Thursday, November 6, 2008

The geology and building stones of the North Cotswolds

The geology and building stones of the North Cotswolds.
by
Dr. Dennis Jackson


Introduction
The area under consideration lies between Chipping Campden in the north and Bourton on the Water in the south though occasionally, I have strayed outside this area for the sake of completeness.It is recommended that this article be used in conjunction with BGS geology map for Moreton in Marsh (sheet 217).
An important contribution to our knowledge of the geology came from the pioneering work of William Smith (1769-1839) who is regarded as The Father of English Geology. Smith was born in Churchill and his father was a blacksmith who died when William was eight years old. He moved from the Forge to live with his stepfather Robert Gardner- landlord of the Chequers Inn. At the age of eighteen, he moved into Manor House (Fig. 1) in the Market Square, Stow on the Wold where he lived for four years with Edward Webb who trained him in surveying.


Fig. 1. Manor House (now called Tudor House) in Market Square, Stow on the Wold where William Smith lived from 1787 – 1791.

In 1794, they surveyed the route for the Somerset Coal Canal and it was here that Smith developed techniques involving mapping geological units and using fossils to determine where he was in the geological succession. By the end of the 1790s, Smith had started his pioneering geological map of Britain that he completed in 1802 but did not publish until 1815. In the meantime, a fellow geologist stole Smith’s data and published a competing map that resulted in Smith’s bankruptcy and his imprisonment in 1819. Upon release, he moved to Yorkshire with his wife. Eventually, Smith’s pioneering work was recognised by the geological establishment and in 1831 the Geological Society of London awarded him the Wollaston Gold Medal; five years later the University of Dublin awarded him a Doctorate of Law. Smith died in 1869 and was buried in Northampton. A monument to Smith in the centre of Churchill village (SP283 243) is an obelisque of Middle Jurassic limestone that was erected in 1891 and came from Sarsgrove Wood, one and one half mile east of the village.


Stratigraphy
The Cotswold Hills are a recent physiographical feature that have an altitude between 200m and 300 m OD in which the strata dip southeastwards at about one degree. These hills are delineated by the outcrop of those Middle Jurassic limestones units that Smith called the Inferior (=Under) Oolite Limestone and the Great Oolite Limestone .The existence of Jurassic outliers such as Bredon Hill, Meon Hill and Ebrington Hill prove that Jurassic strata once extended far to the northwest of the present escarpment. The vales of Evesham, Moreton in Marsh and Bourton on the
Water that flank the hills are cut into soft clays of Lower Jurassic age. Above the Middle Jurassic, the Upper Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary are missing in the North Cotswolds due to erosion or to non-deposition.


Fig. 2. The stratigraphical succession below the North Cotswolds based on the BGS Lemington Borehole and Stow # 2 well. Unconformity 1 (unc. 1) lacks Upper Silurian, Devonian and Lower Carboniferous; unconformity 2 (unc. 2) lacks Permian.

One deep borehole drilled by the British Geological Survey in the 1913 at Lower Lemington (SP214 346), northeast of Moreton in Marsh, drilled through Lower Jurassic, Triassic, Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures and bottomed in Lower Silurian.In the 1960s, more data came from 449 boreholes drilled by the British Gas Corporation (Gas Council) and V. C. Illing and partners in an attempt to locate a suitable anticlinal structure in which to store gas following the discoveries of gas in Holland in 1959 and in the Southern North Sea in the 1960s. One small structure was located east of Stow on the Wold called the Sarsden Dome where boreholes Stow #2 (SP201 207) and #3 (SP 250 216), and Sarsden #2 (SP276 222) through #8 (SP 297 209) penetrated thick Triassic Bromsgrove Sandstone (Fig. 2) with porosity that was good enough to act as a reservoir for gas storage. Indeed in 1974, British Gas discovered the giant Morecambe gas field and three years later BP discovered the Wytch Farm Oilfield in Poole Harbour. Both have Triassic sandstones reservoirs. Nine of the abovementioned boreholes east of Stow on the Wold terminate in Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures that form the western limits of the West Oxfordshire Coalfield.


Four hundred million years of history


Silurian
The oldest rocks in the Lemington borehole are of Lower Silurian age (439-430 my) represented by 50 metres of mudstones and limestones. The Silurian seas were rich in corals, brachiopods, gastropods and trilobites and palaeomagnetic data indicates that at this time, England lay in the tropics and had a latitude 20 degrees south of the equator. The Cotswolds were not involved in the Caledonian episode of mountain building that affected a large area from Ireland to Norway. Instead, the Silurian was merely tilted and uplifted.



