The Staddle or Saddle Stone: It is a low mushroom shaped stone arrangement of a conical bottom (cone like shape) with a flat or slightly domed shaped circular stone resting on top.
Many times these stones were made of a single stone, but most often the merging of the two shapes. They date from the 17th and 18th centuries and were developed through “need”. They were practical foundation stones which kept wooden structures from rotting, with the cap also acting as a barrier to vermin trying to gain access to stores of hay, grain or game.
These two saddle stones were recently housed at our Architectural Antique Shop -RF ANTIQUES- but, because they are quite coveted by avid gardeners or those wanting to own a piece of history and something unusual, we do not keep them long in our courtyard!
Below you can see how the stones support a wooden structure.
above picture is compliments of http://www.peter-thomson.co.uk/
They can be mainly found used as support devices in England, Galicia and Asturias (Northern Spain).
These magical toadstool like stone structures, found in England and northern Spain, often times they make their way across the border into France — These functional stones (originating in medieval times) were used as agricultural building supports, holding up granaries, haystacks and beehives to allow air circulation underneath. Whether these were used in France as support systems or for grinding as the quern stone, leads us to believe because of Frances’ proximity to Spain they very well could have adapted the practice.
Below are bee hives being kept off the ground by the saddle stones.
Over time it was realized that original wooden structures used for support were not as long lived AND could not support weight as nicely as stone. However, some (but not typically) staddles were also made of iron as shown below holding up a hayrick. (The Chiltern Open Air Museum [photo: A.Reeve])
Many staddle or saddle stones are covered with lichen which adds to their value.
picture from VandM.com (pinterest)
As with hay carts, shapes of saddle stones are peculiar to counties and regions. Always carved from the local stone, the archetypal (very typical of a certain kind of person or thing) four-sided stone base with circular cap is common to the Cotswolds,
however a conical base would indicate a staddle stone from Hampshire.
Just looking at these “base supports” one can see its functionality: the base stones taper towards the top with an overlapping cap stone placed above, making it almost impossible for a rodent to climb up and into the hay or grain stored above. The air could freely circulate beneath the stored crops and this helped to keep it dry. A very simple, functional idea.
Granary sitting on staddle stones at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.
The word staddle comes from the Old English word stathol or base. In German the word stadal means barn. In the US, staddle stones were used as boundary stones to mark corners of a property. Today, they can be placed in a woodland garden as a focal point, or as bollards along a road or to mark an entrance.
So charming and unusual !!
We hope you have enjoyed this post and learned something new! When you visit our garden antique shop in Fairhope, Alabama or visit England, France or Spain and see these unusual mushroom shaped stone structures you will be very attune to what their original function was developed for!
above picture compliments of http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunto1/6893396630/ and some borrowed from http://www.negarden.com/blog/staddlestones , Pinterest. All pictures utilized from an internet source is for sharing information only of this unusual antique.
Au Revoir! A La Prochaine!!