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Stone Masons’ Marks

Back in the 18th century, stone masons were considered highly skilled tradesmen, and were much sought after. But they were paid according to how much stone they carved, so they would put their personal identification mark on each stone they carved, to show how much they’d done. In building such as churches, the marks would be hidden so that they didn’t

look like graffiti, but on working structures suchAs stone arch bridges, the marks were left on view.

The photographs here come from bridges 5 (Swifts Lane) and 18 (Lydiate Hill) on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. I believe both bridge date from 1774.

Although the marks on bridge 5 look like letters and numbers, this does not mean the person making the marks was literate, they simply copied what they had seen printed somewhere.