In line with the general ‘hobby’ approach, we passed a stone quarry no larger than a farm outbuilding by the roadside just outside Sassy. Intrigued, I had to find out more.
The fine creamy Caen limestone, ideal for carving, was first quarried by the Romans and resumed in the 11th century to be used in the flurry of building projects of the time. It was used in the Caen Memorial in 1988 and to build some of Englands’ most iconic landmarks: the Tower of London, Canterbury Cathedral, Big Ben’s clock tower and the original Westminster Abbey in 1060 built by Edward the Confessor. Quite how the roadside quarry output fit in the official restriction of 9000 tonnes per year I wouldn’t like to speculate.
Along with the 16 million tourists a year, Normandy’s healthy agro-economy certainly mean that it’s not impoverished. Today, in terms of contribution to Frances total economy, Normandy Upper and Lower rank somewhere around the middle, but Medieval Normandy was considered something of a powerhouse thanks to the rise of the Catholic Church.