Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Mystery Masons' Marks


On the third course down, tally mark III; the course below is marked with II.
Cut stones showing masons marks. Indre et Loire. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Simon and I were having lunch in the backyard the other day. There must have been something about the light that day because we both noticed how many masons' marks there are on the back of our barn. They are simple tally marks, but the majority of the stones have them. We don't recall noticing them before, but they must have always been there since we've owned the building. We don't know how old they are. They could be medieval, and the marks of the original stone cutters. They could be 20th century and something to do with the granary.

Masons marks on an old building. Indre et Loire. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

There is a pattern to them. Stones in the same course have the same mark -- either I, II, III or IIII. I think there is a possibility that the marks relate to stones of different sizes, but if that is the case, at least two of the marks relate to stones which are very close in size. Perhaps they are just a way of indicating which course a block should go in.

Masons mark on an old building. Indre et Loire. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Generally mason's marks are a sort of signature, to indicate which blocks they should be paid for producing. These marks don't look quite like other masons' marks I've seen, which tend to be simple geometric shapes. They actually look more like carpenters' marks, which are to indicate which piece goes where. We have carpenters' marks on the wood in the attic of the house. 


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