The Purbeck quarries have a long history going back to Saxon times.
In the past the stone was quarried underground. It was back breaking work for most of the seams were not deep enough to allow a man to stand up. The old quarry men were a law unto themselves and rarely saw daylight during the winter, going underground before it was light and returning home after dark.
Their relationship with the local farmers was often acrimonious for they claimed an ancient right to quarry under any field they chose. It was believed that if a quarry man could encircle a piece of land with his tunnel, the stone in the middle was his. Sometimes rival tunnels would cross and then fights would break out beneath the fields.