Gallagher is the last remaining company still actively quarrying Kentish Ragstone. Kentish Ragstone is the only hard rock available at shallow depth in the South East of England. The nearest similar resources are over a hundred miles away in Somerset and Leicestershire; using this material would involve significant additional transport and associated environmental costs. The strength and durability of Kentish Ragstone make it particularly suitable as an aggregate within our built environment. Moreover, to maintain the local character of Kent's architecture, Gallagher's Hermitage Quarry supplies building stone both for restoration and for new construction.
Kentish Ragstone is an important natural resource and is the most widespread building stone used throughout the South East of England. It has been used for over 2000 years as an attractive and functional building stone for many buildings in and around the Maidstone area, and for famous buildings in London, eg The Tower of London, and as a high quality crushed rock aggregate. Kentish Ragstone is being increasingly specified by architects as awareness of its attributes grow.
It is called ragstone as 'rag' is a term for any hard stone that is difficult to work with. Kentish Ragstone was difficult to carve with early tools because of its inherent hardness, giving it a 'raggy' surface, so it was generally used for rough walling. However, by the Medieval period improved stone-working techniques ensured fine dressings and Kentish Ragstone was then used for window tracery, quoins and ashlar walling.