Caen Stone - Middle Jurassic - NW France (Lead Author WGT)
Caen Stone is a cream-coloured fossiliferous Middle Jurassic limestone (contemporaneous with the Bath Stone of England), quarried above and below ground in the area around Caen in Normandy, NW France. From the 11th century, southern England was the main importer of Caen Stone and again in the 19th century.
Although the same age as the oolitic Bath Stone, Caen Stone is not oolitic - it is a bioclastic, crinoidal, pelletal, grainstone-packstone. The Crinoid animal (Sea Lily) feeds by filtering sea water and produces lime mud faecal pellets. Such pellets (<0.1mm) are common in many Jurassic & Early Cretaceous limestones and comprise most of the fabric of Caen stone. The ratio of faecal pellets to bioclastic fragments affects the quality of Caen Stone. The more bioclastic content, the harder and paler the stone. The bioclastic grains weather proud and can be confused with ooids. The softer form of Caen Stone is more prone to weathering and has a yellowish colour.
Some weathered quoins reveal bioturbation in this saccharoidal bioclastic limestone. (see photo right)
Caen Stone is known in these cathedrals: St Paul’s London, Canterbury, Chichester, Rochester, Durham, Norwich. Also: Oxford Castle, Tower of London, Hatfield House, Eton College and Netley Abbey. .
In Dorset, the church, stables and schoolroom in Little Bredy were built by Benjamin Ferrey in 1850 using Caen Stone. Monkton Wyld Church just north of Lyme Regis has Caen Stone dressings (see Churches section) and below.
WGT/JT Feb 2017
Caen Stone is seen below in the windows and quoins of Monkton Wyld Church (qv). Externally, the south windows have a lime-wash coating which gives a very white appearance to the stone and carvings but, in places, this cover has worn off to reveal the true cream-colour of this Caen Stone.