Carboniferous
In the Lemington borehole, a major unconformity (Fig. 2) separates Silurian from the overlying Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures (320-290 my) and the missing Upper Silurian, Devonian and Lower Carboniferous suggest a long period (about 100 my) of uplift and erosion. However, subsurface drilling shows that Devonian strata were deposited in and around the Witney area.
The Coal Measures represent equatorial coastal swamps and offshore deltas and it was in these swamps that 30 m high club mosses, horsetails, seed ferns and tree ferns produced thick layers of rotting debris that accumulated as peat and upon deep burial were transformed into coal. Incursions of the sea into these deltas introduced invertebrates like brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, crinoids and ostracods.



Triassic
The Coal Measures are overlain by Triassic strata thus indicating another unconformity in which the Permian (having a duration of 45 my) is missing probably due to uplift associated with the Variscan Orogeny. The Triassic (245-210 my) succession in Stow # 1 is about 175 metres thick and consists of claystones, siltstones, sandstones and thin salt beds that represent deposits laid down in a desert some 10° north of the equator. The explanation of southern Britain’s apparent migration across lines of latitude comes from studies of palaeomagnetism of lavas of different ages on different continents. The data reveals that the poles have apparently moved considerably through time but such apparent movement is explained by drift of landmasses rather than migration of pole positions.
The Bromsgrove Sandstone in the Lower Triassic (Fig. 2) averages 30 metres in thickness and consists of fining upward cycles of sandstones and siltstones deposited by rivers flowing northwards in the Worcester Graben. Above this sandstone, is the Mercia Mudstone representing widespread mudflats of a delta or estuary that periodically dried out giving rise to gypsum and halite deposits as well as mudcracked clays. This sequence averages 80 metres thick and forms a good caprock in the Morecambe Bay Gas Field and the Wytch Farm Oil Field in Poole Harbour.
At the top of the Triassic in the boreholes east of Stow on the Wold there are two rock units called the Blue Anchor Formation and the Penarth Group that represent a transition from desert to marine conditions.



Jurassic
During the Jurassic, we see the early separation of Australia, India, South America, Africa and Antarctica but the North Atlantic Ocean had not yet formed. A north-south trending rift valley formed in the North Sea area in which flowed sand-laden rivers and there were volcanic centres between Scotland and Norway. To the east of the Cotswolds, the emergent London-Brabant Landmass persisted throughout the Jurassic and the shelf that lay west of the London Platform was under warm, clear seas, where the climate was tropical due to England being positioned about 30 degrees north of the equator.
The Lower Jurassic claystones (which William Smith named Liassic Clay) rarely appear at the surface but are commonly encountered during excavations for foundations for buildings in Moreton in Marsh (eg. Coachman’s Court) and in Bourton on the Water (eg. Bourton Chase). Surprisingly, a normal fault brings these beds to the surface at 215 m OD in a deepened ditch (SP193 260) near the Surgery on Well Lane, Stow on the Wold.
The Liassic consisting of mudstones, siltstones and ferruginous sideritic limestones attain a thickness of 80 m in Stow # 2 well. These were deposited in relatively deeper water and yield ammonites, brachiopods, belemnites, crinoids and bivalves and occasionally whole skeletons of the fish-like reptiles Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus indicating deposition below wave-base. A skeleton of the former can be seen in the floor of the porch of St. Johns Church in Tredington south of Tewkesbury and a specimen of the latter found in the brick pit at Blockley is on display in Gloucester City Museum .
The Liassic is succeeded by shallow water marine limestones that William Smith named the Inferior Oolite Limestone and the Great Oolite Limestone. The high-energy environment pulverised most of the shelled organisms turning them into fossil hash. Exceptions to this are the large specimens of the bivalve Trigonia and the sea urchin Clypeus that are common in the upper Inferior Oolite between Stow on the Wold and Guiting Power. These two limestones can be distinguished on colour and hardness; the Inferior Oolite is relatively soft, yellowish-brown oolite whereas the Great Oolite is harder and grey-pale cream. They are economically very important to the North Cotswolds as they support a thriving quarrying industry; there are a dozen working quarries today but an enormous number of quarries closed last century.
When seawater is saturated with carbon dioxide, any process that extracts this gas from seawater eg. increase in temperature, evaporation, and photosynthesis, will convert the bicarbonate ion to calcium carbonate in the form of lime mud or oolite grains (Fig. 3). The oolitic limestone is one of the characterising features of these Middle Jurassic deposits. Each grain of oolite consists of concentric layers of calcite commonly centred on a sand grain or shell fragment (Fig. 3).



