The Taynton Stone is a particularly excellent building stone, and has been described as the "best building-stone of the Oxford district" (Arkell, 1947). It has been used as a building stone across the Cotswolds, as well as much further afield, and can be seen in many of the buildings in Burford. The Taynton Stone is a hard limestone that formed in Middle Jurassic times, around 167 million years ago. At this time, the sea had spread across the land, and Burford was submerged under a warm, tropical sea. Fossils of the animals that lived on this seafloor have been preserved in the Taynton Stone, and include oysters, brachiopod shellfish and coral fossils.
The stone varies considerably along its length, which also means that it varies in quality. Although it was quarried extensively all around the Burford area in the past, it's thought that the best quality stone came from a quarry in Taynton, a small village two miles north-west of Burford.
Taynton Quarry closed down at the end of the 1990s, but it has an impressive history. Stone extracted from the site was used in many great buildings, such as St Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, and many of the University buildings in Oxford, such as the New Bodleian Library, Merton College and Christ Church.
The Taynton Stone is used in the upper stage of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford.
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