3.1 Places of Origin.
As described in 1.4 above, there are good geological reasons for believing that even when historical documents use the term 'Reigate Stone' generically (see 1.3 above), they are still referring to material which was quarried between Brockham in the west and Godstone in the east. Between these two places the Upper Greensand outcrop passes from west to east through the parishes of Betchworth, Buckland, Reigate, Gatton, Merstham, Chaldon, and Bletchingley. Documents of various dates can be found which refer to quarrying in each of these parishes. In medieval documents the most common reference is to Reigate, with Merstham probably the second most common.
There are two main reasons why 'Reigate' may have been used generically. One is that Reigate is also the name of the Hundred which includes all of the parishes from Betchworth to Merstham (VCH,iii,p165). Rarely are documents as specific as the 1218 charter (see 2.1 above) which mentions the "vill of Reigate"; most could be read as referring to the vill, the parish or the hundred. The second is that "Reigate had a key role as [a] collecting and carriage point  in Surrey" (Kendall,2000,p262) during the medieval and post-medieval periods. Hence the recipients might have given the stone the appellation 'Reigate' in recognition of where it came from rather than where it was quarried.
Despite this imprecision in early documents, the locations of forty-nine entrances to underground Reigate Stone quarries have been identified - see Fig. 8 - using techniques mentioned in 2.1 above. Documentary evidence was most important in locating entrances west of Gatton, where the quarries marked are mainly 19th century. East of Gatton, most of the evidence has come directly from abandoned quarries which have been reopened by cavers in the last thirty years or so. Of particular note is the area now cut through by the M23/25 junction where recent underground survey has shown that all the quarries intersect below ground producing "an area of land from 100 to 300 metres wide by 3 kilometres long" (Bayley,1986,pl) that has been completely undermined. This contiguous series of quarries "total some 16 kilometres of accessible tunnel" (Sowan,1999,p7). The creation of 'tunnels' comes about because of the backfilling of worked out areas with waste stone - see 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 above. Similarly, a number of quarries with different entrances have been shown to intersect below ground at Godstone.
Fig 8 also shows the narrowness of the Upper Greensand outcrop which has been quarried for Reigate Stone and how this outcrop relates to the various parish boundaries. (Strictly these are the pre-1905 boundaries as shown on maps at the end of VCH,ii; some have since changed.) The relationship between the Chaldon parish boundary and the quarries is remarkable. The VCH (iv,p188) observes that "Chaldon forms an exception to the almost universal rule that in a parish which has part of its lands on the chalk and part on the next strata the church and the manor-house are on the land next the chalk. But in this case Chaldon extends a very little way beyond the chalk, and only crosses the narrow Upper Greensand by a few yards." It is tempting to believe that this is not mere chance but rather reflects the importance attached to the Upper Greensand when those boundaries were established.
The other point to note is that all but the extreme southeast corner of the quarriable area of Chaldon parish is included in the 16 km of underground tunnels mentioned above. Hence, there can be little doubt that the fourteenth century quarries of which John and Philip Prophet were masters (see 2.3 above) are in fact part of this series of contiguous quarries, even though it has not been possible to identify precisely which part(s) or which entrance(s) the Prophet's were responsible for.
Fig 8* (facing page) also shows that, in the west, land which is now part of Brockham civil parish was formerly split between Dorking Rural and Betchworth parishes. In the east, the entrances to many Godstone quarries are so close to the parish boundary that some of them penetrated underground northwards into Caterham parish and a detached part of Tandridge parish.
3.2 Places of Use.
Reigate Stone is recorded as having been used in over one hundred and eighty buildings - see Appendix 1. These are mainly ecclesiastical buildings, including parish churches as well as cathedrals and monasteries, and major royal buildings, such as castles and palaces. They are widely distributed throughout south-east England - see Fig 9 (facing page 10). Reigate Stone was also used within the quarrying areas in many more humble domestic and agricultural buildings which are unrecorded.
These records derive from two main sources: fieldwork, such as standing building surveys and archaeological excavations; and from historical documents, mainly in the form of building accounts. Major records of the first type include the RCHM(E) Inventories; Colvin's History of the King's Works is rich in references to records of the second type.
*(after Sowan,1975,p572 & Ockenden,1981,p33)
A factor to be taken into account when using sources based ultimately on fieldwork is the ability of the fieldworkers to identify Reigate Stone accurately. In general, it is probably reasonable to expect reputable sources, such as RCHM(E), to have correctly differentiated between stone from the Upper Greensand and that from the Lower Greensand. The essential difference has been well expressed by O'Neill (1965,p14):-
"The name I Greensand' was originally given to certain strata in the Lower Greensand sequence of southern England, from the occurrence of glauconite in some of the beds. The name was badly chosen, for green sand rarely occurs in this geological formation. However, large quantities of glauconite commonly impart a green tint to sandstones of the Upper Greensand formation. From that formation came the renowned Merstham, Gatton and Reigate Stones."
The most common building stone in the London area from the Lower Greensand is 'Kentish Rag', the roughness and hardness of which make it distinguishable from Reigate Stone (Westman,1994,3.3.4). However, differentiating between Reigate Stone which came from between Brockham and Godstone and other stone from the Upper Greensand can be more difficult, even with the benefit of petrological analysis (see 1.4 & 2.3 above). Fortunately, consideration of geological factors allows us to be confident that most of the Reigate Stone from sites shown on Fig 9 did indeed come from this limited area. In Kent "the true Upper Greensand only commences in the extreme west of the county" and even then there are "no good sections of these beds till we come to Godstone" (Jukes-Browne,1900,pp91&97). West of Brockham there is no record of quarrying of the Upper Greensand until Farnham in Hampshire is reached. Here, and at Selborne, and eastwards into Sussex what is known as 'Malmstone' was quarried, apparently from "as far back as Roman times, for it has been used in the Roman villa at Bignor" (ibid.p421). Malmstone is described as having a "light-coloured chalky aspect" (ibid.p102) but this may not be easy to distinguish from "light grey-green" Reigate Stone (Westman,1994,3.3.4) in the case of a weathered specimen in a standing building or a small 'hand-specimen' on an archaeological site. However, malmstone appears only to have been quarried from small, open-pit, workings, mainly for local use. Taking transport and accessibility into account, the only sites shown on Fig 9 where local malmstone may have been confused with 'true' Reigate Stone are possibly one or two on the south coast.
Any slight element of doubt as to the provenance of building stones is mitigated further where there are historical records which refer to those stones. We can be sure that when contemporary building accounts refer to the purchase of Reigate Stone they certainly mean something quarried between Brockham and Godstone - see 3.1 above. In Fig 9 Hertford Castle is one of the most northerly sites. Stone from Merstham is recorded as having been used there in 1463 (Colvin,ii,p680). At Windsor, in the west, quantities of Reigate Stone are recorded as having been used after 1350 (ibid.p881). In the east there are fourteenth century royal records of use of Reigate Stone at Hadleigh Castle in Essex (ibid.p663) and at Queenborough and Leeds Castles in Kent (ibid.pp794&697).
Further east, at Canterbury Cathedral, as well as archaeological accounts of the use of Reigate Stone there are also contemporary records of its purchase, thus: "... the account roll for 1427 ... include[s] the buying of large quantities of Reigate and Caen stone ... " (Blockley et al, 1997, p138). In the south, where many Surrey churches are recorded as containing Reigate Stone, their proximity to the quarrying area means that documentary evidence of the sources of the stone are unnecessary.
3.3 Means of Transportation.
3.3.1 Water Transport.
Until very recently water transport was the preferred means of moving heavy materials such as building stone. Indeed, Clifton Taylor has gone further and suggests that "for longer distances, before the days of mechanical transport, access to navigable water was essential. Flat-bottomed boats which could operate in shallow water were indispensable, and vast quantities of building stone were carried in this fashion, sometimes over very long distances" (Clifton-Taylor&Ireson,1983,p71).
Water transport was certainly used for the distribution of Reigate Stone. A gazetteer in The Archaeology of Greater London identifies a "wharf for Reigate (&c) stone 1218-1352+" located at "York Place, Battersea - NGR 526550 175900" (Kendal,2000,p253). Stone was carried from here to Waltham Abbey, Westminster Abbey and Palace, and Windsor and Rochester Castles (Tatton- Brown, 2000,p160).