Fig. 3. Thin section of oolitic limestone from Stockbridge oil field showing pore spaces (black) in ooid and pores between ooids destroyed with secondary calcite cement

Today, such deposits are being laid down on Andros Island in the Bahamas. During Middle Jurassic (178-157 my), a ‘halo’ of such deposits existed around the London Platform (Fig. 5) and there was extensive drilling in the 1970’s by oil companies looking for hydrocarbons. Oil fields were discovered at Humbly Grove, Stockbridge and Horndean (Fig. 5) but they had very small reserves. We believe the oil was sourced by Liassic Claystones. With high crude prices, we see that oil rigs are returning to Dorset and Hampshire to hunt for hydrocarbons.





Fig.4. Middle Jurassic sedimentation. Note the ‘halo’ of oolitic limestone (dark blue) around the London-Brabant landmass (pink). Three oil fields were located in these oolitic limestones.


Jurassic Life
Shallow tropical seas supported big populations of molluscs, ammonites, belemnites, corals and algae. The land areas were clad with forests of conifers, gingkoes, palms, tree ferns and horsetails. A great variety of vertebrates existed on land and in the seas. These included small mammals, frogs, turtles, fish, gliding lizards, crocodiles (Fig. 5a), fish-like reptiles Plesiosaurus (Fig. 5c) and Ichthyosaurus (Fig. 5b), flying pterosaurus (fig. 5d), and the first feathered bird Archaeopteryx appeared in the Late Jurassic in Germany. These primitive birds probably evoloved from small theropod dinosaurs. Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs though they were closely related and they developed the ability to fly independently some 70 my before birds did. Complete vertebrate skeletons are seldom found, but rather an occasional bone or tooth. The first specimen of what turned out to be a dinosaur was collected by workmen in a quarry probably on Whitequarry Hill (Fig. 6) near Cornwell in 1676. This was sent to the Rev. Dr. Robert Plot (Fig.7) who identified it as the thighbone of a giant man! In 1763, Brooke named it Scrotum humanum for reasons that will be obvious. Not until 1841, did it become known that the specimen belonged to a new reptilian group of fossils that Owen (1842) called dinosaurs and the Cornwell specimen was referred to the carnivorous genus Megalosaurus (Fig. 5e).




Fig. 5. Fossil vertebrates found in quarries around Stow on the Wold.
a, Steneosaurus almost unchanged from the modern crocodile, 1 metre long. b,
Ichthyosaurus (= fish lizard) a sea going reptile with torpedo-shaped body and paddle-like limbs, up to 7 metres long. c, Plesiosaurus with long neck, small head, air-breathing nostrils and large paddle-shaped limbs, 2 metres long. d, Rhamphorhynchus a flying pterosaur with large head and eyes, long pointed jaws with forward directed teeth (? fish eater) and a wing span of 1.5 metres. e, Megalosaurus a bipedal carnivore with two powerful legs, toes with sharp claws, head large with strong jaws and dagger-shaped teeth, 9 metres long. f, Stegosaurus a quadrupedal herbivore with small head, two rows of bony plates on its back and armoured spikes on the tail, 9 metres long .g, Cetiosaurus the largest of the herbivorous British dinosaurs with long neck small head, 15 metres long, 24 tonne.

Two groups of dinosaurs distinguished on the shape of the hip girdle have been recognised in the Jurassic limestones around Stow on the Wold ( Fig.6). Firstly, the bird-hipped group called theropods which were mostly carnivorous and bipedal, with small three-toed birdlike feet with sharp claws.Their arms were small and the jaws had dagger-like teeth.. An exception was the quadruped herbivore Stegosaurus (Fig.5f) which had armour plates along its back. The second group,the sauropods had lizard-like hips, were mostly gigantic herbivorous quadrupeds, with small heads, long necks and tails eg. Cetiosaurus (Fig. 5g).





Fig. 6. Location of quarries yielding vertebrate fossils from Jurassic strata. 1 Fish Hill (C, M, P, S, St);2 Brick Pit east of Blockley (Pl); 3 New Park (C, M, S, St); 4 Oakham (C, M); 5 Eyeford (M, R); 6 Cornwell (M); 7 Workhouse (M); 8 Chapel House (C). Genera: C = Cetiosaurus; M = Megalosaurus; P = Pterosaurus; Pl = Plesiosaurus; R = Rhamphorynchus; S = Steneosaurus; St = Stegosaurus


Table 1. List of vertebrate finds in the Lower and Middle Jurassic of the North Cotswolds collected between the 1676 and 1992, together with sources of information.









