Bradgate Park - Ruins Outcrop

Delve into Bradgate Parks fiery geological past.

A microscopic view of the minerals in Markfieldite.

Bradgate House was one of the earliest brick-built country houses in England, and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for Nine Days in 1553. The Ruins are protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by Historic England. Bradgate Park Trust is working with local archaeologists and universities to discover more about the rich stories and heritage they tell us.

On the western side of the ruins of Bradgate House you can find a small but prominent outcrop of rock. Initially it may look like many of the other rocks you have seen, but take a closer look and you will realise it is quite different. Try and find a section that has been polished by people repeatedly stepping on that spot – it helps to reveal the rock’s secrets! You will note that the stone is made of crystals – pink, green, and grey. This is an igneous rock, formed from the cooling of liquid magma within the earth’s crust around 560 million years ago. If we look under the microscope we can see that some of the crystals are almost mixed together, or inter-fingering. When this happens a rock is described a granophyric, and in this case it tells us the magma was intruded into rocks which weren’t very deep in the crust. This rock is known to geologists as the South Charnwood Diorite, but is more commonly known as Markfieldite, named after the nearby village of Markfield.

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