I haven't been posting much this year, as an illness (not Covid), diagnosed in January, has tended to affect my energy levels - hopefully things should be better in a couple of months time when treatment has finished. I have plans for events next year and I've recently started work on what may turn into a new book.
Despite the paucity of new postings, I see that this week the number of total views exceeded 250,000 and there are plenty of other posts to read.
We recently enjoyed a short break in Maldon, Essex, a pretty town, well situated for visiting local sights, one of which was the beautiful church of St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney. Inside I was impressed by the tomb effigies of the Marney family, but had a problem identifying the unusual stone from which they had been carved. As always, Alec Clifton-Taylor came to my rescue on page 156 of his excellent and comprehensive The Pattern of English Building, an indispensable guide to the building materials:
'Akin to dolerite, and another member of the group of rocks loosely termed greenstone, is catacleuse, a rare material deriving its name from the only place where it occurs, Cataclew Point, west of Padstow (so perhaps originally Cataclew's stone?). This can also look greenish in some lights, but normally it is almost black, slightly mottled, and with many spangles of a dark material known as augite. Since it is of finer grain and not as hard as most of the basic igneous rocks, it can be tooled and even carved, as can be seen, surprisingly enough, in the effigies of the first Lord Marney (d.1523) and his son (d.1525) at Layer Marney in Essex. The explanation is that Lady Marney came from Mawgan-in-Pydar, a few miles south of Padstow. It was also chosen for the fine effigy of Prior Vyvyan (d.1533) at Bodmin. As a building stone it is best seen in the church closest to the quarry, St Merryn, and was used for the font and much of the window-tracery at Padstow.'