In the mid-fourteenth century the cost of "carriage of [63 cart-loads] from Battersea to Westminster by water [was] 7s10½d" (Scott,1863,p256). In 1365, during the rebuilding of Hadleigh Castle, "8 cartloads of the stone of the quarry of 'Reygate' were put 'in a ship at Baterseye' for 18d" (Essex Arch.Soc.Trans. (N.S. Vol. I) quoted in Taylor, 1926,p45).
Since stone was carried to Waltham Abbey up the River Lea, it could doubtless have also been carried to the navigable head of that river at Hertford for building the castle there. Hertford Castle is one of the most northerly sites at which Reigate Stone is known to have been used. Since Reigate Stone was taken to Rochester and Hadleigh Castles by water, there is no reason to doubt that it could also have been taken to many other sites in Kent and Essex by similar routes. Even Canterbury, over 5km from the nearest coast, was served by a river port at Fordwich on the River Stour in the Saxon and Medieval periods.
Battersea was not the sole wharf used for transporting Reigate Stone. There are records of Kingston also being used for transhipping Reigate Stone bound for Windsor in 1350s (VCH,ii,p278) and in the early sixteenth century it was being taken to a quay at Vauxhall for onward transport to the Savoy Hospital (Colvin,iii,p203). All of these places are on the south bank of the Thames and stone was taken to them overland by cart - see 3.3.2 below. There appear to have been few opportunities to use water transport for this earlier part of the journey, although the possibility that the River Mole was used has been put forward - de Domingo,1994,p240. With the notable exception of St Mary's, Stoke D'Abernon, there is nothing in the distribution of buildings which used Reigate Stone - see Fig 9 - to support this view. Whilst not rejecting the possible use of the Mole entirely, Turner (1995,p285) questions it on a number of grounds: he says that it "is an erratic stream ... [which] ... supported many mills and fish weirs", it "is about two miles [c.3 km] from the closest possible medieval quarry sites" (Brockham is first known to have been quarried in the 19th century), furthermore the eastern end of the quarrying area is closer to the R.Darent.
The suitability of the Darent itself could, however, be questioned: if the Mole is an 'erratic stream' then the Darent is just a trickle in its upper reaches. And, perhaps most tellingly, all of the documentary evidence relates to the use of carts to bring Reigate Stone from the quarries to the banks of the Thames.
3.3.2 Road Transport.
The western and eastern limits to the Reigate Stone quarrying area are dictated by geological factors - see 1.4 above. However, these limits are also close to where major Roman roads crossed the Upper Greensand. At the western end, about 1.5km west of Brockham, Stane Street (designated route 15 in Margery,1973,pp64-8) passed through the Mole Gap at Burford Bridge. "Traces of the road were found on both banks of the River Mole close to [Burford] bridge during road alterations" (ibid.p65). At the eastern end, the Roman road from Brighton to London (Margery route 150) came even closer to the quarrying area, passing directly over quarries at Godstone. The routes of these two roads followed into London are shown in Fig 10:
Between Burford Bridge and Godstone runs an even older track, the North Downs Ridgeway. This is sometimes called the 'Pilgrims' Way', a name which seems to have been coined in the 1860s by an Ordnance Survey officer (Curtis,1992p20). It is "in part a ridgeway, but is also, for long distances, to be found as a terrace way near the foot of the steep escarpment, and in some parts, both forms occur together as alternative ways" (Margery,1948,p260) - see Fig 11. "The steepness of Box Hill made the terrace way alone practicable at first, but from Betchworth to Reigate the ridgeway again appears too, and is, indeed, the principal route in this section, although a terrace way is traceable onwards to Reigate and Gatton where the two unite. The ridgeway continues past Merstham Church, on a course now largely obliterated although ascertained, then climbs north-eastward to another ridge forming the main chalk escarpment near Aldersted, and follows this as a typical ridgeway to Whitehill, Caterham, where it resumes the terrace form, although at a high level on the steep escarpment, on to Godstone Hill" (ibid.,p261). Hence, all of the known locations of Reigate Stone quarries (see Fig 8) are never more than a few hundred metres from the route of the North Downs Ridgeway; often they are much closer, especially where it is a terraceway.
In the early Saxon period, "Stane Street ... does not appear to have gone out of use" (Myres,1989,p138). It, with route 150 and the North Downs Ridgeway, also appear to have been the core of the medieval road system - see Fig 12. It therefore seems highly likely that these routes played a major part in the transportation of Reigate Stone from the quarries to the River Thames.
These major roads were also supplemented by other local routes. The charter of 1218 quoted in 2.1 above specifically mentions "the road to Walton on the Hill". This has been interpreted as "the modern A.217" (Ransford,1989,p431) and probably formed part of an old route from Reigate to London via Sutton or Croydon. That these continued to be the main routes from Reigate to London until at least the seventeenth/eighteenth century can be seen from Fig 13. This undated map was included at the front of Aubrey's Natural History... and must therefore date from before 1718.
Of particular note on this map is the absence of a road through the Merstham Gap. This is now used by the A23, M23, and local and express railway lines. However the first engineered transport route through this gap was the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Railway in 1805 - see 3.3.3 below. It was not until "1807 [that] the high road to Croydon was improved by Act of Parliament ... This road, new for a great part of its course, avoided the steep hill into Reigate, which was descended by the Reigate and Sutton road" (VCH,iii,p214). This new road was, of course, a toll road.
There appears to be little or no evidence of the nature of the carts used for transporting Reigate Stone, however it seems likely that they could have been quite small vehicles, perhaps pulled by a single ox or horse. This is based on inferences drawn from the Fabric Roll of 1253 relating to works on Westminster Abbey. This gives details of material purchases for 33 consecutive weeks. Reigate Stone was purchased every week. Only once did the quantity bought exceed half a ton, and then only by 3 qtrs. The average purchase was only 5cwt 1qtr. In volume terms this is less than 6 cu ft of Reigate Stone. Hence it would seem that quite small carts could have been used, although they would have been in more or less continuous operation. (Based on transcription in Scott, 1863,pp239-250).
The various historical accounts are more informative about the cost of cartage. A few examples will suffice: in the 1350s the cost of cartage to either Kingston or Battersea was about 1s a load (VCH,ii,p277); in 1461 it cost 3s to cart a load to Bridge House in Southwark. To put this last figure into context, the cost of the stone at the quarry at Merstham had been 20d a load - the carriage had added 180% to the original cost of the stone! (Harding&Wright,1995,p126). The London Bridge accounts also occasionally (e.g.ibid.p222) show the quarrymaster being paid to carry "stone half way from the quarry" and someone else being paid for the second half of the journey. Unfortunately they do not specify where 'half way' is; knowing this might have helped pin- point the precise route taken.
The total amount of Reigate Stone carried over the roads was considerable. In the six years from 1351 to 1356 over 1750 loads were sent to Windsor Castle, via Kingston, alone (VCH,ii,p277). This amounts to about one load per day, Sundays excluded.
3.3.3 Rail Transport
Nineteenth century technological developments provided new ways of distributing Reigate Stone. In 1803 the world's first public railway - the Surrey Iron Railway (SIR) - was opened from the bank of the River Thames at Wandsworth to Croydon. In 1805 an extension - the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Railway (CMGR) - was opened to a terminus at the Reigate Stone quarry at Quarry Dean, Merstham NGR TQ298539 (Osborne,1982,pp74&85-7).
These were horse-drawn plate railways, i.e. the rails were L-shaped lengths of iron in which the vertical arm of the L acted as a flange whilst the rims of the wagon wheels were flat, like normal wagon wheels (cf. 'conventional' railways in which the rails are flat and the wheels are flanged). Individual rails were c.1m long and were fixed with metal spikes to square sleepers made of Reigate Stone. Reconstructions of short lengths of the CMGR can be seen near Merstham and examples of the Reigate Stone sleepers of the SIR are displayed near its Wandsworth terminus, in a wall around Young's Brewery. Reigate Stone was also used to build the CMGR toll house which still stands north of Merstham village and just east of the A23.
