Parliament Quarry

Stone as been sourced from Mansfield from as early as 1337 when King Edward III granted a license for the Chapter at Southwell Minster to cart stone for their church from their quarry at Mansfield. This King also used the same stone to improve Nottingham castle in 1357. In the Court Rolls of 1315-16, the quarry was named as Pilehalgh in the Maun Valley (Quarry Lane) This particular 'white' stone was called 'freestone' because of its ability to be carved easily to form the ornate shapes as aptly illustrated at Southwell Minster. Mansfield was infact the source of 3 types of building stone: at the surface was limestone containing calcium carbonate suitable for limekilns and the production of lime mortar. In the deeper strata exposed in the Maun Valley at Quarry Lane was the sand, magnesium & calcium carbonate composition which provided the ideal mix for easy carving that age-hardened. The third type was even harder, containing iron giving it a red colour. The source of this stone was along Chesterfield Road (site of DIY superstore) and Rock Valley. In 1839, Mansfield's red & white stone was used in the renovation of Westminster and also the paving slabs at Trafalgar Square.

The most famous quarry was Parliament Quarry at Mansfield Woodhouse, which has been filled in and is now the site of the council offices & yard on Vale Road. An extract from White's Directory, 1832 records " At Mansfield Woodhouse is an extensive quarry of limestone which is of such a beutiful cream colour and so close in grain that it would be highly valuable for ornamental building, were it not that its extreme hardness would raise its price far beyond that of Portland Stone"

Parliament quarry was also the source of this creamy stone to build the cottages on Vale Road & Limestone Terrace. It was also used to build Stuffynwood Hall. I wasn't aware of it until Mr David Reddish, a life long resident of Stuffynwood Farm, told me that the stone used in the construction of the Hall contained a black fleck and was very unusual. It was only after reading the Geological Survey of Great Britain, 1861 that I came across the detail of stone sourced from 'Parliament Quarry' on Vale Road ..."in this quarry can be seen a massive but irregularly bedded and beautiful crystalline limestone of a very fine yellow colour speckled with black....this rock from its hardness and composition forms a most excellent and durable building stone. Martyr's Monument, Oxford, Southwell Minster and the lower part and foundation of Westminster will testify". This stone was higher in the series than Mansfield's red & white sandstone. All three stones were unique and subsequently limited in their use because of the limited supply.

Here are extracts from the 1861 Geological Survey pertaining to above mentioned quarries.