Binstead Quarry

The following extracts are from a number of google searches.


Binstead is recorded in 1086 in the Domesday Book as Benestede.[5] It became known for the quality of its limestone which led to a local quarrying industry, 


One of the earliest recorded of quarrying was by the first Norman Bishop of Winchester, Walkelin, who was granted half a hide of land by William the Conqueror. He used the stone to construct Winchester Cathedral starting in 1079. Subsequently the stone was used in the building of Chichester Cathedral, Romsey Abbey and part of the Tower of London.


The Binstead quarries were at Binstead on the Isle of Wight Estates, and were worked for many centuries, intermittently, until the early 20th century. The Estate also owned quarries at Gurnard, which were active in the 18th century.[1]

In 1872, for instance, the Fleming Estate received £69 16s 6d for stone sold from Binstead by quarryman William James.[2]James was 'the last of a long line of excavators', who finally abandoned the quarry in 1876.[3]

By 1889, the quarries were 'all worked out or abandoned'.[4] But shortly before 1912, a small seam was opened up in the copse west of Binstead Church.[5] The War Shrines, built 1917, are reputed to be the last buildings made of this quarried stone.


The quarries for the extraction of the stone vary in depth from ten to twenty feet, and appear to have been opened without regard to any regular plan, wherever it was thought a layer of compact stone could be easily reached.’ Gideon Algernon Mantell,Geological excursions round the Isle of Wight (1847).


 No documentary references to woodland within the medieval manor of Binstead have been identified but it is known that the Binstead area has been subject to quarrying activity over a very long period of time. Bembridge Limestone has been worked on the Island since the Iron Age and Roman periods. The limestone was recovered from several sites across the north of the Island but the quarries at Binstead were the most important. In the Saxon period a particular facies of superior limestone known as the ‘featherbed’ or ‘Quarr Stone’ was first worked. Exported consignments of this stone were used for architectural detail in a number of pre-conquest churches in Hampshire and East Sussex. The heyday of the Binstead quarries was from the 12th to the 14th century. They gave their name to the adjacent Cistercian abbey of Quarr and provided stone for the Norman cathedral 1 The abbey of Quarr was established in about 1133 as a daughter-house of the abbey of Savigny. It was granted land called Shaldefleet [Escaudeflot] by Hugh Gernon, lord of Chale (Hockey 1991; 1, 20).


Pevsner4 notes both the geological interest and the suitability of the island’s limestone for building:

On the Isle of Wight there is some good limestone such as those of Binstead, west of Ryde, and Quarr, near by, It can be seen both in local buildings, and further afield, but still in Hampshire, in Winchester cathedral. It is interesting and unusual among limestones in containing a rich assemblage of fossilized freshwater organisms. Most, in fact virtually all, other British limestones are of marine origin.

The Roman historian Suetonius recounts the conquest of the Isle of Wight by the Emperor Claudius in AD 43, .hence the appropriateness of the Company name Bardon Vectis, Vectis Insula being the Roman name for the island. It is, too, with the Romans that the history of the systematic quarrying of stone and the manufacture of bricks and tiles on the Isle of Wight begins.


 A recent observation mentioned by Dr Ian West was that the main difference in modern theories in comparison to older ones, is the realisation now that the southern Isle of Wight was uplifted relatively early. The Creechbarrow Limestone in Dorset is of Bartonian age, but not very different in facies from parts of the Bembridge Limestone (late Eocene). he went on to say that perhaps the Bembridge Limestone, including the Binstead Stone, overstepped southward onto the Chalk, from which it received its calcium carbonate. but that it was an area that need much further investigation and which he hopes to include in future studies. 


Corbels at Romsey Abbey

 painting by Rex Trayhorne

Romsey Abbey corbels and grotesques history architecture

Site last updated 6th December 2019

This Website is best viewed on a  laptop or tablet.

This website was designed and built by Roy Romsey -


  • s-facebook
  • Twitter Metallic
  • s-linkedin
Share your thoughts!


If you have information about specific corbels at Romsey Abbey, and which would be of interest to others, please email it to:-

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now