The SIR and CMGR were 'public' in the sense that any carriers could use their own horse-drawn wagons (provided that they were of the right gauge to fit on the rails) to transport freight along the railway on payment of a toll. In practice the major users were the owners of businesses along the route of the railway who were also often its shareholders. Amongst the shareholders of the CMGR were members of the Jolliffe family, Lords of the Manor at Merstham and owners of Reigate Stone quarries there.
The original plan was to extend the CMGR to both Godstone (as its name implies) and Reigate; both areas in which Reigate Stone was quarried at that time. Neither extension was built (Osborne,1982,pp85&87). However, within a few decades conventional steam railways provided this part of Surrey with an even more efficient means of transport. In 1841 the main London to Brighton line opened through Merstham. Other lines which took the railways through Godstone in the east and to Reigate, Betchworth and beyond in the west followed in the next few years. The horse-drawn CMGR closed in 1843, and the SIR a year later.
The 1868 OS map shows that the Reigate Stone quarries at Merstham were then connected to the Brighton mainline by a standard gauge spur which ran from the quarry entrance at NGR TQ294539. However, in 1899-1900 a second main line to Brighton was built which severed this connection and "the stone quarry... appears to have ceased production altogether at about this time" (Sowan in Osborne, 1982,p87). Although these railways had the potential to distribute Reigate Stone more widely, what they actually did was provide the means by which better quality stones and other building materials were brought into London, and south-east England generally, at competitive prices.
4. Use in Buildings
4.1 What it was Used For.
4.1.1 Building Stone.
One of the uses of Reigate Stone was as a general, bulk, building material for constructing the walls of buildings. It was used in both ashlar and rubble forms. The ashlar sometimes had completely smooth and even faces and square edges, on other occasions the outside face was tooled to a rustic finish. When unsquared rubble was used it might be laid in even courses or it might be laid ‘uncoursed’. More than one form could be employed in a single building; for example Plate 14 shows a building which has a badly weathered ashlared bay to the front and an uncoursed rubble semi-basement and side elevation.
An indication of the extent to which Reigate stone was used for ‘bulk’ building purposes can be gleaned from the NMR/RCHME records. Although these and other sources identify over 180 buildings in which Reigate Stone has been used, the NMR Listed Buildings Database contains only 34 buildings in which it is the main material; i.e. in over 80% of cases it is not the main material. Of the 34 buildings where it is the main material just over half are in the quarrying parishes. Inclusion of unlisted or unrecorded domestic and farm buildings which used Reigate Stone might alter the precise details, particularly in the quarrying areas. However, in general terms, it seems reasonable to suggest from the above that Reigate Stone was not commonly used as a bulk building material beyond the immediate vicinity of the quarries.
By far the most widespread use of Reigate Stone was as dressings of various types; i.e. as:- “stones used about an angle, widow, or other feature [which have been] worked to a finished face, whether smooth, tooled in various ways, moulded or sculptured” (RCHME,1937,p140).
The simplest, and most common, form of dressing is the quoin. This is, in essence, just ashlared stones, smooth or tooled, used at the angle of a building (ibid.). Reigate Stone, and other freestones, were often used for these angles where the main walling material was of less easily carved material, such as, say, ragstone or flint rubble, and which therefore could not readily be formed into sharp, right-angular corners. Stone quoins were also sometimes used, mainly for aesthetic effect, even when the walls were built of more tractable materials such as brick.
Where freestone dressings surround doors and windows they are often carved into ornamental shapes or mouldings. The term ‘beckets’ is sometimes used in medieval documents to describe “the carved bosses at the end of a hood-mold, on either side of a door” and there are records of “bekettes” of Reigate Stone being in store at Westminster in 1444 (Salzman,1967,pl13). When used for the tracery within windows, as well as the surround, the complexity of the carving demands stone that is very easily worked. A good, if now much weathered, example of such carving in Reigate stone can be seen in the tracery of the rose window at Winchester Palace - see Plate 15.
Rose Window - Winchester Palace
Other examples of the interface between the strictly structural and the purely decorative use of Reigate Stone include its use for vaulting ribs and mantelpieces. “486 cartloads of Reigate stone” are recorded as having been used for vaulting at Windsor in 1363 and in 1480 “21 brick fireplaces in the vicars’ lodging [at Windsor] were supplied with ‘mantell, jamys and bordurs’ Reigate stone” (Salzman,1967,pl16 & p102).
Although only a small proportion of the total amount of Reigate Stone used in buildings was used for carving statues and other purely decorative purposes, such usage is important because of the size of the stones used and the high status afforded to such work. An example of the size of stones used for statues is given by the record of “a great piece of Reigate stone, 10 ft. long, for making an image” which was bought for 6s. in 1333 for use in St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster (Salzman,1967,p130).
Other supplies of “great stones for images” of similar date are also known (ibid.). These particular stones were probably those placed “somewhere on th[e] eastern facade - perhaps in the spandrels on either side of the window-arch ... [and were carved into] statues representing the legend of St. Edward and the ring. These were carved in Reigate stone by Master Richard of Reading for £3.6s.8d.” (Colvin,i,p516). In the 1380’s considerable ‘remodelling’ of Westminster Hall was undertaken for Richard II. This included its decoration with larger than life-size, free-standing statues of the thirteen kings between Edward the Confessor and Richard II. Six of these were placed in niches inside the hall on the south wall and have survived to the present - see Fig 14. The statues were carved by Thomas Canon for the sum of £2.6s.8d. each, including material (Salzman,1967,p130).
Between 1988 and 1994 conservation work was carried out on these statues by English Heritage prior to their being the subject of a special exhibition at the British Museum in 1995. During this conservation work (Hay,1995,p12).
The statues in both St. Stephen’s Chapel and Westminster Hall were housed in carved niches or ‘tabernacles’ also made from Reigate Stone. The six in the Hall were carved by Walter Walton who was paid £4.13s.4d. each for them - twice the amount paid to Thomas Canon for the statues themselves (ibid.,p7).
4.2 How its Properties Affected its Use.
4.2.1 Beneficial Properties.
It is clear from 4.1. 2 and, particularly, 4.1. 3 above that the single most important property of Reigate Stone was the ease with which it could be carved into any shape. Of the statues in Westminster Hall it was observed that “. . . Reigate, being finely grained stone, would have been highly suitable for carving of this quality” (Hay,1995,p12). Such properties are not, however, unique to Reigate Stone; indeed they serve to define the term ‘freestone’, of which there are many (see 1.3 above). But no other freestones are found as close to London as Reigate Stone.
In the medieval period the alternative to Reigate Stone was often Caen stone from Normandy. The explanation for this advanced by Wren in 1713 was that “. . . after the Conquest, all our Artists were fetched from Normandy: they loved to work in their own Caen stone, . . . This was found expensive to bring hither, so they thought Rygatestone in Surrey, the nearest like their own” (Wren Society,1934,xi,p17).
In fact the cost differences were possibly not as great as might be expected: accounts for the Savoy Hospital c.1510 show Caen stone costing 4s.6d. a ton at St. Katherine’s Pool and Reigate Stone costing 4s. a ton at a quay at Vauxhall (Colvin,iii,p203). However, another factor which might have influenced the use of Reigate Stone could have been the sheer difficulty of obtaining Caen stone during the many periods when England was at war with Normandy or France.
The fact that Reigate Stone cost only a little less in London than Caen stone was because it had to bear the cost of road transport compared to the much cheaper sea transport for Caen stone. An unspecified “source from early eighteenth-century England suggests that the cost ratios of different forms of transport were of the order of 1 for sea, 4.7 for river and 22.6 for land” (Chant, 1999,p71). However the fact that road transport could be economically viable at all was greatly helped by the relatively low density of Reigate Stone.
This low density also had other advantages. It made Reigate Stone particularly suitable for use in the higher parts of buildings because it required less effort to lift into position - a non-trivial consideration when even the best pulleys and cranes were manually operated.
