I know, I know, that title is incredibly bad – but I just couldn’t help myself.

In an email conversation with my US pal, Rox, she referred to the stone blocks of which so many Yorkshire buildings are made as ‘bricks’ – turned out she hadn’t realised we shaped stone before using it. I had never realised before how important building materials are to regional identity, in the UK at least. Here are some pics of the sandstone used up at the now ruined Howley Hall.

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Sandstone is soft, and therefore easy to shape into blocks, but also very prone to weathering. Howley Hall stands at the top of a hill, on an exposed outcrop – rather like Hardwick Hall, it was built as a big statement to the surrounding peasants and landowners. However an exposed site means regular maintenance is necessary – which Hardwick Hall, a National Trust property, gets, and Howley Hall doesn’t.

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One benefit of the weathering means the beautiful patterns in the rocks are exposed.

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Do not get excited about the blue streaks; they’re the remnants of some vandal with a can of spray paint.

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I do love interesting bits of rock. Maybe I should retrain – yet again – this time as a geologist.

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