heritage covering the historic use of stone, conservation practice, supply of stone, and planning issues associated with the use of indigenous stone. Copies are available in the libraries of universities and colleges which run building conservation courses and in the British Library and the other legal deposit libraries (Bodleian Oxford, Cambridge University, Trinity College Dublin, National libraries of Wales and Scotland).

England’s Heritage in Stone Peter Doyle, Geoconservation Commission ESF-Peter Doyle.pdf

Historical Perspectives of Conservation.pdf, Chris Wood, English Heritage ESF - Chris Wood.pdf

Building Stone as a Resource.pdf Tim Yates Building Research Establishment ESF - Tim Yates-1.pdf

Vernacular Slate and Stone Roofs in England.pdf, Terry Hughes, Slate and Stone Consultants ESF - Terry Hughes-1.pdf

The Development of the Victorian Stone industry.pdf, Graham Lott, British Geological Survey ESF - Graham Lott-2.pdf

Vernacular Stone Buildings in Northamptonshire.pdf, Diana S. Sutherland ESF - Diana Sutherland.pdf

A Geologist’s Guide to Building Stones.pdf, Stone Eric Robinson ESF - Eric Robinson.pdf

Limestone Petrography and Durability in English Jurassic Freestones.pdf Tim Palmer, University of Wales, Aberystwyth ESF - Tim Palmer.pdf

Field Guide to the Upper Permian Cadeby Formation (Magnesian Limestone) of Yorkshire.pdf,  G K Lott and A H Cooper ESF - Lott & Cooper-1.pdf

Hopton Wood Stone, England’s premier decorative stone.pdf. Ian Thomas National Stone Centre ESF - Ian Thomas.pdf

England's Heritage in Stone, Peter Doyle, Geoconservation Commission ESF-Peter Doyle.pdf

The diversity of stone in the British Isles has been rightly celebrated, mirroring the diversity of its geological structure. This close association of stone and structure has helped shape the distinct built environment of the regions and constituent nations of the United Kingdom. With an increased emphasis on integration of nature, landscape and built environment, it is timely to examine the means of increasing the awareness and use of indigenous stone. This emphasis, and the additional fillip provided by devolution, has provided the framework in recent years for the creation of the Scottish Stone Liaison Group and the Welsh Stone Forum. Both organisations have been successful in promoting the use, in both heritage projects and new build, of stone indigenous to their country. It is therefore timely to review the richness, diversity and use of English Stone in England, and to consider the formation of a forum equal in stature to those in Scotland and Wales, in order to together promote our native stone.

Historical Perspective of Conservation, Chris Wood, English Heritage ESF - Chris Wood.pdf

Building conservation as we know today has only really been practiced over the last 150 years or so. As this volume is  intended to highlight the importance of stone, the perspective has been widened to look further back than that, before concentrating on today's issues

Most people know what conservation is. Recent work at York Minister nearby epitomises the sort of issues and conflicts encountered when considering the best way to conserve precious building fabric. Until the 1990s the general practice of the in-house masons was to replace decayed stone rather than repair it. The work to the Great West Door, however, was a very successful blend of the two.

The conservation approach is to try and keep as much original fabric as possible. In 1978 seriously decayed arch stones were treated with Brethane, a specially devised consolidant to slow the natural decay. However, for various reasons this was not entirely successful, and there was continuous loss up to 1997 when its condition was re-evaluated.

Building Stone as a Resource Tim Yates Building Research Establishment ESF - Tim Yates-1.pdf

Building stone is a resource for restoration projects and for new build, and practical guidance is presented here on the application of different test methods in choosing new stone for use in buildings.  Three cases studies illustrate possible synergies and conflicts between building conservation policy and sustainability. The case studies are drawn from recent projects with which Buildings Research Establishment has been involved: Vimy Ridge Monument (France); Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Albany, New York (USA); and Gloucester Cathedral (UK). The final part of the paper describes a pilot study aimed at developing a methodology for recording the stones used in heritage buildings, the condition of the stone, and the likely requirements in terms of replacement stone over the next 50 years, with its implications for quarrying and minerals planning. 

Vernacular Slate and Stone Roofs in England, Terry Hughes, Slate and Stone Consultants ESF - Terry Hughes-1.pdf

The vernacular slate and stone roofs of England have used a very wide variety of fissile or cleavable rocks ranging in age from Cambrian to Cretaceous. The physical and visual characteristics of these stones and the skill and ingenuity of roof slaters in adapting them to a range of weather conditions have made a major contribution to England’s built heritage and regional distinctiveness. Supply from the larger slate quarries, even in the face of increasing cheap imports from Asia and South America, is secure in the short term. At the small-scale end of the industry – mainly sandstones and limestones – the efforts to support and revitalise the quarries on which the conservation of these roofs depends have had considerable success, but their future is by no means secure. 