Furthermore higher storeys imposed less load on lower levels and foundations if they were built of Reigate Stone than if they were constructed from denser materials. Many examples of builders making use of Reigate Stone’s low density in this way can be seen but a couple will suffice to make the point: A crane was taken from the Tower of London to St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster where there was “the regular provision from October 1324 onwards, of large pieces of Reigate stone pro superiori historia capelle” (Colvin,i,p514). In Southwark Cathedral, despite extensive restoration using other stone elsewhere, original Reigate Stone can be seen in the medieval walls in the triforium (pers. obs.)
The ease with which it could be carved undoubtedly made Reigate Stone an attractive material for mantelpieces (see 4.1.2 above) but its heat resistant properties were doubtless an additional benefit when it was used for this purpose. These refractory properties were also employed in even more demanding situations. Again, a couple of examples suffice to make the point: The London Bridge accounts for 1537/8 include “18 loads of squared Reigate stone ... for bases of furnaces [furnes] ... [and] paving for ovens” (Harding&Wright,1995,p180). In 1718 Aubrey noted that the Reigate Stone from Gatton “endures the Fire admirably well ... [and] is much used by Chymists, Bakers, Glass-Houses [i.e. glass manufacturies], &c.” (Aubrey,1718,iv,pp217-8). The need for large horizontal slabs for furnace and oven bases explains why particular attention was paid to the provision of such slabs at the quarries - see 2.2.2; Fig 6, d & e; Plate 3 above.
A final quality from which Reigate Stone has been said to benefit is that “if kept either always wet or always dry, [it is] very durable” (VCH,ii,278). Whilst the word ‘very’ when applied to the durability of Reigate Stone might be questioned under almost any conditions, it certainly seems that builders exploited this quality. Examples of ‘always dry’ obviously include the refractory uses already noted, and its internal use within buildings - see 4.2.2 below. Examples of ‘always wet’ include its use in bridges (e.g. London Bridge - see Harding&Wright,1995), quays (e.g. that at Westminster - see VCH,ii,p277) and even in such things as the “slabs in front of the royal bath-tub (cuve debalniand) in Westminster Palace” in 1324 (Salzman,1967,p130).
4.2.2 Disadvantageous Properties.
The biggest drawback to building with Reigate Stone was that it weathered less well than other stones. In a report on the condition of the fabric of Westminster Abbey in 1713 Sir Christopher Wren stated that “that which is to be most lamented, is the unhappy Choice of the Material, the Stone is decayed four Inches deep, and falls of perpetually in great Scales” (Wren Society,1934,xi,p17). The ‘unhappy choice’ was “Rygate-stone in Surrey... used ... for the Ashler of the whole Fabrick, which is now disfigured in the highest Degree” (ibid.). The root cause of the poor weathering according to Wren was that “this Stone takes in Water, which being frozen, scales off, whereas good Stone gathers a Crust, and defends itself” (ibid.).
To be fair, some of the stone Wren was looking at had been in place for almost 500 years. However it is also clear that the limitations of Reigate Stone must have been known from an early date: there is, for example, in the orders for rebuilding Eton College Chapel in c.1453, the requirement “that neyther in the seid growndes ne walles schall in any wise be occupied Chalke Bryke ne Reygate stone otherwise y called Mestham stone but oonly of the stuffe before rehersed” (in Salzman,1967,p527). Actions could be taken to mitigate the disadvantages of Reigate Stone. One of these was to harden it by protecting it from the rain, frost and sun when first exposing it to the air - see 2.2.1 above. Wren himself was aware of this and his contract for the supply of Reigate Stone for St. Paul’s required the quarrymaster to “house & keep the same [i.e. the Reigate Stone] dry & fitt for good work” (Wren Society,1939,xvi,p19). Furthermore, on at least three occasions - the winters of 1681,1683 and 1684 - he had his carpenters “making Sheds to cover the Rygat stones from the weather” (Wren Society, 1936,xiii,pp156&178). He does not appear to have treated any other type of stone with this level of care. Another mitigating action was to use Reigate Stone selectively; clearly it was sensible to use it in positions where it was protected from the depredations of the weather. The most obvious such position is inside buildings and there are many examples of this. However, there were also other positions where the cover was deemed adequate: hence in Canterbury Cathedral nave “Reigate [Stone] is seen most commonly for occasional large blocks on the inside of the aisle walls, as well as for the external ashlar work on the outside of the north aisle wall (where it is under cover in the cloister). Very worn Reigate stone work can also be seen outside the north door into the west end of the north aisle ... Until the mid seventeenth century this stonework was under cover in a lobby area ...” (Blockley et al,1997,p134).
Perhaps the most subtle example of the selective use of Reigate Stone is to be found in work in the Tower of London dating from c.1532 in which “one door [is] made of Caen stone outside and Reigate stone inside” (Salzman,1967,p137).
Reigate Stone, like other stone, was sometimes covered with plaster or, probably more often, with limewash or whitewash; sometimes it was painted and even gilded occasionally. Although all of these treatments were carried out primarily for aesthetic and decorative reasons, they would also have helped reduce the effect of weathering. Traces of all of these treatments can occasionally be found on Reigate Stones in standing buildings and in architectural fragments recovered from archaeological excavations. Perhaps the best documented case of painted Reigate stone is that of the statues of the kings at Westminster (see 4.1.3 above). Nicholas Tryer was paid £8 13s 4d for painting these, “almost two thirds of the sum paid to Thomas Canon for carving the six statues, suggest[ ing] not only the extensive use of gilding and expensive pigments ... but also the time-consuming nature of the work. The number of paint layers applied bears witness to this slow process of ‘finishing’” (Hay,1995,p8). This information about the number of paint layers could only be discovered during the recent conservation work since, as Hay observes, “Perhaps the most significant change over the centuries has been their [i.e. the statues’] total loss of colour” (ibid.p7). Similar extensive ‘loss of colour’ has occurred on virtually all Reigate Stone that can be seen today; but this should not blind us to the fact that much, perhaps most, of the stone would originally have been, at least partially, protected from weathering by some kind of surface treatment.
4.3 When it was Used
4.3.1 Roman Period
Contrary to the widely held view that Reigate Stone is “not found in Roman contexts” in London (Westman,1994) there have recently been a few archaeological finds of Reigate Stone from securely dated Roman contexts. Examples include: “a solitary fragment of Reigate Stone rubble” from Roman levels excavated at New Palace Yard, Westminster (Betts,1996,p16) and a number of fragments, including “two large, rough- hewn pieces”, from a 2nd-3rd century Romano-British cemetery at Great Dover Street, Southwark (Mackinder,2000,p10). Mackinder suggests that the stone may originally have been used in a temple or temple-mausoleum building on the site and may have been reused in other cemetery structures subsequent to its destruction (ibid.,pp59 and x). Southwark has also produced evidence for the earliest use of Reigate Stone: a few pieces of faced Reigate building stone were recovered from the make-up deposits below pre-Boudiccan timber buildings on a site on Borough High Street. It was not possible to determine what or where the original building was from which this stone came (Drummond-Murray, pers. comm. and Drummond-Murray and Thompson, in prep.). Whilst it is not possible to be certain from where in the Upper Greensand these Roman examples of ‘Reigate Stone’ came, it is highly likely, for the reasons advanced in 1.4 and 3.1 above, that they came from the area between Brockham and Godstone. The fact that this area is also bounded by two Roman roads - see 3.3.2 above - suggests possible routes by which the stone may have been brought into London.
An account of Roman building materials used elsewhere in south-east England (Williams,1971,pp166- 195) identifies at least 28 ‘sites’ at which ‘Greensand’ was used. However it does not divide Greensand into ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’. It does not therefore differentiate between sites where a Reigate-type stone from the Upper Greensand may have been used, and those where Lower Greensands, which include Kentish Rag, were used. Williams’ account includes three ‘villa’ sites reasonably close to the Reigate Stone quarrying area or the route from there to London: Titsey, Beddington and Walton on the Hill. However, examination of the published accounts of the original excavations of these sites has not revealed any firm evidence that Reigate Stone was used for their construction (Levenson-Gower,1869,p219; Addy,1873,ppl18-121; Lowther,1949,p76).
4.3.2 Saxon Period
Given the general dearth of Saxon stone building, especially when compared with the relative abundance of Roman masonry work, it is perhaps surprising to find any examples at all of Saxon use of Reigate Stone. However there is a little evidence of such use in one or two standing buildings.
