Celebration of life for Purbeck stonemason Trev Haysom

Well known Langton Matravers resident and world authority on Purbeck stone, Treleven Haysom has died at the age of 81 and there’s to be an event to celebrate his life.

Known as Trev, he was one of the eleven generations of the Haysom family to have quarried Purbeck stone in Dorset since 1698.

Trev with his son Mark and father Walter
Haysom family

Trev Haysom with his son Mark as a child, and his father Walter

Mastery of historic building restoration

Following his death on Monday 7th August 2023, his family have organised a celebration of his life to take place at 2.30 pm on Sunday 10th September 2023 at Leeson House in Langton Matravers, Dorset. They would like to let everyone who knew or worked with Trev know they would all be welcome.

Trev Haysom managed and owned the family stone and quarry business, originally at the St Aldhelm’s Quarry but over the years the company expanded buying Lander’s Quarries. Trev’s son Mark currently runs the two masonry works as Haysom Purbeck Stone.

Not only involved in quarrying and stone masonry, Trev also became distinguished for his mastery of historic building restoration in relation to Purbeck stone and especially Purbeck Marble. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bournemouth University in 2014, in recognition of his unrivalled knowledge of the Purbeck stone industry.

Trev and his wife Sue
Haysom family

Trev and his wife Sue

Published book in 2020

In 2020 he published a comprehensive history of the industry called Purbeck Stone, which is widely regarded as the most authoritative book on the subject. Among the practical information about Purbeck stone and the history of the industry, there are also many tales of working in the quarries.

In the introduction to the book he counts himself lucky to have been brought up in an age before parents monitored every action of their offspring, writing:

“My father’s approach to us children mucking about in the quarry was ‘keep out of the way’. We dug away into an old waste bank or had a go at chiselling as the mood took us or we ventured off down Pier Bottom; all of which I preferred to school.”

Growing up in Langton Matravers, Trev went to the local school and then Swanage Grammar. He trained as a stonemason at Weymouth College where he was awarded two top City and Guilds’ medals. Apprenticed to his father Walter, he served some of this apprenticeship at Chichester Cathedral.

Trev with sculpture of John Nash
Haysom family

Trev with the Purbeck stone bust of architect John Nash at The Church of All Souls, Langham Place in London

Long and distinguished career

Over his long career he advised conservators, architects, academics and students on all aspects of Purbeck stone and marble and their uses in new construction and in the restoration of historic buildings.

With Purbeck stone and marble used lavishly in the original construction of all the great English cathedrals and other historic buildings over the centuries, his and his company’s restoration work can be seen in many famous places including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and Dover Castle.

Trev’s work can also be seen locally including the impressive Purbeck stone cross near to St Nicholas’ Church in Studland.

Expertise in Purbeck stone

Due to his expertise in Purbeck stone and the fossils within the rock, a cretaceous mammal identified from a fossilised tooth found in Purbeck, was called Dorsetodon Haysomi in his honour.

Away from his work, Trev was a keen ornithologist and particularly knowledgeable on Purbeck’s seabirds. He compiled a number of seabird surveys published in the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society, which greatly contributed to the study of their populations.

His life’s work with stone and his relationships with many of the older generation of quarrymen gave him a unique understanding of Purbeck’s geology and industry and he will be much missed, not only by his family and friends but by all who knew and worked with him.

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