By William Mills
Horsham is famous for stone roofs. References stretch back many centuries.
The use of stone roofing slates is unusual in South east England, but in West Sussex the Horsham sandstone has a long history as a roofing material.
The Wealden clay was dug from immediately alongside the building under construction resulting in many of the duck ponds seen today.
This is the material roof slates are made from. In 1726 Richard Neve, a diarist, wrote; “This kind of covering is very neat. It shews very handsome.”
It’s a kind of slate known as ‘Horsham Stone’. Constructional details are similar to other large format stone slates, but the pitch of the roof is steeper.
As the quarrying industry declined and the supply of slates fewer the double overlap building technic being the single.
Historic Stone is a sandstone deposited in Sussex Rivers over 130 million years ago in the Cretaeous period.
It’s valued for its anti-slip properties. The Romans first used Horsham Stone nearly 2,000 years ago. Horsham stone is highly prized for its ability to split into thin roofing slates for many churches and medieval building across the south east.
It weathers into a range of beautiful yellows and browns giving unique colour to buildings.
The records also show quarry workings began in the twelfth century and continued until the 1960’s. The clay was dug out of pits. Traces have been found at the Bignor Roman villa.