Quoining on the corners of Palazzo Aragona Gonzaga, Rome
Alternate horizontal quoining on a wall in East Ayrshire
Porch quoins, Palazzo Giusti, Verona

Quoins (/kɔɪn/ or /kwɔɪn/) are masonry blocks at the corner of a wall.[1] Some are structural, providing strength for a wall made with inferior stone or rubble,[2] while others merely add aesthetic detail to a corner.[3] According to one 19th-century encyclopedia, these imply strength, permanence, and expense, all reinforcing the onlooker's sense of a structure's presence.[4]

Stone quoins are used on stone or brick buildings. Brick quoins may appear on brick buildings, extending from the facing brickwork in such a way as to give the appearance of generally uniformly cut ashlar blocks of stone larger than the bricks. Where quoins are decorative and non-load-bearing a wider variety of materials is used, including timber, stucco, or other cement render.


Rustic quoins and keystone on the main entrance to the Palazzo Giusti, Verona

Ashlar blocks[edit]

In a traditional, often decorative use, large rectangular ashlar stone blocks or replicas are laid horizontally at the corners. This results in an alternate, quoining pattern.

Alternate cornerstones[edit]

Courses of large and small corner stones are used, alternating between stones of different thickness, with typically the larger cornerstones thinner than the smaller.[citation needed]

Alternate vertical[edit]

Tower of St Bene't's, Cambridge, showing long and short work[5]

The long and short quoining method instead places long stone blocks with their lengths oriented vertically, between smaller ones that are laid flat. This load-bearing quoining is common in Anglo-Saxon buildings such as St Bene't's Church in Cambridge, England.[5]


  1. ^ Rankine, William J. M. (1862). A Manual of Civil Engineering. Griffin, Bohn, and Co. p. 385.
  2. ^ Charles F.Mitchell. Building Construction. Part 1. First Stage or Elementary Course. Second Edition—Revised. Published by B.T. Batsford, 52 High Holborn. 1889. Page 48.
  3. ^ "Definitions for: Quoin". Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  4. ^ Encyclopaedia Perthensis. 576: John Brown. 1816.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ a b Rickman, Thomas (1848). An attempt to discriminate the styles of architecture in England : from the Conquest to the Reformation : with a sketch of the Grecian and Roman orders : notices of numerous British edifices :and some remarks on the architecture of a part of France (Fifth ed.). London: John Henry Parker. p. Appendix-xxii.

External links[edit]