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Last edited 09 Jan 2020
Puddingstone (sometimes called plum-pudding stone or raisin-pudding stone) is a rock, typically a spotty, dark brown conglomerate that resembles a Christmas pudding. A conglomerate is a stone that is made up of very well-rounded pebbles that are bound together by a natural cementitious material. The colour of the stones is usually in sharp contrast to the colour of the sandy matrix in which they are set.
There are several different varieties of puddingstone with varying origins, composition and geographical distribution, such as those found in southern England, the US and Canada. The material has been used for building in the Home Counties (except Kent) for centuries.
Puddingstone typically comprises small, rounded stones of flint and sandstone, cemented together by a silica or iron oxide cement. It occurs in the London basin, Essex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and some parts of Bedfordshire. It can sometimes feel very hard but some types are softer and can even be crumbled by hand. Puddingstone is therefore not regarded as a premium building stone. Nevertheless, it has been used for construction – mainly for churches – where nothing else was available or it was convenient to quarry.
Notable UK examples include the church at Chobham, Surrey; the tower of the parish church in Wokingham Berkshire; Beeleigh Abbey, Essex, and in some parts of Buckinghamshire, where it was used for the foundations of churches.
Puddingstone also occurs in the USA, such as in the Schunemunk mountain, Orange County, New York (where there is a 910m-thick bed), and also around Boston, as well as in Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
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