Limestone Quarrying and Limeburning


Limestone quarrying has been an important industry in Coddington in the past. Limeburning was an important cottage industry up to beginning of the 20th century wherever suitable limestone and fuel were both available.

Limestone quarrying

The village sits on the eastern edge of Newark's Beacon Hill. The hill's western slope was also the site of Camerata's Gypsum Quarry and Brickworks. Trade directories describe our soil as clayey to the west and gravely to the east; the subsoil being blue lias (lime)stone, marl and gravel.

Stone cottage in Coddington (now demolished)    

We have a reference to historic stone quarrying in Coddington that says the masonry of Newark and Sleaford Castles contain some Coddington stone. However we need to look for evidence to corroborate this - the 1945 article is quite lighthearted (and also says that a skeleton of a 'saurian monster' was found at Coddington quarries).


Thomas Blagg's 1906 book 'Antiquities of Newark' records that:

" … it is certain that some time after the Bishops of Lincoln recovered their (Newark) Castle in the thirteenth century, building on an extensive scale was again begun on it. Bishop Alexander's materials seems to have been chiefly lias limestone rubble, or rag-stone, probably got from the adjacent parish of Coddington, with quoins, facings, and ashlar work generally of Ancaster or Haydor oolite, doubtless from the same quarries from which he built his castle at Sleaford."

When William Philipot founded his Newark Almshouse charity in 1566 he stipulated, "that its pavage be not made with any stones from Beacon Hill but only such stones as lie under the {-} of stone now commonly used or else such other blue stone as is gotten in Coddington Field".




One of Coddington's four open fields was called "Stonepit Field" in the 1760 Enclosure Act. Three Lime pits are marked on Sanderson's 1835 Map (20 Miles around Mansfield). They were:

  • near the fishpond
  • opposite the drive to Beaconfield Hall and
  • in a field behind the windmill on Balderton Lane.

Two groups of lime kilns were marked on Beacon Hill - one off Has(l)ock Lane. According to the 1907 book by Cornelius Brown the Chapel on King's St Newark (now Staythorpe Social Club) is built with Coddington stone.


Stone in our vernacular buildings


'Clay wall' on Chapel Lane, a wall from a now derelict farmbuilding of Charity Farm is built from limestone. Perhaps it was called that because  limestone was used for marling the claylands.


The buildings in the village are now almost entirely brick-built, but several have limestone foundations or remnants of limestone masonry (for example Sunnyside Farm and the cottage that became Manor Dairy Farmhouse). Stone foundations (often a few feet high) were often used for timber framed buildings, to prevent rotting of the wall plates through direct contact with the soil.


Hilltop Farm barns (Balderton Lane) are stone and brick.


Hall farmhouse (which once stood on Main St, next to the Inn on the Green) and several cottages (including two near the mill on Balderton Lane) were largely built of Coddington stone, but are now demolished.


Good sized similar stone walls can be seen at Newark Friary. Balderton now has many more stone buildings remaining than Coddington does. 


In the past local flooring was often made of reeds and plaster aggregate.


Limeburning from Coddington Trade Directories

Limestone was used for mortar and rendering, and burnt for quicklime -which when added slowly to water produces a slurry of slaked lime, used in whitewash. The reaction between quicklime and water is quite violent and produces a lot of heat.


From the 1500s lime also began to be used in agriculture to improve the fertility of clay soils.


These people are listed as limeburners. They may be the owners of the kilns rather than workers, and they often did other things too, like farming or shop-keeping.






Lists John W Hudson as a lime-burner.


Lists Christopher Beckett, John W Hudson, Garratt Ordoyno Jnr. and John Young as lime-burners.

1841 Census:

- Christopher Beckit 40 year old stone cutter, with wife Ann 35, 7 children aged 12-1.

- Thomas Becket 40 year old limeburner, with wife Rebekah 30 and 8 children 15-1.

- John and Richard Southern are 25 and 20 year old lime burners living in household with William and Jane Langton.

- John Hancliffe 35 year old quarryman, with Leah 30 and William 5.

- George Bennet 45,Henry Holmes 20 both quarrymen living in Lawson household.

- William Towne 30 year old lime burner, with wife Selina 30 and 3 children 8-5 months.

-Simon Johnson 25 year old limeburner with wife Mary 25 and 2 children 3-1.

-Israel Reynolds 20 year old quarryman living with the Oxbys.

- John Hudson 30 year old lime merchant, with wife Mary 25, 2 children 7-3 and lodger Thomas Goss 35 lime burner.

1848 and 1850

List Christopher Beckett, William Blackbourn, and John Young as lime-burners.



Lists Christopher Beckett, Ann Blackbourn, Francis Fryer and John Young as lime-burners.



Lists Christopher Beckett, Ann Blackbourn, John and Edward Young as lime-burners.



Lists Christopher Beckett as a stone dealer, Edward Blackbourn as a lime-burner and stone dealer, whilst Edward and WilliamYoung are both lime-burners.


Lists Edward Blackburn, Edward Young and WilliamYoung as lime-burners.


1879, 1881 and 1885

Lists only Edward Young as a limeburner.

1881 Census: William Daniels 40 year old widower born in Hough Lincs, a stonequarryman.


1892, 1894, 1897 and 1900

Lists only William Young listed as a limekiln owner.


In 1912 Mrs Sarah Young is a farmer and Joseph Richard Young a beer retailer, but there are no limeburners listed.


In 1916 Directory no Youngs or lime workers are included.


The Young family were gentleman farmers ssociated with Sunnyside Farm. Sunnyside Farmhouse, on Main St is next to Manor Farm in the centre of the village. It has a large apparently early-Victorian brick frontage with an older range and original brick and pantile farm buildings behind.