Fig. 7. Rev. Dr. Robert Plot Professor of Chemistry and first Director of the Ashmolean Museum; below, the fossil leg bone from near Cornwell


Outside the North Cotswold area, dinosaur footprints were found in Ardley Quarry near Bicester in Oxfordshire and were described by Powell (2003). They comprise 30 to 40 tracks, some nearly 200 m long, belonging to Megalosaurus (Fig. 5e) and Cetiosaurus (Fig. 5g). Megalosaurus was a carnivore about 9 m long, 3m tall, weighing a tonne. It walked on two powerful legs and three toed feet with claws and measuring 80 cm long. Casts of these footprints have been permanently installed in the front lawn of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Cetiosaurus (whale-like lizard) was an herbivorous quadruped up to15 m long, 3 m tall, with a small head, a long neck, weighing 24 metric tonnes and was the largest British dinosaur (Fig. 5g). A specimen was found at Chapel House north of Chipping Norton in the mid 19th century but the location is not known precisely. These bones are housed in the University of Oxford Museum.
A recent find came from Daglingworth Quarry in the Central Cotswolds beside the A417, two miles north of Cirencester. Here a track of eight bipedal three toed footprints, without claw marks having an average length of 21 cm.These were discovered by students and featured in the Open University Geological Society Newsletter, November, issue 5-05, 2003. These are on display in the Visitors Car Park.

The last million years Above the Jurassic strata there is a very large gap in the geological succession due to erosion or non-deposition representing more than 150 my. The overlying Pleistocene (1.6 my to 10 000 y) deposits are those attributed to the Ice Age but throughout much of this time the Cotswolds lay to the south of the ice fields that sculpted Northern England. Only the Anglian Glaciation (430,000 - 480,000 BP) advanced as far as Moreton in Marsh leaving deposits of ‘Chalky Boulder Clay’. Beneath the boulder clay in the Chipping Campden area lie the meltwater deposits of the Paxford Gravels with mammoth bones and these are underlain by Stretton Sand containing straight-tusked elephant and red deer indicative of a temperate climate.
Gravel deposits of Recent age (10 000 y – today) are found in river terraces of the Thames, Severn, Evenlode and Windrush Rivers and these yeild mammoth, elephant, reindeer, woolly rhinoceros and hippopotamus bones and teeth. In the North Cotswolds, similar deposits in the Evenlode valley south southwest of Chadlington (SP330212) and around Bledington were worked for Second World War airfields and those near Little Rissington were worked for bulk aggregate where a mammoth tusk was discovered in 1973.


Stage Climate Age (yrs BP)* Deposits
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flandrian (Temperate) 5,000-10,000 Post-glacial rise in sea level
Devensian (Periglacial) 10,000-75,000 River terraces and Cheltenham Sand
Ipswichian (Temperate) 75,000-130,000 Raised beaches
Wolstonian (Glacial) 250,000-300,000 Glaciers in the Midlands
Hoxnian (Temperate) 300,000-430,000 5th/6th terrace on the Avon, Warwickshire
Anglian (Glacial)* 430,000-480,000 Chalky Boulder clay and Paxford Gravel,
Moreton in Marsh, clays of Lake Harrison in the Midlands
Cromerian (Temperate) 480,000-520,000
Beestonian (Cold) 520,000-600,000?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* yrs BP= years before present




Building Stones
Gloucestershire has a long history of building with stone that can be traced back to the Neolithic times (eg. Belas Knap 2800 BC) and a sarcophagus found near Burford and now in Burford Churchyard shows that Taynton stone was used by the Romans. Surprisingly little is known about provenance of the stone used for our older buildings because masons, with one or two notable exceptions, did not document this information. Ecclesiastical records are helpful in telling us where stone came from during the building of Oxford Colleges between the 14th and 19th centuries; indeed it was common practice for colleges to own quarries in the Cotswolds.
A geological map shows that between Notgrove in the south and Chipping Campden in the north, these uplands were carved out of the Lower Jurassic Marlstone Rock and the Middle Jurassic Inferior Oolite Limestone and the Great Oolite Limestone. This area contains working quarries at Brock Hill, Farmington, Fish Hill, Hornsleasow, Huntsman and Stanley ( these are not discussed) and disused ones at Bourton on the Hill, Bourton Hill (west of Bourton on the Water), Burford, Naunton, New Park, Tally Ho, Temple Guiting and Westington.
Modern equipment like JCBs and band saws enables quarrymen to extract stone without resorting to mining that involved building tunnels into the freestone layer. This practice developed during the 18th and 19th centuries because firstly, it got over the overburden problem that required the removal by hand of up to 20 feet of useless stone above the freestone; secondly, the best quality stone was always found under a cover of overburden which protected it from weathering. Such mines existed at Windrush (1893), Little Barrington, Taynton, Naunton, Bourton on the Hill, Bourton Hill, and Westington (ceased following a death in 1911). The last mine to close in Gloucestershire was Nailsworth in 1939. Due to documentation by Arkell (1946), we know more about the quarry stones in the Windrush Valley and east slopes of Deep Coombe valley than any other place in the Cotswolds. Dozens of Oxford colleges were built from quarries west of Burford namely, Windrush, Barrington, Taynton, Kit’s (near Burford) and Milton to the east of Taynton (see Arkell 1946, Fig. 27). A brief description of some of the stone and old quarries follows.

