DSWAC Comments

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I'm presently reading "A Guide to Dry Stone Walling" by Andy

what do you think of it?


Your work and the work of other wallers is stunning. A real legacy to leave behind.

Barry Copp

The large stone wall surrounding Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia was once part of a huge estate called the Studley Estate. Studley was built in 1802 by Judge Alexander Croke, the vice-admiralty judge in Halifax. The eleven-room house was on a steep, rocky hill crowned by pines. The estate was self-sufficient, a place where Croke could retire after a day in court, or administering the colony. In 1816, Croke retired to England, and in 1831 the unintentional destruction of Studley began when soot in the chimney caught fire. Louisa and Matthew Richardson later rebuilt the house. The property came into the hands of Antoinette Nordbeck, daughter of a renowned local silversmith. She lived there with her friends, Reverend Robert Murray and his wife Elizabeth, and she bequeathed the house to them on her death. In 1913 Dalhousie received the forty-one acre estate. The house was demolished in 1949 for the Arts and Administration Building, now the Henry Hicks Building. The willows and oaks lining the original carriageway were cut down and the brook was filled in but even today, the remains of the dry-stone walls along Oxford, Coburg and South Streets are visible, bounding King's College and Dalhousie as they did Croke's Studley when the fields were first cleared 200 years ago. Studley was the former Halifax Golf Club, a very small nine-hole course that existed from 1896 to 1900. The nineteenth hole was on Lemarchant Street.

Ken Kendrick

I came across the story of your beehive hut construction on the web. With some help from my son, I recently made an effort to construct a dry, gravity stacked bee hive in the North Georgia mountains. Not as large or impressive as your group effort but the stones taught me a lot. I have no training in this, just a connection to the ancient ways. If there is an email address I would be happy to send you a photo. nsk3@bellsouth.net

David Madore

I am an avid landscaper who absolutely loves working with stone. I'm very very interested in the work that you do and was wondering how I might go about learning this artful dying trade? Your work and the work of other wallers is stunning. A real legacy to leave behind.

Thanks David for your comments. There are a number of ways of pursuing this line of work in Canada. Please write me at john at dswac.ca for more information.

Francoise Vulpe

So what happened with the Drummond Wall? FABULOUS website by the way. I'll take a stone wall over any other kind of fencing, any day, everyday.

bob c

Was looking to sign up for your event in BC on May 23 -24 by Victoria but the web page you gave to sign up and get info from does not work can you please help me out thank you

Debbie Collins

This is fascinating. I was looking at the blogger page for John Shaw Rimmington but could not figure how to contact him from that page so came here to ask my slightly unusual question. I am a ballet teacher and was looking for a good arch picture to show my girls who are learning pointe work. You see in pointe technique if you correctly point your feet and keep the toes lengthened without curling the final joint in the them, you get a very strong arch - I was telling the girls about how in architecture, stone arches without cement or other supports not only work but are extremely strong. I then demonstrated to them with my own foot how the integrity of the foot arch is completely broken when you allow the final joints in the toes to curl under. When weight was applied to that arch, it just curled further and bent out of shape - a mistake that can lead to bunions at least and major injury at worst. I was wondering if you had any pictures that would compare the results of good construction of a solid arch and poor construction that led to an uneven ugly looking arch with no strength/integrity to it - i.e. something more that a pile of rubble? I hope this makes sense.

Taylor MacDonald

Solid Masonry Inc. is looking for employees in the Ottawa area for the Spring of 2014. We have an ongoing project of a large 6' high dry stone retaining/privacy wall. Please send me your resume if you are interested. info@solidmasonry.ca

Thanks you,
Taylor MacDonald


I'm a beginner and really getting into sustainable development.. I've heard great things about DSWAC workshops and I am already looking forward for the terrace building workshop in May! Best wishes, Lemuel.

John redican

John, great weekend at Kingsmere, my first experience with boulder walls and despite being a lot of work,
For us 'old folk' the result of the weekends work was very satisfying. Very good bunch of people to work with and the weather almost cooperated.
Thanks for all of the guidance I learned a lot.


Beautiful!!!! Thank you for the invitation to view these beautiful dry stone walls.....I have seen stone walls before and never put thought into their creation and history. Thank you for the knowledge, to learn something new :)

Marc and Michele Harris


Michele and I both participated in one of John's dry stone wall seminar's last weekend. Although I'll admit that I went into it skeptically (Michele initiated the idea), we both had a great time and it was a fantastic learning experience. In fact we've since decided to move forwarded with building one on our property.

Thanks again John for sharing your knowledge, thanks Marie for the warm hospitality, and both of you for a fun weekend. Would recommend it to anyone open to learning something new and meeting new friends.

Thanks Marc and Michele. Im looking forward to helping you build your new dry stone walls up at cottage. John

Norman Haddow

I have just been going over all the previous Festivals.. Each year the events have been outstanding but as the years have passed the standard of work and the scale has developed to such an extent that I am always worried that the last one cant be bettered..So far my worries have been dispelled and I am so looking forward to 2012 when for the first time the site is outside Ontario.I have visited the farm and I am very excited. This is a wonderful place to see many old friends and meet the new generation of dry stone wallers. Artists and craftsfolk from across the world coming together for fun and an experience that is unique in our modern society. All the best John and Mary.

Thanks for your kind words Norman. We look forward to having you join in the festivities again this year.

Christopher Barclay

... and thank you John

May the new year bring you continued health, happiness and success!

Happy Hollyrock from Vancouver Island


That latest bridge looks like it was fun. Wish I had more free time to hang out with the bridgeheads. I am starting to think a bit more about exploring the possibility of a bridge down here in CT.

Alan A.

Hey John,Looks like you did some great walling features @ Rocktoberfest!!! Congratulations for a job well done (actually looks fantastic)!!



It was so great meeting you both (and your extended family) this weekend. I had a great time and now a whole new appreciation for this wonderful art and community.



Good morning,

Wanted to thank you for the fabulous weekend and festival. Enjoyed it thoroughly.



Hi Mary
I can not thank you john, collin ,maddy and every one involed enough in such a wow weekend i am so blowin away by everyone doin there artisic beutifical work i hope we can stay in touch thank you thank you sooooooooooooo much
Steve Lousie, jess saraha jennifer and all the people to come for hundreds of years .thanks

Cheers Steve