The development of the Victorian Stone Industry, Graham Lott, British Geological Survey ESF - Graham Lott-2.pdf

The coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 saw the start of perhaps the most dynamic and innovative period in Britain’s history. It was a period of massive industrial expansion and exploitation at home and abroad. The pace of this development was matched by a rapid growth in population. New towns and cities mushroomed around the main industrial centres. Agricultural and industrial practices went through a period of unprecedented change as the insatiable needs of this growing urban population had to be met. Our natural resources had to be exploited to their fullest extent to house this growing urban workforce. The quarrying of stone for building purposes was no different from any other industry at this time with activity in the quarries reaching a peak by the end of the century. 

Vernacular Stone Buildings in Northamptonshire, Diana S. Sutherland ESF - Diana Sutherland.pdf

Across the county of Northamptonshire villages and market towns display a rich variety of local building materials, closely reflecting the range of Lower and Middle Jurassic rocks. Most villages had a stone-pit, providing roughly dressed rubblestone masonry. There were also quarries of better freestone for quoins, fine ashlar, or carved mouldings; and locally (notably around Collyweston), fissile slatestone suitable for roofing. Some 12 different types of building stone are recognised, including ironstones, sandstones, and many limestones. The gentle south-easterly dip accounts for the distribution of successive outcrops of the main building stones, from the Marlstone Rock Formation in the west to the Blisworth Limestone Formation in the east, the intervening Northampton Sand Formation running through the centre of the county; the Lincolnshire Limestone occurs only in the north and dies out south of Kettering. The paucity of existing quarries creates a dilemma for the restoration of existing buildings. It is important to match rock-types for colour, general composition, and properties such as cementation and porosity.

A Geologist's Guide to Building, Stone Eric Robinson ESF - Eric Robinson.pdf

Stone used in buildings varies considerably from place to place throughout England, to an extent that makes it an impossible task to write a short article which will explain every aspect in sufficient detail from the perspective of a geologist. For this reason, what follows is an attempt to review the basic features and introduce some of the language used in describing stone by architects and art historians, and to a lesser extent, by the trade. Geological terminology may come a poor fourth. 

Limestone Petrography and Durability in English Jurassic Freestones Tim  Palmer, University of Wales, Aberystwyth ESF - Tim Palmer.pdf

Porous limestones that are used as building stones weather and decay by a variety of processes that are water-driven. These processes operate most severely where water is held tightly within the fabric of a stone, particularly in areas of high local microporosity. In contrast, connected macroporosity within a stone permits ready drying and mitigates water-related decay processes. The slogan ‘macroporosity good: microporosity bad’ suggests itself. Well-regarded Jurassic freestones from four localities (Bath; Portland; the Lincolnshire Limestone belt; Dundry) are compared, and their durability performances are related through their porosity characteristics to their petrography. 

Field Guide to the Upper Permian Cadeby Formation (Magnesian limestone) of Yorkshire,  G K Lott and A H Cooper ESF - Lott & Cooper-1.pdf

The late Permian dolomitic limestones (dolostones), which form an almost continuous outcrop from north Nottinghamshire to the Northumberland coast at Teeside, have been an important source of industrial minerals for many centuries. They have been quarried extensively for building stone, aggregate and lime for agricultural, industrial and chemical processes (see Buist & Ineson 1992) The limestones, because of their magnesium-rich carbonate mineralogy are perhaps still best known by their former geological name the (Lower) Magnesian Limestone. However, in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire the limestones are now named, by geologists, the Cadeby Formation (Smith et al. 1986). Along much of its length, the outcrop is pock-marked by small quarries and lime pits, many now disused and some infilled with waste. Currently there are three quarries producing building stone from the formation in Yorkshire, namely Highmoor, Hazel Lane and Cadeby quarries. Many of the most famous quarries of the Tadcaster (Thevesdale) area Smaw’s, Jackdaw Crag, Terry Lug, Hazelwood etc have long ceased operations.

Hopton Wood Stone, England's premier decorative stone. Ian Thomas National Stone Centre ESF - Ian Thomas.pdf

Whereas Portland is undoubtedly the best known English prestigious building stone historically Hopton Wood Stone has probably been the most widely favoured British stone for decorative interior work, but usually only has footnote status in architectural descriptions.

The author has been researching Hopton Wood for many years and has previously presented a detailed but interim report (Thomas 2000). This account summarises and further updates his earlier work. 

An unusually high number of myths and misconceptions are associated with the stone; even its source has been open to serious, even legal challenge on a number of occasions. 

Higher Shilstone granite