Marlstone Rock
When fresh, this Liassic stone is a cross-bedded, hard, massive, blue-green, shelly, ferruginous limestone that becomes rusty brown when weathered. In some areas, the iron content was sufficient to make it an iron ore (Banbury Ironstone) that was mined extensively around Hook Norton (1940s), west of Bloxham (1929-1941), south of Adderbury (1923) and between Hornton and Wroxton (1926-1967). Soils in this area are reddish brown hence the Banbury area was once called The Red Land District. In this part of Oxfordshire, it is called Hornton stone and was extensively used for building in north Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire villages between Hook Norton and Banbury. Records show that in that area Hornton stone has been worked since the 13th Century. Swalcliffe Barn (1400-1409) is the earliest example of use of this stone and Liverpool Cathedral illustrates how far afield it was transported. In the Chastleton area the unit is thin but a quarry in Peasewell Wood (SP248 287) provided stone for Chastleton House (1610) and the village by that name. It was also used in the village of Oddington. Occasionally, the stone is used in conjunction with pale coloured limestone to produce a polychromatic effect reminiscent of Byzantine buildings.





Fig. 8. Chastleton House (1610) where the walls are of Marlstone Rock and quoins and window dressings are of a lighter stone of unknown provenance.


Inferior Oolite Limestone
The town of Bourton on the Water was built largely of Inferior Oolite limestone from Bourton Hill (SP 157 197) to the southwest of the town. It was of considerable size in 1692 and was worked up till 1993. In many buildings in the town, one can recognise stone from the lower face of the quarry because it is characterised by disfiguring iron-stained plant rootlets (Fig.9 aligned at right angles to the bedding planes. A quarry existed on Bourton on the Hill (SP 170 326) in 1472 and held by Robert Stevens as tenant of the Abbot of Westminster. In 1763, it was operated by William Fecknam who supplied trustees of the Moreton Turnpike with road metal for the London-Worcester road. In 1853, Joseph Gill of Bourton on the Hill leased the quarry from Lord Redesdale and he and his two sons built a thriving business that had its heyday in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries with the building of most of the important buildings in Moreton in Marsh eg. St Davids Church (1859-67), Cottage Hospital (1873) and Redesdale Hall (1887). We also know that stone from Gill’s quarry was transported to Stow on the Wold and used in building the Brewery Office (Fig. 10) and possibly Barclay’s Bank, Enochs Tower and the shaft of The Cross in the Market Square.




Fig. 9. left. Quarry face in Bourton Hill Quarry in 1993, note limestone beds in lowest two metres of face are rich in plant rootlets; bottom right, shows disfiguring iron stained rootlets on wall of Chestnut Gallery, Bourton on the Water; centre right, a wall in Shepherds Row, Stow on the Wold with blocks of recycled Bourton stone.






Fig.10. Brewery Office (1869) in Stow on the Wold. Inferior Oolite stone from Bourton on the Hill (Walker, 2000) was used for quoins, lintels and window dressings ; grey and white flints form the chequered pattern.


During the first decade of the 20th century, Bourton on the Hill quarry employed 30 men including three banker masons. The best freestone came from three tunnels into the Yellow Bed that was 2 metres thick, massive, fine-medium grained oolitic limestone. The worked face was 8 metres high when it closed in 1915 at the outbreak of the First World War.
Westington stone from Westington Hill (SP142 368) sourced the building of Chipping Campden, Broadway and probably Blockley. The earliest record of this quarry is 1630 (fide Warmington 2006) but it is almost certain that Grevels House in the High Street built in the 1400s used this stone and Sir Baptist Hicks used it to build the Almshouses in Chipping Campden in 1612. The latter was in the vernacular style and was considered to be the crowning achievement of the Domestic Cotswold Style. We also know that the stone was also used to build St Mary’s Church in Warwick. According to Howe (1910), the quarry had a working face about 6 metres high and the best freestone, the so-called Yellow Bed, was 2 metres thick at the deepest part of the quarry. This was mined in tunnels that extended as far as 225 metres under the hill. Mining ceased in 1911 with the death of George Trapp and the operation closed at the outbreak of the First World War. In 1932, James Strange (electrical contractor) installed a new saw for the owner who was a monumental mason. Upon the mason’s inability to pay for this work, he sold the quarry and the equipment to Strange for £200 and this family continued the business until 1976 (fide Paul Tritton, 2006). The Tally Ho Quarry (= Stone Pipe Quarry) west of the Fox Inn in Guiting Power was involved in a failed venture making stone pipes for Manchester Water Works around 1812. This quarry in Inferior Oolite Limestone provided blocks of stone that were carted downhill to the wooded area adjacent to Engine Cottages (SP 093 236) which in 1810 was the headquarters of the company. Interestingly, the Stone Pipe Company had the same board of directors as did the Manchester Water Works. Blocks of limestone were sawn into hexagonal lengths, probably less than a metre long, and a square hole was chiselled into the end that received the chuck (Fig.11 left) so that it could be turned on a lathe driven by the Boulton and Watt steam engine. Spring water was delivered from a source on Cloud Hill by way of a stone culvert. These stone cylinders were converted into pipes by drilling down the centre and from the waste specimens seen in this wood (Fig. 11 right) it seems that the pipes varied in diameter from 12 cm-45 cm. According to Bick’s (1970) account of this Regency fraud, the Stone Pipe Company provided sixty miles of eighteen inch pipe that were laid by Manchester Water Works without any testing being performed. When tests eventually took place the pipes proved utterly incapable of maintaining pressure and had to be replaced with cast iron pipes but not before the Stone Pipe Company received payment of £36,984. In today’s money that would be equivalent to £3 million. The venture collapsed due to the fact that firstly, the government of the day refused to build the railway branch line from Cheltenham to Guiting Power and secondly, the stone pipes were made of limestone with porosity around 20 percent.






