Wheathampstead Heritage: Virtual Museum Exhibit

Nomansland Common Puddingstone
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A distinctive local rock marking the boundary of Wheathampstead

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On the side of the cricket pitch at Nomansland Common is a Hertfordshire Puddingstone. 

This is a highly distinctive rock, formed by flint pebbles cemented together with silica quartz, that is largely limited to the county of Hertfordshire.  Pieces of it have sometimes been used as in the construction of churches, such as St Helen's in Wheathampstead. 

Although almost all of this stone is currently underground, it has proved a useful way of marking boundaries.  Today it stands on the border between the parishes of Wheathampstead and Sandridge, and formerly it marked the boundary between lands belonging to Westminster and St Albans Abbeys. The stone was put in place in 1429.

The distinctive rock is largely confined to Hertfordshire. Despite a superficial similarity to concrete it is entirely natural and derives its name because it resembles Christmas pudding.  Hertfordshire puddingstone was credited in local folklore with several supernatural powers, including being a protective charm against witchcraftit was sometimes referred to as Hag stone or Witch stone. Parish records from Aldenham relate that in 1662 a woman suspected of having been a witch was buried with a piece of it laid on top of her coffin to prevent her from escaping after burial.  It is also used for jewellery and milling grain. It is sometimes referred to as Growing Stone because farmers believed it grew in fields.

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To read an article from The Pump, Winter 2013, click here.

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puddingstone, Nomansland, Sandridge

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Date Created: 15/12/2012 12:19:04, by: Richard   Date last edited: 01/01/2014 17:08:05, by: David

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