Scroll down or click on Home to return back
Use Search engine below to fine more pages.

Charmouth`s early fossil hunters
Jonas Wiscombe
The Lias of England and Wales 1893 Woodward
The photograph is of Samuel Clarke(1815-1888) with a Plesiosaur skull. He collected and sold fossils in the mid 19th century. He married Susan Diment in 1848. His sister was Sarah Clarke who married Edward Gollop in 1836. In 1861, 1871 1nd 1881 Census he lived on the Old Lyme Road near the Gordges and Gollops. The 1891 Census shows him as a Dealer in Fossils at no.2 Knapp Cottage at the junction of Higher Sea Lane. This is where Isaac Hunter lived before moving to Victoria Cottage in Higher Sea Lane.
Edward Cecil Hartsinck Day attended the new Royal School of Mines in London and took up a geological career. To advance this he, in 1861, moved to live in Charmouth, one of the most 'geological' locations in England. The Parish Records give us an insight into his time here. For his son William , aged just 2 was buried at St. Andrews in 1861. He was to have two more children whilst living here – Alice born in 1862 and William Hartsinck in 1865. His name appears on the Jury List for the village during his time here and is described as a Gentleman. The Charmouth Cricket Club was founded in 1863 and he was one of the founders and their Treasurer. He was elected Fellow of the Geological Society in the same year and published an important paper on the Middle and Upper Lias of the Dorset Coast. In this he identified a new shell bed in the Middle Lias which is now named Day's Shell Bed after him. The ammonite Dayiceras was also named after him by L.F. Spath following a suggestion from W.D. Lang, "to commemorate his important work on the Lias at Charmouth.“
In 1864 Day purchased "one of the most perfect Plesiosauri ever found on the Dorsetshire coast" for £40 from the local dealer Samuel Clark of Charmouth shown here on the left. He  was also assisted by a young Isaac Hunter, on the right in locating suitable examples for his collection.
The illustration shown above is from Owen`s “A monograph of the fossil Reptilia of the Liassic formations” published in 1863. The most remarkable feature of this discovery was that in 1864 Day sold it on to the British Museum for £200, a fortune at the time. The Plesiosaurus can still be seen in a showcase on the wall of the Natural History Museum in London and is illustrated here.
Day was highly active as a geologist while he was at Charmouth. He helped Huxley with his researches on belemnites. In 1865 he revealed the true situation of the cephalic spines in the fossil shark Hybodus anningae and in 1867 he acquired from Isaac Hunterof Charmouth, a second new species of Plesiosaurus, which Richard Owen was to have called Plesiosaurus laticeps.
Day left Charmouth for America in 1867and was Assay Master in the Columbia College School of Mining. He then became in 1872, Professor of Natural Sciences at the Normal College, New York, where he was also active as a botanist. He died on 4 January 1895 in Algiers, whilst on tour in an attempt to recover his health.