Fig. 11. Left: This fireplace in Tally Ho Farm House displays cylinders of limestone in various stages of conversion to pipes. Right: A broken 25 cm diameter pipe in field wall adjacent Engine Cottages, Guiting Power.

Great Oolite Limestone
Taynton stone came from a complex of quarries in the Great Oolite on the east bank of Coombe Brook These comprise Leper’s Quarry (named for Thomas Leper of Burford during the 16th century); Pittaway’s Quarry where seven generations of stone cutters worked (one descendant was the master mason for Liverpool Cathedral in 1945); Lee’s Quarry named after Philip Lee of Taynton was worked for the New Bodlean, Oxford; and Rally Quarry (probable source of stone for Blenheim Palace).Taynton Quarry was first mentioned in 1086 and was productive in every century till it was closed in 1968. These quarries were widely used for Oxford colleges, London churches, St Paul’s Cathedral,Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace. It was under the ownership of four generations of the Strong family between 1632-
1741. Christopher Wren brought Thomas Strong (1632-81) to London to rebuild St Stephen Walbrook Church and this work led to Wren giving him the privilege of laying the foundation stone for the new St Paul’s Cathedral in preference to the royal mason Joshua Marshall. Six years later, Thomas died and the business passed to his brother Edward (1652-1723) then 30 years old. Edward became one of Wren’s favourite masons (others being Ephraim Beauchamp of Burford and Christopher Kempster who is buried in the south trancept of Burford Church) and was responsible for rebuilding several London churches; his son Edward (1674-1741) completed the rebuild of St Paul’s in 1708. Taynton stone was probably the best stone to come out of the area and records state that the best stratum was seven feet thick and devoid of joints. Plot (1676) records that one of the largest objects to come out of this quarry was a mashtun measuring “ 2⅛ yd x 1⅛ yd x 1½ yd” that required a team of twenty one horses to move it to Shipton under Wychwood.
Burford stone came from Kit’s Quarry (= Upton Quarry or Whiteladies Quarry) that was first referred to in 1441 records of the building of Old Souls, Oxford. It was worked by three generations of Kempster’s starting with John, passing down to son Christopher (Kit) (1627-1715) whom Thomas Strong employed as an assistant to work on Wren’s churches including 17 years on St Paul’s.He was finally, succeeded by his son William (1651-1718) who also became a master mason. Much of Burford town (Fig. 13) is built of stone from Kit’s Quarry and typically is greyish cream in colour. West of Burford, quarries also existed at Windrush (1478-1910), Little Barrington (1396-1804) and Sherbourne (1365-1915). Arkell (1946) documented these and showed them to lie in the Chipping Norton Limestone Member of the Great Oolite Limestone Group. Milton stone came from the Milton Quarries (1307-1910) situated on Milton Downs 2 km east of Taynton Quarries. This stone was never in the same league as Taynton stone yet they are of the same stratigraphical level. It was used during the 15th century in St Georges Chapel, Windsor but was not a success. In the latter part of the 19th century it was again used for the Gothic Revival in Oxford eg. the Pricipal’s Lodging at Jesus College (1884), Mansfield College (1889), Indian Institute (1895) and St Giles (1880-1890) thus repeating the mistakes of four hundred years earlier. Even so, it was worked by generations of the Grove family for four hundred years (see Frost 1992; 1993).

