The history of Bath Stone quarrying spans 2000 years from the start of the Roman era to the present day. The Romans as far as we know were the first to use Bath Stone when they built their great Baths.
Bath Stone is an Oolitic Limestone that was lain down as sediment in a warm shallow sea 170 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. Oolitic Limestone consists of minute spherical particles called Ooids, which usually consist of small fragments of shell coated with layers of calcite. Over time these have become cemented together to form the stone we find today.
The majority of limestone quarried in England comes from a belt of stone that runs from Portland and Purbeck on the south coast, northwards along the Cotswolds and into Yorkshire. This belt of limestone has been extensively quarried for centuries along its length and many of these workings have supplied the stones used in most of our famous buildings.
Although the stone comes from the same belt all have different compositions and can vary greatly in colour and quality. Calcite is the only mineral found, in the form of crystals or veins and even fossilised wood has been found in Bath Stone.