If, like me, you have never heard of staddle stones then hopefully this little guide will be enlightening.
The history of staddle stones
The name itself is believed to mean ‘wooden feet’ which suggests that at first the staddles, or supports to use another word, were made from wood. This is a word from Middle English staddle or stadle is stathel, from Old English stathol, a foundation, support, or trunk of a tree.
Saddle stones, also known as settle stones, mushroom stones, stone mushrooms, or pad stones, have a rich history. They are thought to date back to the 17th century. They were used to lift wooden buildings above ground level to protect from vermin and water damage.
The name has become integrated into the landscape with bridges, houses, farms, and other structures incorporating the name ‘staddle’. Such as Staddle Bridge or Staddlethorpe.
Stone staddles were longer lasting and a more reliable way of supporting structures which were sometimes a considerable weight.
The Staddle Stone is a functional stand ornament and used originally in the Cotswolds as a means of keeping grain safe from vermin. Today they are more commonly used as a decorative garden feature, or more practically to deter vehicles from parking on lawns or verges, this being the toadstool-shaped version.
How they are used now
Today, staddle stones are not just historical artefacts but also functional and decorative features in modern construction. They are particularly popular in the construction of premium oak structures being traditional post bases for oak and timber buildings and garages. Both Staddle stones and pad stones are still often used in wooden building design and finish off timber garages or stables beautifully. These include supporting oak or timber framed structures such as houses, garages, outdoor rooms, offices, porches, pergolas, and gazebos.
Natural stone is used for the modern staddle stone such as Ham stone, as it is superior for weight-bearing applications due to its inherent strength and durability. It does not require a curing period before it can bear weight unlike precast or reconstituted stone. You can get different finishes on the modern stones which compliment different designs or build styles.
So, when you are thinking about a new build consider using staddle stones to base your oak frame upon.