Acknowledgements
The author wishes to express his gratitude to: Mrs Vera Burke who supplied details of dinosaur finds in New Park Quarry ; Mr J. Stafford for allowing me to photograph his fireplace in Tally Ho Farm House; Angela Smith of the City of Gloucester Museum for providing an image of a Plesiosaurus from Blockley clay pits; and Professor Hugh Torrens for information on William Smith.

References
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Reynolds, S. H. 1936. Fossil reptiles of Gloucestershire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvi (1), 51-65.
Ditto. 1939. On a collection of reptilian bones from the Oolite of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. Geological Magazine lxxvi, 193-214.
Richardson, L. 1911. The Inferior Oolite and contiguous deposits of Chipping Norton District, Oxfordshire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvii, 159.
ditto 1929. Geology of the country around Moreton in Marsh. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Gt. Britain.
Savage, R.J.G. 1963. The Witts Collection of Stonesfield Slate fossils. Proeedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, 53, 177-182.
Turner, Joanna. 1988. Quarries and craftsmen of the Windrush Valley. Burford and District Society, 36 pp.
Walker, J. 2000. The Stow Brewery in Stow on the Wold: Glimpses of the Past. Stow on the Wold and District Civic Society, edited by V. Clapham, 62- 66. Stoate & Bishop Ltd.
References
Arkell, W. J. 1946. Oxford Stone. Faber and Faber, 185 pp.
Bick, D.1970. An Incredidible Georgian Fraud. Cotswold Life, December, 10-12.
Cripps, Ann. 1966.Cotswold Stone of the Burford Area. Tolsey Museum Burford.
Frost, N. 1992. The Grove family of Milton, Cotswold Stonemasons for 400 years, Part 1. The Journal of the Wychwood Local History Society, 10-28.
Ditto. 1993. Part 2. loc.cit., 27-48.
Galton, P. M. and Knoll,F. 2006. A saurischian dinosaur braincase from Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) near Oxford; from the theropod Megalosaurus or the sauropod Cetiosaurus? Geological Magazine 143 (6), 905-921.
Hadfield, C., and Hadfield, A.1973.The Cotswolds-a new study. David and Charles.
Horton, A., Poole, E. G., Williams, B. J., Illing, V. C., and Hobson, G. D. 1987. Geology of the country around Chipping Norton. Memoir, Sheet 218, British Geological Survey.
Jackson, D. 2008.Geology and building stones of the area around Stow on the Wold. Stow Times issue 48/9, Jan / Feb.
Metcalf, S. J., Vaughan, R. F., Benton M. J., Cole, J., Simms, M. J., and Dartnall, D. L. 1992. A new Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) microvertebrate site, within the Chipping Norton Limestone Formation at Hornsleasow Quarry, Gloucestershire. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 103, 321-342.
Owen, Richard, 1842.Report on British Fossil Reptiles, Part 11. Report of the British Association for the advancement of Science, Plymouth, England.
Powell, P. 2003. Report on a visit to Kidlington and Ardley Quarries. Open University Geological Society Oxford Branch Newsletter, November, issue 5-03.
Reynolds, S. H. 1936. Fossil reptiles of Gloucestershire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvi (1), 51-65.
Ditto. 1939. On a collection of reptilian bones from the Oolite of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. Geological Magazine lxxvi, 193-214.
Richardson, L. 1911. The Inferior Oolite and contiguous deposits of Chipping Norton District, Oxfordshire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvii, 159.
ditto 1929. Geology of the country around Moreton in Marsh. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Gt. Britain.
Savage, R.J.G. 1963. The Witts Collection of Stonesfield Slate fossils. Proeedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, 53, 177-182.
Turner, Joanna. 1988. Quarries and craftsmen of the Windrush Valley. Burford and District Society, 36 pp.
Walker, J. 2000. The Stow Brewery in Stow on the Wold: Glimpses of the Past. Stow on the Wold and District Civic Society, edited by V. Clapham, 62- 66. Stoate & Bishop Ltd.
References
Arkell, W. J. 1946. Oxford Stone. Faber and Faber, 185 pp.
Bick, D.1970. An Incredidible Georgian Fraud. Cotswold Life, December, 10-12.
Cripps, Ann. 1966.Cotswold Stone of the Burford Area. Tolsey Museum Burford.
Frost, N. 1992. The Grove family of Milton, Cotswold Stonemasons for 400 years, Part 1. The Journal of the Wychwood Local History Society, 10-28.
Ditto. 1993. Part 2. loc.cit., 27-48.
Galton, P. M. and Knoll,F. 2006. A saurischian dinosaur braincase from Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) near Oxford; from the theropod Megalosaurus or the sauropod Cetiosaurus? Geological Magazine 143 (6), 905-921.
Hadfield, C., and Hadfield, A.1973.The Cotswolds-a new study. David and Charles.
