Last edited 11 Mar 2021


The Orwell Clunch Pit, near Cambridge, is a medieval quarry that was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1985.

[edit] Introduction

Clunch is a form of soft, chalky limestone rock that closely resembles chalk and shares many of its characteristics, but with lower density. It is used mainly in eastern England and Normandy.

The term is also generically applied to soft, inferior building stone that is used in place of stronger, more desirable material.

[edit] Characteristics

In its freshly quarried state, clunch is soft and holds water, which makes it easier to cut. Once dry, it hardens and becomes more difficult to cut.

Clunch was used extensively in medieval times as a building material. It was often used for chimneys, property boundary walls and small agricultural buildings.

It was not suitable for large scale use, since it would easily erode when exposed to chemicals or severe weather. Structures made from clunch had to be protected with paint, cement or stucco and could then be finished with a lime wash.

However, even when the surfaces were covered, clunch was not especially durable and could even be damaged by frost. Despite this, it was often used in certain parts of the country, since it was inexpensive and widely available.

--Heidi Schwartz

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again