One piece of early evidence is found at St Mary’s Church, Stoke D’Abernon. High on the south wall there are the Reigate Stone jambs and lintel of a blocked doorway - see Fig 15. The lintel is a “single block of 3ft by 10in” (Jope,1964,p99). This doorway probably “led from the outside to a western gallery, as at Tredington, Wing and Jarrow [other Saxon churches]” (Taylor,1965,p574). Jope (op.cit.) took the existence of this doorway as evidence of “quarrying near by on a moderate scale in the late 7th or early 8th century, for such stone would hardly have been part of a Romano-British rural building.”
Another Surrey Saxon foundation of similar date where one might have expected to find evidence for early use of Reigate Stone is Chertsey Abbey. However, although there is plentiful evidence for its use in the medieval abbey, the report which covers excavations from 1861 to 1985 (Poulton,1988) produces no evidence for Saxon use of Reigate Stone.
Blocked Saxon Doorway; St Mary’s Stoke D’Abernon
Fig 15 (drawn from photo in Sowan,1975,p585; scale est. from data inJope,1964,p99)
St Mary’s, Fetcham is another Surrey church which contains remains of Anglo-Saxon architecture in Reigate Stone. In this case however, it dates from the early 11th century (VCH,iii,p285).
Perhaps the most important 11th century use of Reigate Stone was in the church of Edward the Confessor at Westminster, remnants of which have been archaeologically examined during building works on Westminster Abbey. In 1910 for example, it was noted that “The masonry is of Reigate stone, accurately worked, and large in scale, the semi-circular attached shafts having a diameter of 1ft 8½in” Lethaby,1910,p99). A different view of the masons’ skill is presented by Tanner and Clapham (1933,p234): “The ashlar used in the plinths of the piers, pilasters and blocking walls is entirely Reigate stone . . . Its surface is treated with coarse diagonal tooling; and the mason work is of the somewhat rough and ready order which implies an early date and an inexperienced hand.” However, it is debateable whether one should really include the Confessor’s church in the Saxon period since it has been described as “the earliest example of the Norman Style in England, Norman before the Conquest” (Pevsnert1973,p34).
4.3.3 Medieval Period
The previous two sections demonstrate that use of Reigate Stone was not an exclusively medieval practice. However, the medieval period was certainly the time of its most extensive use and most of the sites shown in Fig 9 are medieval. There can hardly be a Royal castle or palace built or repaired in and around London during this period which did not make some use of it. Similarly, major ecclesiastical buildings such as cathedrals, monasteries, priories, and hospitals in this area often incorporated Reigate Stone. Some was also used in more modest parish churches in south-east England - see Fig 9 and Appendix I. In such cases the amount was usually fairly small; its use being limited to things like quoins and dressings around windows and doors. Reigate Stone was also used in the building of London Bridge from 1176 (Schofield,1994). A City ordinance of c.1189, the Assize of Buildings, sought to encourage the building of stone party walls to inhibit the spread of fire. However, most medieval houses in London continued to be built primarily of timber. In his comprehensive account of medieval London houses Schofield catalogues only five houses in which there is evidence of the use of Reigate Stone (ibid.pp208,210,225,229). One of these is Winchester Palace and the others are two halls belonging to guilds and an inn and a tavern.
Evidence relating to when and where Reigate Stone was used in the medieval period comes from a number of sources. Many of the Royal buildings and the lesser ecclesiastical ones provide standing building evidence for its use. Excavation is often required to recover evidence relating to many of the monastic buildings as these were often robbed of much their building stone after the dissolution. Stratigraphy may provide dating evidence in the case of excavations and “contextual recording” (see Morriss,2000,p159) may provide relative dating in standing buildings. In both cases architectural analysis, including detailed analysis of mouldings and tooling, may permit attribution to particular architectural periods. In the case of major buildings there is also often documentary evidence in the form of building accounts which show details of purchases of stone. Such evidence is especially common in respect of Royal buildings in the later medieval period and usually more precise than can be achieved by archaeological methods. Records of purchases of Reigate Stone in every decade, except three, between 1210 and 1540 were traced. At least two of the gaps - the 1300’s and 1310’s - may be due to deficiencies in the historical records rather than proof of lack of demand - see Appendix II.
4.3.4 Post-Medieval Period
Records of purchases of Reigate Stone become rarer in the sixteenth century, particularly after the 1530’s. There are a number of reasons for this:- The dissolution of the monasteries in the second half of the 1530’s eliminated a major class of users of building stone. Furthermore the existing buildings could themselves be demolished to providestone for others thus further reducing the demand for newly quarried stone. A particular case in point is that of Reigate Stone being taken from Merton Priory to build Henry VIII’s new palace at Nonsuch. In this case, however, there are also records of new Reigate Stone being bought for “visible ashlars facework and details such as doors and windows” (Colvin,iv,p184).
Other, better building stones became more readily available. Portland Stone in particular began to be shipped around the south coast in increasing quantities. Figure 16 (below) gives an indication of how the relative importance of Reigate and Portland stones changed over this period. As well as being better and more readily available, Portland Stone was also made fashionable by being used by architects such as Inigo Jones and, later, Christopher Wren. Between 1675 and 1710 Wren used over £37,927 worth of Portland Stone in his rebuilding of St. Paul’s. However, despite his criticisms of the properties of Reigate Stone elsewhere - see 4.2.2 above - he still used over £9,119 worth of it; making it the fourth most valuable stone used for St. Paul’s (Wren Sociey,1938,xv,p xvi).
Another change in fashion from the Tudor period onwards was the increasing fashion for building in brick. However the impact of this on the demand for Reigate Stone was probably less than might be first thought. The early use of brick for prestigious dwellings often included, for aesthetic reasons, dressings of stone, including Reigate Stone - e.g. at Hampton Court. When, later, brickbecame the common building material of more modest houses, it was generally a case of brick replacing timber rather than brick replacing stone - see 4.3.3 above.
Further evidence for the continued production of Reigate Stone in the seventeenth century comes from the fact that Aubrey (1718) mentions working quarries at Gatton, Chaldon and Godstone based on tours of Surrey that he made in the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
There appears to be less documentary and standing building evidence for the use of Reigate Stone for building during the eighteenth century. However a source of 1805 (cited in VCH,ii,p278) makes clear its continuing importance as a refractory material - see 4.2.1 above. In the nineteenth century there is some evidence for renewed use as a building material, both locally and in London. For example St Mark’s Church and St Philip’s Church, both in Reigate, were built in the second half of the nineteenth century using Reigate Stone ashlar as their main walling material. In the 1830’s Reigate Stone from a quarry at Gatton was considered for the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament (Barry,1839 cited in
Topley,1875,p371), but not ultimately accepted. In the same decade quantities of Reigate stone from Merstham were used in the construction of the new London Bridge. The contractors for this work were the firm of Jolliffe and Banks (Pudney,1972,p79). Jolliffe’s brother owned Reigate Stone quarries at Merstham at that time.
During the Victorian era Hearthstone, the softest form of Reigate Stone used for whitening doorsteps (see 1.2 above), became relatively more important. However there continued to be some demand for the harder building stone. The north-east area of the quarry shown in Fig 5 consists of an open area supported by solid pillars; there is little evidence of the waste material retained by dry-stone walls seen elsewhere in that plan. This may be interpreted as showing that this particular area was worked for both building stone and hearthstone, thus producing no waste. If just hearthstone had been required it would have made more sense to simply dig it out from the waste material nearer the entrance. Such a policy of re-excavating waste for step-whitening material is reported from Betchworth and Reigate in the early twentieth century (Sowan,1975,p580). However even this low-key activity could not be sustained for long and the last Reigate Stone quarry closed in 1961 (ibid.p586).
4.4 Masons and Quarriers
4.4.1 The Organisation of Construction and Quarrying
It will be apparent from the examples mentioned above that the use of Reigate Stone, in medieval times at least, was almost exclusively in the hands of the Crown, for castles and palaces, or the ecclesiastical authorities, for churches and monasteries. In the light of this it has been suggested that “we must, therefore, conceive of the [medieval stone] building industry...as a state enterprise directed by a civil service” (Knoop&Jones,1949,p5). Furthermore, during periods of major royal works there are references to sheriffs of particular counties being required to send masons to those works and to the masons having to “serve at the king’s wages” (ibid.,p91). Hence, it appears that “medieval stone-building operations were essentially large undertakings which in nearly all cases were carried out with what we should now call ‘directlabour’” (ibid,p95).
