All the old villages in Northamptonshire display a rich variety of local building materials. Before the days of easy transport, the prominent building materials would have had to have been sourced locally. Each village had a stone pit providing roughly dressed rubblestone masonry. In some cases there would have been several different types of stone available and of course the preferred method of roofing in this part of Northamp-tonshire would have been thatch. The slates from Collyweston would have provided the roof for grand houses like Sulgrave Manor but would have been too expensive for the majority of buildings locally.
Culworth had two types of stone available locally, the light coloured limestone and ironstone. It seems the smaller houses, like the Forge and Mouse Corner were built of limestone, the larger houses such as Culworth House, Fulford House, Eydon End and Gate House Farm were built with the ironstone.
There are also several houses in Culworth where the two stones are used in alternate courses giving an attractive horizontal striped effect, apparently a very regional feature in Northamptonshire. The end wall of Paddocks Farm, The Manor, Fairway Cottage and Dial House are such examples.
When the railways came, transport became easier and houses were then built with bricks. In fact some of the older stone properties have been faced with bricks. Perhaps this was a Victorian way of ‘modernising’ your property
There were no large building stone quarries, but enough stone must have been available for local needs. In Helmdon, however, the quarries were far more important and in the 18th century (between 1670s and 1770s) provided the stone to build Stowe House
Although Culworth did not provide building stone for grand houses there was a quarry which provided white limestone which when polished resembles marble. The stone came from quarries behind the spinney near Trafford Bridge. Evidence of deep pits still remain. This stone was combined with a black stone from Byfield Quarry as flooring. In 1712 it was said that ‘The Halls of most of the Gentlemen's Houses in that part of the County are paved with these two alternately set in Squares, in the usual manner of paving with Black and White Marble’. Canons Ashby in 1710, Edgcote House in 1752 and The Manor and Westhill Farmhouse still have examples of this flooring.
In the 19th century, Kelly’s Directories give little indication of any quarrying activity. In 1876 George Whitton of Culworth House was also said to be a ‘proprietor of iron ore mines’ but whether they were in Culworth is unclear. In 1854 Thomas Cakebread was listed as ‘marble and stone mason’.
Cakebreads are still supplying memorials in Banbury today. Between 1890 and 1910 George Yates, followed by Richard Yates, were listed as ‘stonemasons’. Old maps indicate ‘Old Sand Pit’ (now Walnut Close) and ‘Lime Kiln and Quarry’ (on the field behind Myrtle Cottage) but as to date, I could not find evidence of other quarries.