High on Burbage Moor, you can find this Stone Cattle trough. Look closer and you can see that it is incomplete…… the middle section is still in there.
The trough seems out of place, miles from anywhere. The reality is that this was once the province of stonemasons, it was their workshop, a very much open air workshop.
Their skill was to find a rock of gritstone of suitable size. Then with basic hand tools, chisel and cut the stone to shape and size. It must have been tough work in a moorland environment that was often hostile. Despite their skill it sometimes went wrong. As in the case of this trough, the stone being a natural material, sometimes had a hidden imperfection…. a crack appeared. All the hard work wasted… and most likely the mason went unpaid
Finding a piece of incomplete stone carving such as a trough is rare. On this part of the moor what is more common are unfinished round Millstones and Grinding wheels.
There are many more of these wheels in this area. Apart from those that are incomplete due imperfection, there are many more that were just abandoned where they stood. Innovation resulted in a the speedier and cheaper manufacture of stone wheels, so as they say …. the bottom fell out of the market.
When walking across these moors I know they hide many stories of past life. Of all of them I do admire the skill and tenacity of those stonemasons, out in all weathers, I also ponder on their fate when their working way of life came to such an abrupt end.
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2022