This appears to contrast with what is known of the arrangements for quarrying Reigate Stone:- From various building accounts we know the names of many of the suppliers of Reigate Stone. These include: Roger of Reigate who supplied stone for Westminster Abbey in 1253; Thomas Bernak of Reigate supplied ‘great stones for images’ in 1333; after 1351 John, Philip and William Prophete had interests in quarries at Reigate, Merstham and Chaldon; in 1461 John Ropkyn supplied Merstham Stone to London Bridge and in 1691 Wren made a contract with a female quarrymaster, Elizabeth Parker of Reigate (ibid. p76;Salzman,1967,p130;Harding&Wright1995,p126;Wren Socl939,xvi,p23).
Whilst it is clear that the quarries were, at least sometimes, owned by the Crown or Church - e.g. the quarry granted to Waltham Abbey in 1218 (see 2.1 above) it is also appears that the quarrymasters were often independent of either Crown or Church. Even when, in 1359, John and Philip Prophete were appointed masters of the quarries at Merstham and Chaldon by Letters Patent with powers to impress labour (VCH,ii,p278) they were still selling the stone they produced to the Crown (see e.g. Covin,ii,p881). Hence, Salzman’s statement that the quarries “were managed by the family of Prophete” (Salzman,1967,p130) may be less accurate than Knoop’s view that “such people as John Prophet, were entrepreneurs who owned or leased quarries, paid the wages of quarrymen and stone-cutters, and sold the stone, sometimes hewn, sometimes in the rough, for building” (Knoop&Jones,1949,p10).
4.4.2 Links between Quarrymen and Masons
Clearly quarrymen and masons share a common interest in the stone they produce and use. However there were, in medieval times, other, less obvious but no less important, links between their activities. One of these was that quarrymen provided a source of (semi-) skilled labour from which masons could be recruited. Knoop observes that “apprenticeship was not common amongst masons in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries” (ibid.p162). He suggests that this is because apprenticeship “was closely associated in the Middle Ages with the system of small masters or independent craftsmen”. As noted in 4.4.1 above, most masons were wageearning employees with few potential employers; they were therefore not in a good position to take on and train an apprentice properly. Knoop therefore suggests that “important nurseries for stone-workers in the Middle Ages were to be found in the various quarries from which building stone was obtained” (ibid.,p74). He also notes that “conversion of a skilled quarrier who worked with an axe and hammer, into a roughmason who also worked with an axe and hammer could not have been uncommon” and cites examples of this happening at the quarries which supplied stone to Beaumaris and Caernarvon castles (ibid.,pp78-80). Although there is no similar documentary evidence relating specifically to Reigate Stone quarries, the physical remains of those quarries - the flat and even roofs, the carefully cut working faces and roof-support columns, the well built dry-stone walls which retain waste material, &c. (see plates 1,2,4 & 7) - bear witness to the high level of skill which would have been found in them. There is, however, documentary evidence for fully qualified, and even master, masons spending time at, or at least visiting, Reigate Stone quarries in the medieval period. Examples include: “At Eton College in 1445-1446 William Chircheman, lathomus [mason], was paid his expenses whilst at the quarry at Merstham for the provision of stone” (ibid.,p47). Robert Vertue appears in the Westminster Abbey Muniments “in 1484 for staying at the Reigate quarry for 4 weeks” (Harvey,1984,p306). Vertue became the King’s Master Mason c.1487 (ibid.). The main purpose of these visits seems to have been to procure stone and, presumably, carry out such ‘quality control checks’ as they felt necessary. The recent incident in which ‘the wrong type of stone’ was supplied for the British Museum south portico shows why, when purchasing a natural product such as stone, direct involvement of the buyer with the supplier is necessary.
A third possible link between quarries and masons involved “employing masons in the quarry ... to cut the blocks of stone to shape and to carve them when necessary, for it is clear that in some cases stone was fully finished before being transported to the building site” (Parsons,1991,p4). Whether this ever happened at the Reigate stone quarries is uncertain. Clearly there are very good reasons for preparing stone at the quarry. It would have been easier “to work them [i.e. stone blocks] up to their final shape while the stone was still full of ‘quarry sap’ and relatively soft” (ibid.p6 & see 2.2.1 above). Also, given the cost of transporting stone, which could be almost twice the cost of the stone itself - see 3.3.2 above, it would be bad economics to transport material which would ultimately end up as waste.
There is clear documentary evidence to show that Reigate Stone was supplied both ‘in the rough’ and ‘cleanhewn’. For example, during work on Westminster Palace in 1352 “sixteen loads of the squared stone and fifty-six of the rough were sent up from Reigate” (VCH,ii,p277). Further documentary evidence shows that ‘rough shaping’, at least, was carried out at Reigate Stone quarries. In the 1330’s “some of these moulds [for work at Westminster] . . . described as ‘false moulds’ (i.e. templates) were sent to the quarries at Reigate . . . so that the mouldings could be roughly worked on the spot” (Colvin,i,p515). Also Wren, in his contract with Elizabeth Parker in 1691, included the clause: “Scappled according to such Molds as shall bee allso directed” (Wren Society, 1939,xvi,p23). Knoop defines ‘scappling’ as “preparing stone by hammering ... instead of cutting with an axe or chisel” (Knoop&Jones,1949,p83). However, the softness of freshly quarried Reigate Stone means that hammering is not a good way to shape it; so what Wren probably meant by this term was simply ‘roughly shaped’.
The archaeological evidence from quarries still accessible also shows that the stone was, at least sometimes, roughly dressed and ‘squared up’ underground - see Plate 16. Blocks such as this show “marks from the pointed pick” and “areas smoothed using a blade approximately 2.5cm (1in) across” (Burgess,1987,p26). Such marks could have been made by tools similar to those shown in Plates 5&6 above, and such work was undoubtedly well within the competence of the quarriers. However, there is no archaeological evidence relating to ‘fully finished’ stones: there are no reports from the quarries of finds of masons chisels nor of partly carved ‘reject’ stones; the absence of light underground would not have been conducive to fine carving and there are no obvious mounds of waste chippings on the surface near the entrances.
Although, this does not prove that Reigate Stone was not carved to a ‘fully finished’ state at the quarries - there is an archaeological adage that ‘absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence’ - it is possible that the softness of Reigate Stone may have meant that it was only ever ‘roughly shaped’ at the quarries. This would have afforded it some protection from damage during the long overland and river journeys to the widely distributed building sites at which it was used.
5. Summary and Conclusions
The section on the medieval period in The Archaeology of Greater London states that “No stone was quarried in the London region [i.e. the area now covered by Greater London]... The main stones quarried in the area (though on the edge of the London basin) in the medieval period were Kentish ragstone and Reigate stone, [&c.] ... Though the stones used in medieval buildings are routinely mentioned in excavation reports, there is room for wider study of the quarrying industries which served the capital” (Kendall,2000,p226). This dissertation may, perhaps, be seen as contributing to this ‘wider study’. It certainly shows that there is much information regarding Reigate Stone quarrying available for study; although perhaps not yet quite enough to answer all of the basic questions. The existing information is in the form of historical documents, archaeological and other reports, standing buildings in which Reigate stone was used, and the remains of the quarries themselves.
The continued existence of quarries which date from at least the medieval period is unusual: generally “the sources of medieval building stone are often difficult to identify on the ground, either because the quarries have been exhausted and filled in ... or because it is still possible to work them and modern quarrying has obliterated all signs of medieval activity” (Parsons, 1991,p4). Reigate Stone quarries survive because they are not ‘on the ground’, but are instead under the ground. The methods of underground working used only a few, simple, hand-tools. They were, however, very effective: effort was not wasted on removing overburden; they did not destroy farmland; they provided space near at hand for disposing of inferior stone, and they avoided exposing the stone in the quarry to natural weathering. This last point was most important as Reigate Stone is particularly soft and has to be carefully seasoned if it is to be a useful building material. This is a reason for believing that open-pit quarrying of Reigate Stone is unlikely ever to have been practised other than, perhaps, for very small-scale, short-term operations.
