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Volume 1

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Volume 2

Member's Price: £9

Non-Member's Price: £12

72. Devonshire Marbles: their geology, history and uses (2015)

by Gordon Walkden

This is a combined research volume and comprehensive introduction to what is probably Britain’s most spectacular and diverse decorative marble, yet the least well-known. Many people are familiar with Purbeck Marble and some will know of Ashford Black Marble from Derbyshire and the specimen marble items that flowed from that, but few have heard of Devonshire Petitor, Ashburton or Ogwell marble, or of the much more unusual Rose Red Radford, once used to make a massive stone-built valentine fireplace. Yet these are iconic British marbles spread not only amongst an amazing number and diversity of UK and worldwide buildings, they were also the basis for a specimen marble ornament industry that rivalled the Derbyshire one.This new GA guide is in two volumes. Volume 1: Understanding the marbles, highlights the discovery, characteristics and uses of Devonshire marble, its origin amongst the Devonian Coral seas of Devon and the formation of its rich textures in the geological upheavals that followed. In Volume 2: Recognising the marbles, there are guides to the best outcrops of the limestones, to the 30 best buildings up and down the country that contain the ‘marbles’, to the fossils, once collector’s items, and of course to the marbles themselves, of which there are at least 20 distinct varieties.

Look inside:

Table of Contents

Overview of Itineraries


Table of Contents


VOLUME 1. CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES
PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1. The making of marble

1.1 The lost coral seas and the lost industry
1.2 Some technicalities, ‘marble’ and ‘Devonian’
1.3 Devon marble in context
1.4 The foundations of the Devon marble industry
1.5 Some early glints of marble
1.6 The fame of Petit Tor spreads
1.7 The rise of Plymouth
1.8 Towards National status
1.9 Then decline

2. Recognising and differentiating: the diversity of Devonshire marble

2.1 Rediscovering Devonshire marbles
2.2 The range of the Devonshire marbles
2.3 What makes a good marble?
2.4 The Devonshire competitors
2.5 Some rival reds
2.6 Commercial reality versus sheer extravagance
2.7 Supporting the wrong side?
2.8 Royal patronage and the coming of age

3. The Marble Masters

3.1 Mason to Marble Master
3.2 Plymouth Masters
3.3 The east coast marble pioneers
3.4 The east coast marble dynasties
3.5 Ipplepen—nothing on paper
3.6 Madrepore manufacturers

4. Marble masterpieces 1: the portable items—Devonshire marble tables, ornaments and jewellery

4.1 Introduction to Devonshire marble tables and decorative items
4.2 The Devonshire marble tables
4.3 Three important machine-turned Devonshire stone items
4.4 The Royal Goldfinch Platter
4.5 Standard inlaid ornaments
4.6 Devonshire marble boxes
4.7 A Devonshire marble landscape piece
4.8 Devonshire marble jewellery
4.9 Distinguishing Devonshire and Derbyshire products
4.10 Conclusions

5. Marble masterpieces 2: the inside story—the buildings decorated with Devonshire marble

5.1 Finding the buildings
5.2 Matching the competition
5.3 The Victorian boom
5.4 Gothic—from style to imperative
5.5 The decorative uses of Devonshire marble
5.6 Style and meaning in marble
5.7 Devonshire marble fireplaces
5.8 Some conclusions

6. The treasured landscapes

6.1 Uneasy neighbours
6.2 Permanent change and new directions
6.3 Lost landscapes—the Plymouth Cattewater legacy
6.4 Quarrying on the Oreston side at Plymouth
6.5 From extraction to recovery—quarries on the Torquay peninsula
6.6 ‘Superquarry’ to Nature Reserve—the Berry Head story
6.7 The Italian (and French) connection

7. The coral seas

7.1 Introduction
7.2 How the coral seas were formed
7.3 Coral seas in a Devonian world
7.4 ‘Where corals lie’
7.5 Where corals die
7.6 Where corals become stone
7.7 Reconstructing environments
7.8 A ‘facies’ diagram for Devonshire marbles
7.9 And then...

8. The making of marble: the post-depositional textures

8.1 From limestone to marble
8.2 The transition from deposition to uplift
8.3 The onset of orogeny
8.4 Tectonic compaction and stretching
8.5 Sediment injection
8.6 Veins and fissures
8.7 Folding and faulting
8.8 Pressure dissolution
8.9 Mineral alteration and mineral staining
8.10 The burial framework
8.11 A brief synthesis of textural evolution in Devonshire marbles

References
Appendix: the Devonshire marble buildings (DMB) list
Index

VOLUME 2. CONTENTS

9. A geological guide to the Devonian limestones and ‘marbles’ of South Devon
10. An identification guide to Devonshire marbles and associated decorative stones
11. A descriptive and visual guide to 34 Devonshire marble buildings and sites of importance
12. An identification guide to the fossils of Devonian limestones and marbles
13. An identification guide to common inlay and mosaic stones found in Devonshire and other comparable British ornamental items

Index


Itineraries
Buy the guide to explore further...


