Purbeck Marble

January 1, 201312:00 pmMay 26, 2016 9:01 am
King John's Tomb, Worcester Cathedral - carved in fossil rich Purbeck Marble.

King John’s Tomb, Worcester Cathedral – carved in fossil rich Purbeck Marble.

Not a true metamorphic marble but a polishable micritic limestone packed with abundant gastropod fossils – the freshwater snail Viviparusfrom the Peveril Point Member of the Lower Cretaceous age Durlston Formation. It was quarried and mined on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset (the peninsula south of Corfe Castle), where several beds up to a metre thick occur between layers of soft marine clays and mudstones. The main outcrop runs due west from Peveril Point in Swanage and was quarried as far inland as Downshay Farm. In colour it can vary from green to red or brown depending on whether glauconite or the iron minerals haematite or limonite, respectively, are present.

Purbeck Marble pillars, blackened to resemble black marble, Worcester Cathedral

Purbeck Marble pillars, blackened to resemble black marble, Worcester Cathedral

Ubiquitous as a decorative stone – often for columns – in high status buildings across the country, a notable local example of its use is in the columns and the stone tombs of Prince Arthur and King John in Worcester Cathedral. It is used in some capacity in almost all the Cathedrals of southern England and Wales including Exeter, Ely, Norwich, Chichester, Salisbury, Lincoln, Llandaff, Southwark, Canterbury and Westminster Abbey.

Browse sites in the database using Purbeck Marble ->

Written by Elliot Carter

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