Currently accessible Reigate Stone quarries show that they were very large scale operations. In the Merstham/Chaldon area, quarries which had at least seven original entrances intersect below ground to give c.16km of contiguous galleries. Also, it seems that Reigate Stone was quarried continually for much of the medieval period; although possibly from different quarries within the Reigate area at different times. Elsewhere in Britain, stone quarries were often opened to meet a local and immediate need and abandoned when this demand had been fulfilled. Historical records show that there was a more or less continual demand for Reigate Stone and that this was by no means entirely local.
Historical records and standing buildings show that Reigate Stone was distributed over an area measuring at least 20km west of Reigate, 90km east of it, and 60km north of it. Distribution to the south of Reigate was generally more local, perhaps inhibited by the difficulty of crossing the Weald. As with other building stones, distribution was often by water. However, unlike many other stones, Reigate Stone had first to be transported a considerable distance to the water. This involved a journey by road up and over the North Downs to the south bank of the River Thames. The difficulty of this journey was probably lessened by the fact that the narrow strip of the Reigate stone quarrying area was crossed at it eastern and western limits by major Roman roads into London. Between these two points the quarry entrances lie close to the east-west route of the lower, terrace level of the North Downs Ridgeway (commonly called the Pilgrims’ Way).
Nevertheless, this overland transport was expensive. Records show instances of Reigate Stone at a wharf besides the Thames costing almost three times as much as it had cost at the quarry. It was, therefore, not generally used as a main building material for things like walling. Rather it was used for quoins and dressings around windows and doors where the ease with which it could be carved made it particularly attractive. This property also meant that Reigate Stone was also sometimes used for statuary. Because of the cost, it tended to be used only in important buildings, usually those belonging to either the Crown or Church. Records show that both of these institutions possessed their own Reigate Stone quarries during the medieval period.
It is however difficult to identify specific individual quarries from these records. For example, although it is recorded that Edward III appointed John and Philip Prophete masters of the quarries at Chaldon in 1359, it is not known which specific quarry entrance(s) are being referred to. Generally, there is a dearth of artifactual remains within the quarries from which they can be dated. Also, the quarrying techniques appear to have remained unchanged for centuries. However, as most of the Reigate Stone outcrop in Chaldon parish is included in the extensive, contiguous series of quarries which are currently accessible, it is virtually certain that these include areas worked in the 1350s. By the same reasoning, they must also include areas which were recorded by John Aubrey as still being worked in Chaldon when he travelled through this part of Surrey in the late seventeenth century (Aubrey, 1718).
The fact that Reigate Stone was used for building both before and after the medieval period makes the inability to date the quarries precisely particularly frustrating. There is archaeological evidence of the use of Reigate Stone in Roman London, some dating to pre-Boudiccan times. There is also archaeological and standing building evidence for its use in the Saxon period. The Romans were certainly capable of quarrying underground. However, no evidence of their involvement with any of the known underground quarries has been reported. Nor is there any evidence for open-pit quarrying of Reigate Stone during the Roman, Saxon, or indeed any other, periods. Identifying the source of stone during the early periods therefore remains a problem for the future.
One approach to the dating problem might be to try to establish when the known quarries were first started. Although it has been said of quarries generally that:- “an excavation will hardly repay the effort of removing tons of infill in the remote chance of finding diagnostic tool marks or other artefacts of the period. [And] apart from the initial quarry rubble, a proportion of the infill in old quarries will be much later and therefore unhelpful for dating the original working” (Stanier,2000,p33), this may not be true of Reigate Stone quarries. Excavation in the entrance depressions may not involve the removal of too much modern infill before reaching levels relating to the working-life of the quarries. Targeted excavation underground may also be informative. So far, cavers have been responsible for re-opening the quarries. Their primary interest is in exploring the underground galleries to their furthest limits. This has yielded valuable information on the extent of the quarries and on working techniques, based on studies of the last, in situ, working faces. However, careful study of the areas immediately inside the entrances - the oldest part of an underground quarry - and excavation of the waste stone which was deposited during the first phases of working, may yield evidence for when these phases took place.
Although much is already known about the exploitation, distribution and use of Reigate Stone, there is clearly more which still needs to be discovered through further archaeological investigations, standing building studies, and documentary research before a completely definitive account of this formerly important building material can be written.
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7.1 Appendix I: Buildings in which Reigate stone was Used
The buildings listed below are those in which the use of Reigate Stone has been recorded. There are also other, unrecorded, buildings in which it has been used, particularly in the quarrying district. The sources of the records are printed in bold type. Where a building features in more than one source it is only included in the list for the first source shown. The NMR records relate to buildings where the main material was Reigate Stone; in other buildings in other records it was usually only used for dressings. Reigate stone was identified in most sources on the basis of in situ field observation; the exception to this is The History of the King’s Works which used historical documents which recorded Reigate Stone purchases. At least part of most of the buildings listed below are still standing. The use of Reigate Stone has also been recorded in many archaeological excavations in and around London, particularly from sites of medieval churches and monasteries.
National Monuments Record: Main material Reigate Stone: Oak Lodge, Eastbourne, East Sussex; Hadleigh Castle, Essex; St Mary, Wivenhoe, Essex; All Saints, Rochford, Essex; All Saints, Brightlingsea, Essex; St Mary the Virgin, Grays, Essex; St Nicholas, Grays, Essex; St Clement, Grays, Essex; St Giles & All Saints, Orsett, Essex; St Mary, Stanford le Hope, Essex; St Michael, Stanford le Hope, Essex; St Mary, Tilbury, Essex; St Katherine, Tilbury, Essex; Crosby Hall, London (now Chelsea); walls in High Street, Sutton, Surrey; Lawrence House, Buckland, Surrey; Pettys Farm House, Buckland, Surrey; St Bartholomew, Leigh, Surrey; Alderstead Farmhouse, Reigate, Surrey; Royal Earlswood Hospital, Reigate, Surrey; ‘Little Everest’, Reigate, Surrey; Manor House, Colley, Surrey; The Chantry, Reigate, Surrey; houses in Quarry Lane, Gatton, Surrey; house, High Street, Reigate, Surrey; ‘Sunningdale’, Reigate, Surrey; Weighbridge Cottage, Reigate, Surrey; viaduct, Reigate, Surrey; garden walls, Reigate, Surrey; The Old Rectory, Bletchingley, Surrey; Main material Firestone: St Peter, Barnet, G.London; St Eansworth, Shepwey, Kent; Christ Church, Brockham, Surrey.
The History of the Kings Works: Westminster Abbey, G. Lond; Waltham Abbey, Essex; Eton College, Bucks; Tower of London, Lond; Westminster Palace, G.Lond; Mews at Charing Cross, G.Lond; Leeds Castle, Kent; Queenborough Castle, Kent; Windsor Castle, Berks; Rochester Castle, Kent; Hertford Castle, Herts; King’s [manor] House, Gravesend, Kent; King’s Manor House, Havering, Essex; houses at Henley [-by-Guildford] , Surrey; King’s Langley, Herts; Baynards Castle, London; Sheen [Richmond Palace], Surrey; manor house at Sutton [nr Chiswick], Middx; manor house at Byfleet, Surrey; manor house at Windsor Park, Berks; manor house at Easthampstead, Berks; Savoy Hospital, G.Lond; Hampton Court, Middx; Eltham Palace, Kent; New Lodge, Hyde Park, G.Lond; Merton Priory, Surrey; Nonsuch [Palace], Surrey; Oatlands, Surrey; St James’s Palace, G.Lond. (Colvin,1963-82,6vols). RCHME - Middlesex: St Mary, E.Bedfont; St Lawrence, New Brentford; St Nicholas, Chiswick; St Lawrence, Cowley; St Martin, West Drayton; St Margaret, Edgeware; St Andrew, Enfield; Holy Cross, Greenford; Chapel at Moor Hall Farm, Harefield; St Peter & St Paul, Harlington; St Mary
Harmondsworth; St Mary, Hayes; St Mary, Hendon; St Andrew, Kingsbury; All Saints, Laleham; St Mary Magdelene, Littleton; St Mary, Northolt; walls at Norwood [nr Hounslow]; church at Perivale; St John the Baptist, Pinner; St Martin, Ruislip; St Nicholas, Shepperton; St Mary, Stanwell; All Hallows, Tottenham; St Mary, Willesden (RCHME,1937,1vol).