Horton, A., Poole, E. G., Williams, B. J., Illing, V. C., and Hobson, G. D. 1987. Geology of the country around Chipping Norton. Memoir, Sheet 218, British Geological Survey.
Jackson, D. 2008.Geology and building stones of the area around Stow on the Wold. Stow Times issue 48/9, Jan / Feb.
Metcalf, S. J., Vaughan, R. F., Benton M. J., Cole, J., Simms, M. J., and Dartnall, D. L. 1992. A new Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) microvertebrate site, within the Chipping Norton Limestone Formation at Hornsleasow Quarry, Gloucestershire. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 103, 321-342.
Owen, Richard, 1842.Report on British Fossil Reptiles, Part 11. Report of the British Association for the advancement of Science, Plymouth, England.
Powell, P. 2003. Report on a visit to Kidlington and Ardley Quarries. Open University Geological Society Oxford Branch Newsletter, November, issue 5-03.
Reynolds, S. H. 1936. Fossil reptiles of Gloucestershire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvi (1), 51-65.
Ditto. 1939. On a collection of reptilian bones from the Oolite of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. Geological Magazine lxxvi, 193-214.
Richardson, L. 1911. The Inferior Oolite and contiguous deposits of Chipping Norton District, Oxfordshire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvii, 159.
ditto 1929. Geology of the country around Moreton in Marsh. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Gt. Britain.
Savage, R.J.G. 1963. The Witts Collection of Stonesfield Slate fossils. Proeedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, 53, 177-182.
Turner, Joanna. 1988. Quarries and craftsmen of the Windrush Valley. Burford and District Society, 36 pp.
Walker, J. 2000. The Stow Brewery in Stow on the Wold: Glimpses of the Past. Stow on the Wold and District Civic Society, edited by V. Clapham, 62- 66. Stoate & Bishop Ltd.
References
Arkell, W. J. 1946. Oxford Stone. Faber and Faber, 185 pp.
Bick, D.1970. An Incredidible Georgian Fraud. Cotswold Life, December, 10-12.
Cripps, Ann. 1966.Cotswold Stone of the Burford Area. Tolsey Museum Burford.
Frost, N. 1992. The Grove family of Milton, Cotswold Stonemasons for 400 years, Part 1. The Journal of the Wychwood Local History Society, 10-28.
Ditto. 1993. Part 2. loc.cit., 27-48.
Galton, P. M. and Knoll,F. 2006. A saurischian dinosaur braincase from Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) near Oxford; from the theropod Megalosaurus or the sauropod Cetiosaurus? Geological Magazine 143 (6), 905-921.
Hadfield, C., and Hadfield, A.1973.The Cotswolds-a new study. David and Charles.
Horton, A., Poole, E. G., Williams, B. J., Illing, V. C., and Hobson, G. D. 1987. Geology of the country around Chipping Norton. Memoir, Sheet 218, British Geological Survey.
Jackson, D. 2008.Geology and building stones of the area around Stow on the Wold. Stow Times issue 48/9, Jan / Feb.
Metcalf, S. J., Vaughan, R. F., Benton M. J., Cole, J., Simms, M. J., and Dartnall, D. L. 1992. A new Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) microvertebrate site, within the Chipping Norton Limestone Formation at Hornsleasow Quarry, Gloucestershire. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 103, 321-342.
Owen, Richard, 1842.Report on British Fossil Reptiles, Part 11. Report of the British Association for the advancement of Science, Plymouth, England.
Powell, P. 2003. Report on a visit to Kidlington and Ardley Quarries. Open University Geological Society Oxford Branch Newsletter, November, issue 5-03.
Reynolds, S. H. 1936. Fossil reptiles of Gloucestershire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvi (1), 51-65.
Ditto. 1939. On a collection of reptilian bones from the Oolite of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. Geological Magazine lxxvi, 193-214.
Richardson, L. 1911. The Inferior Oolite and contiguous deposits of Chipping Norton District, Oxfordshire. Proceedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, xvii, 159.
ditto 1929. Geology of the country around Moreton in Marsh. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Gt. Britain.
Savage, R.J.G. 1963. The Witts Collection of Stonesfield Slate fossils. Proeedings Cotteswold Naturalist Field Club, 53, 177-182.
Turner, Joanna. 1988. Quarries and craftsmen of the Windrush Valley. Burford and District Society, 36 pp.
Walker, J. 2000. The Stow Brewery in Stow on the Wold: Glimpses of the Past. Stow on the Wold and District Civic Society, edited by V. Clapham, 62- 66. Stoate & Bishop Ltd.
Woodward, A. and Smith, A. 1915. On the skull of Megalosaurus from the Great Oolite of Minchinhampton (Gloucestershire).Quarterly Journal Geological Society London, lxvi, 111.


This document is dated: 30th November, 2008

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.