Sunday, 2 December 2012

Fossils and the Church Fete

On Saturday Chris and I called in at the Church Fete. It gave me an opportunity to study some fossils. I refer not to the senior citizens thronging the church aisles - or I would have to include myself - but to those visible in the church masonry. Byfield's Holy Cross Church, which is a fine Grade 1 Listed building, is built entirely from Jurassic stone, much of which came from quarries at Helmdon. Where the stone is rich in iron few fossils are to be seen but, where the lime content is higher, they are frequent.


On the left of the picture a belemnite can be clearly seen; a less obvious one is present in the top right hand corner. Belemnites - squid-like marine creatures - must have been extremely common in Jurassic seas. Certainly they are common in stone of this type but the two shown are not particularly good examples. Here and there around the village ammonites are also to be seen but the provenance of the stone is not always known.

Many lichens are present on the masonry but I doubt I'll ever get around to dealing with them all. The obvious white crusts are patches of Diploicia canescens, an extremely common lichen in this kind of situation.

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