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Datestones can be found on all different types of buildings, dating back hundreds of years. However, there is some uncertainty about their meaning, and not all are the same.
What is a datestone?
If you’ve noticed buildings with a carved decorative stone displaying a date, often accompanied by initials or other information, this is a datestone.
They come in all shapes and designs, from intricate carvings to simple plaques. They are often found on decorative architectural features such as keystones, gable stones and lintels, or may be embedded in a wall.
While it makes sense to assume that a datestone refers to the year in which the building was constructed, this is not always the case.
Do they record the date of construction?
One use may have been to commemorate the year of construction.
However, this is not always a reliable method of dating a building, as the original construction may have been demolished and rebuilt, with the datestone kept intact for aesthetic purposes.
Cornerstones serve a similar purpose, often detailing the date of construction and who laid the foundation stone, usually in a ceremonial manner.
Do they record a marriage date?
Where the decorative plaque features a pair of initials, this may be what is known as a marriage stone, commemorating the year of a couple’s wedding. Popular until Victorian times, they were often used by aristocracy or the wealthy middle class.
Traditionally, the man’s initials were carved on the left and the woman’s on the right. The design might include a coat of arms or some kind of religious or romantic symbolism.
However, in many cases the dates featured on these stones do not match up to marriage records and may instead refer to when the couple moved into the house or some other important date.
What is known for certain is that the datestone represents a strong connection between a family and their home, making them a beautiful and personal addition to the architecture.
Name and date stones from Stamford Stone at Home
We know how close your home is to your heart. Whether you’d like to give your house a name, embellish the facade with its date of construction, or immortalise something that means a lot to you, our carved commemorative stones and plaques are a beautiful finishing touch.
Choose your favourite limestone and we’ll hand carve the lettering of your choice. You can opt for something minimalist and understated, or something really special with additional carved details and gold leaf. Whatever you choose, we’ll create the perfect house date stone to represent the strong bond between your family and your home.