RCHME - London: Merchant Taylors Hall; St Sepulchre in the Bailey; Temple Church of St Mary the virgin; Lambeth Palace; Chapel Royal, Savoy; Jewel House [part of Westminster Palace]; Southwark Cathedral; Winchester House[i.e.Palace]; Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula; St Nicholas, Plumstead (RCHME,1926-30,5vols).
RCHME - Essex: Holy Cross, Basildon; St Margaret, Bowers Gifford; St Mary, Chadwell; St John the Baptist, Danbury; St Lawrence and All Saints, Eastwood; St Michael, Fobbing; St Mary and All Saints, Great Stambridge; St Nicholas, Great Wakering; SS Peter and Paul, Horndon-on-the-Hill; St Nicholas, Laindon; All Saints, North Benfleet; St Mary Magdalene, North Ockendon; St Mary, North Shoebury; St Michael, Pitsea; St Mary, Prittlewell; All Saints, Rettendon; St Andrew, Roachford; St Andrew, South Shoebury; Bicknacre Priory, Woodham Ferrers; Holy Trinity, Colchester; St Peter, Colchester; St Margaret, Barking; Barking Abbey; Cathedral Ch of St Mary the Virgin, Chelmsford; SS Peter and Paul, Chingford; chapel at Harlowbury, Harlow; St Mary, High Easter; Latton Priory, nr Harlow; Beeleigh Abbey, Maldon; All Saints, West Ham (RCHME,19l6-23,4vols) . Wren Society: Whitehall Palace, G.Lond; Chelsea Hospt, G.Lond; St Andrew, Holborn, G.Lond; St Stephen, Walbrook, City; St Paul’s Cathedral, City; Winslow Hall, Bucks; Kensington Palace, G.Lond; (Wren Society, 1924-43,20 vols).
Other Sources: Kent: Dartford Priory; manor ho, Dartford; St Mary, Stone; East Wickham; Bexley; Crayford; Derenth; Cliffe (at Hoo); Newington; SS Peter and Paul, Milton; Sittingbourne; Teynham; Gillingham; Stroud; Burham; Rochester Cathedral; Ashford; Canterbury Cathedral; St Mary, Cowden; SS Peter and Paul, Edenbridge; High Halden; Kingsdown; Lydd; Stockbury; (Lockwood,1994) Surrey: St Nicholas, Charlewood; St Mary, Stoke D’Abernon; St Mary, Reigate; St Mark, Reigate; Reigate Castle; St Mathew, Redhill; St Katherine, Merstham; Rockshaw Ho and Lodge, Merstham; houses and hotel, Godstone; St Mary, Bletchingley; houses and farm, Bletchingley; SS Peter and Paul, Nutfield; houses, Nutfield; walls, Brindley Heath; St Bartholomew, Burstow; SS Peter and Paul, Chaldon; St Mary, Farleigh; St Michael, Betchworth; St Mary, Beddington; Chertsey Abbey; St Mary Home; St Mary, Fetcham; (Lockwood,1994) City of London Guildhall; (Lockwood,1994) City: Peter and Paul Tavern; Grocers’ Hall; Neville’s Inn; (Schofield,1994) St Mary Spital (Thomas et al, 1997).
Post Script Additions: Kent: Eynsford Castle; St Martin, Eynsford; Milton Chantry. Bucks: St Peter,Iver; St Mary,Wexham. Berks: St Michael the Archangel,Warfield; St Michael Heckfield (pers.obs. and Potter,J.F. (2003) A Guide to the Geology of some Churches in the Reading/Slough Area, London, Geologists’ Association).
7.2 Appendix II: Decades in which Reigate Stone was Purchased
The purpose of this appendix is to demonstrate that, unlike some other types of stone, there was a continual demand for Reigate Stone. It is based primarily on building accounts, usually those enrolled as part of the Exchequer King’s Remembrancer Accounts (catalogued E/... at the PRO). It records only a single instance of demand for each decade. In many decades, particularly in the 14th century, there was demand from many places at the same time. It shows that between 1210 and 1540 there were only three decades for which I have not found records of Reigate stone purchases. These were the 1230’s, 1300’s and 1310’s. In the last two cases this may be because “Under Edward I and Edward II it is a sign both of the overloading of the Exchequer machinery and of the activity of the Wardrobe that works accounts, like others, were sometimes not enrolled” (Colvin,i,p188); i.e. Reigate Stone may very well have been quarried, purchased and used during these decades but the accounts do not reflect this.
This appendix does not, of course, demonstrate that any individual Reigate Stone quarry was in operation for the whole period.
Decade Place of Use; Source of Info; Primary Source (where noted) 1170 London Bridge; Schofield,1994,p135
. . . 1210 Waltham Abbey; Ransford,1989,p431; MS: Tib.C.ix,fo.161v,j.
1220 Rochester Castle; Colvin,ii,p807
1240 Tower of London; Keevil,2000,p73; Liberate Rolls for 1241
1250 Westminster Abbey; Scott,1863,p134; Fabric Roll 37HenryIII
1260 Westminster Abbey; Scott,1863,p253; Pipe Roll 52HenryIII
1270 Westminster Abbey; Scott,1863,p255; Pipe Roll 56HenryIII
1280 King’s Langley, Herts; Colvin,ii,p971; Pipe Roll 9EdwI
1290 Leeds Castle, Kent; Colvin,ii,p697; E101/352/27
1320 Westminster Palace; Colvin,i,p514;
1330 Westminster Palace; Colvin,i,p515
1340 Winchester Palace; RCHM(E),1930(Lond.vol.5),p67
1350 Windsor Castle; VCH,ii,p277; Exch K R Accts, bdles 492 & 493
1360 Baynard’s Castle; Colvin,i,p210; E101/493/12m.4
1370 Gravesend, Kent; Colvin,ii,p948; E101/544/3mm1-3
1380 Westminster Palace; Salzman,1967,p130; E.473,2
1390 Henley-by-Guildford; Colvin,ii,p962; E101/495/28m.2
1400 Tower of London; Colvin,i,p214; E101/502/23
1410 Sheen, Surrey; Colvin,ii,p999; Cal Pat Rolls 1413-16 p178 &c
1420 London Bridge; Harding & Wright,1995,p88
1430 The Prince’s Wardrobe; Colvin,ii,p982; SC 6/815/7
1440 Havering, Essex; Salzman,1967,p101; E.503,9
1450 Eton College; Salzman,1967,p83 & App.77(B)p526
1460 Hertford Castle, Herts; Colvin,ii,p680
1470 Eton College; Willis&Clark,1886,p408; Audit Roll 15-16EdwIV
1480 Westminster Abbey, Henry VII’s Chapel; VCH,ii,p278
1490 Westminster Abbey, Henry VII’s Chapel; VCH,ii,p278
1500 Savoy Hospt; Colvin,iii,p203
1510 Hampton Court; Colvin,iv,p127; E36/235
1520 Hampton Court; RCHM(E),1937(Middx)p30
1530 Hampton Court; Salzman,1964,p130; H.C.237,f.20.
1540 Nonsuch Palace, Sy; Colvin,iv,p184
1600 Eltham Palace; Colvin,iv,p84; E351/3239
1610 Oatlands, Sy; Colvin,iv,p214
1620 St James’s Palace; Colvin,iv,p249
1630 New Lodge, Hyde Park; Colvin,iv,p159, E351/3268
1670 St Paul’s Cathedral; Wren Society,xv,pxvi
1680 St Paul’s Cathedral; Wren Society,xv,pxvi
1690 St Paul’s Cathedral; Wren Society,xv,pxvi
1700 St Paul’s Cathedral; Wren Society,xv,pxvi
1710 St James’s Palace; Wren Society,vii,p223
1830 London Bridge; Pudney,1972,p79