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It was quickly discovered that the surround was made from St. Bee's sandstone. St. Bee's, a characteristically dark red colored sandstone, is very distinctive and only found in quarries located near the town of Whitehaven in Cumbria England. The stone has been quarried since at least the Roman occupation of the British Isles and was popular for complex architectural decorations in both England and the British Colonies. Interestingly, St. Bee's had also been found in other ca. 1764 rooms at Montpelier, including hearths in the upper bedchambers and a fireplace surround in the ca. 1764 Dining Room. Because the stone was used elsewhere in the ca. 1764 section of Montpelier, finding it in the Drawing Room led the Restoration Team to believe that the rediscovered surround possibly dated to ca. 1764. But could the surviving fragments of the Drawing Room surround be positively matched to other ca. 1764 architectural elements?


A piece of the St. Bee's sandstone surround found behind the ca. 1880s chimneypiece. The stone can be identified by its distinctive red color.