In our plans for 2017 and 2018, we have taken the local stone as one of our themes, and are following the stone on its journey from the quarries under Chaldon, to the bridges, castles, palaces, and cathedrals that were built from it.
On Saturday 14th April, we have a special guided tour of Westminster Abbey to see the use of the local stone there. See the first post on this page for more information.
Our plan started with a trip down the quarry that is under Chaldon, undertaken in early May 2017. Two groups of ten people, dressed in clothes that could get muddy, with gloves, knee pads, helmets and lights, had a wonderful time underground, seeing the old stone quarry workings dating from at least the late medieval period.
Expertly led by Peter Burgess of the Wealden Cave and Mine Society with two colleagues, the groups saw the quarry face, where the method of working was explained, and the marks from the picks and wedges were clearly visible. They learnt how the stone was removed to the surface on sledges pulled by oxen. Various aspects of the history of the quarries were covered, including the spectacular flooding in 1911.
The next stage in the Local Story Story was a talk by Peter Burgess of the Wealden Cave and Mine Society giving more of the history of the stone held on Saturday 7th October 2017 in Chaldon church. This was a joint event with the Friends of Chaldon Church. The church was a very appropriate venue as it features the local stone in the building itself, the font, and a rather fine early Renaissance memorial (with the face in the sun that the History Group uses as its logo).
The ancient stone mines in East Surrey and their archaeology.
The use of Reigate stone (from mines in Merstham, Chaldon, Gatton and Reigate) for nearly 2000 years.
The potential value of the stone mines now as archaeological resources.
There was also be a display of images as a mini audit of the use of the local stone within Chaldon village buildings, in walls, fireplaces, chimneys etc. We are planning to extend this study and make the images available on this website in the future. Do get in touch if you have images that you can contribute, or stone in your Chaldon home that you think may be local and would like identifying.
For 2018, we have organised a visit to one of the important places that has significant use of the local stone in it – Westminster Abbey. On Saturday 14th April there will be a specialised tour of the Abbey to look at the Reigate / Chaldon /Merstham stone in it. More information will be given on this website soon.