Why is it so cold!?

Blue skies over the Woolley Valley this morning but a bitingly cold wind. Why are we dragging winter with us into early summer?

Well, Julian Vincent helped solve the mystery as to what useful purpose these decorative pieces of metal served.


“The S-shaped bits of metal are attached to cross ties and hold the wall against falling outwards as the weight of the roof tends to flatten its “A” shape and push the walls out. Cheaper than putting in a buttress, but possible only if there are two walls tending to move in opposite directions.”

But l am still hoping someone can tell me what purpose these curved pieces of stone served.


Meanwhile, l thought you would like to know what story l was covering in Bath five years ago this month.

Here’s a Facebook picture from that time.

Screenshot 2020-05-06 at 07.40.59

Love to say what is there now is a big improvement. But l cannot.


  1. To save the wall from being bumped into by carriage wheels….

    Sent from my iPad


  2. The stones were to protect the wall behind from being damaged by the wheels of carts as the went round the corner. The “pavement” is a later addition.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Jane and Jenny have given the reason – they’re called touchstones. There are several in Upper Lansdown Mews, which must have been a tight fit getting the carriages into the stables.

  4. It’s a result of a tract of arctic air, coming directly down, due north to due south. You should know that at this temperate latitude, we live on the cusp of the cold north, and the warm south. Sometimes (as has been in recent weeks, we get weather from Spain,north Africa, the Azores etc., and at other times from the north and north east. Those “S” shaped devices are, as you say, to keep the walls of parlous buildings from bulging outwards. They are connected to rods inside the building, and they are called ‘anchor plates’, and are attached to ‘tie rods’ inside.

    “Self-opnionated of Lansdow”.XX.


  5. I think those lard pieces of stone were put at the foot of the gateway pillars to protect the structure from being scraped by carriage or cart wheels as they entered or exited,

  6. Hi Richard. I agree with the above explanations (for the stone). Many good examples exist in the villages where the main traffic danger would have been farm carts. These were heavy, difficult to manoeuvre and could be driven by anyone (without a licence or insurance of course). I know the name of these stones as ‘Spur Stones’ – it is often the case that these things have different local names. Regards, Tony.

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