The original stone known under this name was a moderately coarse-grained sandstone of the millstone grit formation, from Bramley, near Leeds. It held a very high character for durability and strength.
It was found in large blocks, and was specially suited and used for heavy engineering works.
Thin stones of good quality cannot be produced from the best beds of the quarries without great waste. When therefore such stones are specified, they are sometimes supplied from the upper beds, which are of inferior quality.1
Since the introduction of railways the original Bramley Fall quarries have almost ceased to be worked, but a great deal of similar stone is found to the north of Leeds, and is sold under the same name, which has become a generic name for the class of stone wherever it may be quarried.
As a rule the stone sold under this name has considerable strength and durability, but in some cases an excess of grains of potash-felspar makes it weather badly.
"Owing to its cheapness - and also to a want of knowledge that the best stone rises in large masses - many gentlemen specify their stones for templates, pad stones, bases, steps, and landings and copings to be worked out of Bramley Fall only 7 or 8 inches thick. This mistake has caused some quarry men and producers to substitute inferior top rock for good stone, because the inferior top stone frequently rises in thinner lifts."2
Bramley Fall stone has been used for the most massive engineering structures in the country. Its weathering qualities may be observed in Kirkstall Abbey, near Leeds, which was built with this stone in the twelfth century.
These stones come chiefly from the coal measures and millstone grit series; a few come from the new red sandstone formation.
In consequence of the large number of quarries in Yorkshire, the stone is commonly known as Yorkshire stone, but a great deal of similar stone is found in the adjacent counties.
Of these stones the finer grained are suitable for building purposes, while the grits are more adapted for heavy engineering works.
The sandstones from the millstone grit or coal measures are considered to offer the greatest resistance to injury by fire, for which reason Minera stone was selected for the National Safe Deposit Co.'s buildings.3
The best flags and landings come from near Bradford and Halifax.
This stone is produced from quarries somewhat recently opened near Harrogate. Several specimens of it were shown at the International Exhibition of 1872.
This very useful stone is found in the coal measures near Lydney and Coleford in Gloucestershire.
There are three distinct series or beds of considerable thickness. Of these the upper series consists of a soft, easily worked stone of various degrees of hardness. The second series in harder than the first, and the third harder than the second, and of a finer grit. Both the second and third series can be quarried in blocks of any size.
1 Mr. Trickett in Building News, 25th June 1871.
2 Mr. Trickett in Builders' Weekly Reporter, 23d June 1875. 3 Wray.
The first and second series are of a grey colour, the third is bluer. Some of the stone has a brownish tint.
The stone weathers well if placed upon its natural bed. Some used in the churches of Newland, Staunton, and Mitcheldean, that has been exposed 400 years, still retains the tool-marks as sharp as ever, but this of course was from the best quarries, carefully selected.
There are a great many quarries in the hands of different proprietors. It is unnecessary to give their names.
The stone is admirably adapted for building, or for heavy engineering work such as bridges and docks.
Where used. - It has been used in the construction of Cardiff, Newport, Gloucester, and Swansea docks; Folly Bridge, Oxford; Cardiff Castle and National Provincial Bank, Marlborough; Cardiff new Barracks; port of Llan-daff; interior of St. John's and Exeter Colleges; Taylor and Randolph's buildings, Oxford; Eastun Castle and Witley Court, Doncaster, etc. etc.
Mansfield Stone is one of the best known and most important building stones in the country.
It is a siliceous dolomite (see p. 59), and is found near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in the Permian system, between the new red sandstone and the carboniferous series.
There are several beds found in the quarries, which differ considerably from one another both in composition and texture.
There are, however, two principal varieties of the stone sent into the market, the white and the red, both of them good for building purposes.
Of these varieties the red is considered more durable than the white. Both kinds last well in a clear atmosphere. They are all admirably adapted for the finest ashlar work, turned columns, mouldings, carvings, etc.