This is a combined research volume and comprehensive introduction to what is probably Britain’s most spectacular and diverse decorative marble, yet the least well-known. Many people are familiar with Purbeck Marble and some will know of Ashford Black Marble from Derbyshire and the specimen marble items that flowed from that, but few have heard of Devonshire Petitor, Ashburton or Ogwell marble, or of the much more unusual Rose Red Radford, once used to make a massive stone-built valentine fireplace. Yet these are iconic British marbles spread not only amongst an amazing number and diversity of UK and worldwide buildings, they were also the basis for a specimen marble ornament industry that rivalled the Derbyshire one.This new GA guide is in two volumes. Volume 1: Understanding the marbles, highlights the discovery, characteristics and uses of Devonshire marble, its origin amongst the Devonian Coral seas of Devon and the formation of its rich textures in the geological upheavals that followed. In Volume 2: Recognising the marbles, there are guides to the best outcrops of the limestones, to the 30 best buildings up and down the country that contain the ‘marbles’, to the fossils, once collector’s items, and of course to the marbles themselves, of which there are at least 20 distinct varieties.

Itineraries in Volume 2


The exposures
Section 1. The Plymouth Area (P)
Plymouth Limestones are the most stratigraphically extensive in the South Devon basin but outcrop is restricted to the city, its eastern suburbs and the countryside a few km further east where limestone is still extensively quarried.
Three main Plymouth itineraries are chosen, still technically accessible at the time of writing (2014), that bring together some of the deep depositional and structural features of the limestones and illustrate a bit of the quarrying history.

Itinerary P1. Mount Batten and Radford Quarry
This half day itinerary provides an overview of Plymouth geology as well as illustrating the importance of volcanic, structural and metamorphic processes in the story of the limestones.
Start point Mount Batten Centre car park SX 486 533.

Itinerary P2. The Western King limestone headland
This half a day itinerary explores sedimentology and palaeontology in some of the last limestones to be deposited in the South Devon Basin and then finds evidence of the events that terminated deposition.
It should be noted this section is very exposed and parts of it are hazardous and difficult to traverse.
Start point Devil’s Point car park SX 462 534.

Itinerary P3. The story of Cattedown
This half day itinerary takes visitors the some important sites that are steadily becoming lost through overgrowth, neglect and industrial encroachment, but what is left provides a picture of the Plymouth reefs and how they met their fate along with the Western King Headland and elsewhere.
Start point Cattedown Road SX 495 535.

Itinerary P4 Plymouth Hoe foreshore
This half day provides a simple summary of some of the best examples of fossils and textures in the Plymouth Limestones.
Start point Westward Hoe, Marine Drive SX 474 537.

Section 2. South-east Devon (T)
The localities covered in these itinerary illustrate the birth and demise of the call coral seas of south-east Devon. At this eastern end of the outcrop, though, the reef story is more detailed, with the appearance of a distinct ‘reef’ type in the Ogwell area that became an important marble in itself, and mysterious degradation of another reef in the process that made it the most famous of all the Devonshire marbles, Petitor, on the coast east of Torquay.

Itinerary T1. Triangle Point, Hope’s Nose and Dyer’s Quarry
This full day or more itinerary covers changing Devonian seabeds and the Central South Devon Basin carbonate complex.
Start point parking bay along Meadfoot Sea Road (SX 930 631) or Daddyhole Road car park SX 929 630.

Itinerary T2. Berry Head, Brixham and Petit Tor Down, Torquay
This full day or two long half days, as the two localities are 18 km apart, covers the lost tropical reefs of Torbay.
Start point Berry Head National Nature Reserve pay as you leave car park SX 941 562.

Itinerary T3. East Ogwell and the Lemon Valley, Newton Abbott
The objectives of this itinerary is to illustrate two contrasting muddy limestones types and then to link the Ogwell marbles with a source locality.
Start point limited parking at end of Ogwell Mill Road SX SX 841 709 or Chercombe Bridge SX 833 711.

Section 3 Supplementary itineraries (S)
These two itineraries tell no common story are offered as a menu of supplementary visits, but which present access difficulties.
Itinerary S1 The streets of Ashburton
This half day itinerary covers ‘all that glisters is…..not necessarily Ashburton marble, with restricted access to Linhay Quarry (SX 771 713).
Start point North Street car park SX 755 699

Itinerary S2 Long Quarry Point, Torquay (Walls Hill car park SX 9285 6528)
This half day itinerary covers palaeontology and sedimentology in a stromatoporoid reef, better preserved than Berry Head but more difficult to get at as access is down a precipitous and dangerous path.
Start point Walls Hill car park SX 929 653.

Devonshire Marble Buildings
This part of the guide selects from the best and most accessible Devonshire marble buildings (DMBs) and they are grouped according to locality or region. They cover Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, London, Manchester, Oxford, Plymouth and Torquay. The distribution of known DMBs is wider than this, but there are so far none in Scotland, nor any surviving in north-east England. The descriptions can be followed without necessarily visiting the buildings and in particular they present an important conservation record.

Map of Itineraries