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Country stiles

Here is an interesting piece that I found in a charity shop.

Firstly, we all know what a country stile is. You will find them in hedgerows all over the country but in Cornwall you can find them made of serpentine. They may look as though they are made from any old stone but some are serpentine, as shown in the photograph below, and built long before anyone attributed a value to the stone. The give away is the well polished patches of stone where generations of hikers' boots have polished the stile as they have climbed over them. The postcard on the right is dated 1907

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The photographs below show a little serpentine piece that I found in a charity shop. The helper did not know what it was meant to represent and did not know what the stone was and it was for sale at 20p. It is not valuable but what it does show is a perfect example in miniature of a Cornish serpentine stile.

Perhaps it was made by an apprentice to the trade or by a serpentine worker just for his amusement.

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The piece is 4 inches long; 2.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches high. The sides are etched to give the impression that the are made of individual stones.

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Each steps is carved and glued into position and the base is there to hold it altogether. A stile in a hedgerow would not need a stone base.

The stone is just an ordinary uninteresting piece of common serpentine found on the Lizard, but the whole end product is a perfect example in miniature of a Cornish country stile; and I am willing to bet that this was made some time ago.