The History of Cotswold stone, Drystone Walls, Buildings, Dry stone Walling Courses and Suppliers Of Cotswolds Stone Products and Services
History Of Cotswold Stone
Cotswold stone is a yellow oolitic limestone quarried throughout the Cotswold. The Cotswold Hills are formed from a belt of oolitic limestone that divides England from the North Sea to the south coast. The stone is some of the most beautiful and durable building material to be found anywhere in the world.
The limestone found in the Cotswolds is from the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago, a time when dinosaurs roamed over the earth and the area was once below the sea. The Cotswolds hills were created when a large block of oolitic limestone tilted up at its western end to form the escarpment we see today and with a gentle slope tilting to the east. The rock has become seperated from the main escarpment forming outcrops at places off the 'Cotswold Edge', examples being Cam Long Down and Bredon Hill.
Ever since the Romans discovered the stone and began quarrying the material for building, the towns and cities all over Cotswolds have gained an identity all of their own. Great examples of using the stone in some of the finest architecture in the country can be seen at Blenheim Palace, many of the Oxford colleges and further afield St Paul´s Cathedral for which stone from Taynton was used. The famous Bath stone was quarried from the area around Corsham and the heritage centre in the small Wiltshire town has an interesting exhibition to the history of the stone.
The Cotswolds are famed for the stone walls which line the sides of roads and divide fields. With stone readily available at the time of the Enclosures Act of the 18th and 19th centuries it was cheaper to enclose Cotswold fields with stone walls than to plant hedgerows and although there have been stone walls here since Neolithic times most of the walls we see today are from the last 200 years or so.
These walls now form an important part of the Cotswolds historical landscape and are one of the major conservation schemes for the Cotswolds.
The walls construction has no mortar and the stones are carefully chosen for size and shape by the skills of the craftsman
who will lay the stone in such a way that the rainwater will drain through the wall naturally.
Today, much of the charm and distinctive character of many of the Cotswold towns and villages is due to the use of this mellow local stone turning from the honey coloured yellow in the north to a silvery grey as the stone moves southwards.
Visit the Dry Stone Walling Association for specifications on cotswold stone walls and information on all the other UK styles of stone walls.
Dry Stone Walling Courses
Dry Stone Walling Courses are available from the following organisations.
Cotswolds Stone Suppliers
For all your requirements of cotswold stone contact the following suppliers.
- The Natural Stone Market Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1451 850864
- Farmington Natural Stone Tel: +44 (0)1451 860280
- J.A. Bullock - Natural Stone Supplies Tel: +44 (0)1242 602085
- Huntsmans Quarries Tel: +44 (0)1451 850555
- Knockdown Stone Tel: +44 (0)1666 840443
- Cotswold Stone Quarries Tel: +44 (0)1451 850775
- Syreford Quarries & Masonry Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1451 850677/850775
Using Cotswold Stone
Besides the traditional dry stone walls, Cotswold stone can be used for many outdoor structures. The following craftsmen can help you through the design and use of stone.
- Allstonework Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1452 728949
Cotswold stone can also be used indoors. The following craftsmen will be able to guide you through the uses of the stone and their latest products.