Ladycross Quarry – History spanning over 300 years

Ladycross Stone has been quarried by hand at Ladycross Quarry for at least 300 years (no explosives are used) and is one of the few remaining quarries where stone is won by hammer and wedge.

The stone being worked at Ladycross Quarry was laid down during the Carboniferous period of the Palaeozoic era. That was some 290 million years ago. To better understand this, consider a mythical year spanning this period. The stone would have been laid down during the first two days of January, the first dinosaurs appearing in May and the great Ice Age occurring in late November. modern man would not begin to develop until about December 27th!

Ladycross Stone is sedimentary. It is formed from grains of sand washed down by rivers in to clear, shallow seas where the sand was deposited in delta like conditions. From time to time a thin layer of clay and mica was deposited over the sand giving rise to very level bedding planes. The existence of those planes mean that the stone will separate into large, exceptionally flat slabs, making it most suitable for the production of paving stones, roofing slates and walling. Later the grains of sand became compressed by other deposits and were cemented together by natural iron cement. The variety of colour seen in the stone is due to partial oxidation of the iron cement giving a most attractive appearance.

The nearby village of Blanchland, and its Abbey, are know to have been slated with Ladycross Stone in 1740. Durham Cathederal, Morpeth Castle and Hexham Abbey have all used Ladycross Stone in their construction and subsequent repair. There still exists an invoice for £100-12s-6p for the supply of 80½ tons of grey slate for a house in Corbridge in 1905.