070227.Tucking Mill, Pilgrimage to Smith of the Rocks

February 27, 2007 at 12:18 AM | Posted in Architecture, Chisel Marks, people, Pilgrimage, somerset, Tucking Mill | 10 Comments

Copy of 070215.44.Somset.Tucking Mills.WmSmith House
Why is there a car there? Why is it a red car? Someone told me that red coloured cars are the ones most likely to be stopped by the police for speeding or other traffic infringements. (See JC’s comment.)

House of Geologist William Smith (1769-1839)

“Another claim of Monkton Combe to fame is as the starting-place of the science of geology in this west country. At the hamlet called Tucking Mill at the western extremity of the Parish on the now abandoned canal, which stands a house which bears a modest marble tablet with the inscription—

In this house lived
William Smith
The father of English Geology

“This ingenious pioneer of science was born in 1769 and became a mineral surveyor and civil engineer. In 1794 he was appointed engineer to the Soon Coal Canal, the one which used to pass through Monkton Combe but is new extinct and superseded by the Railway to Hallathrow. He bought this house, now the office of the Fuller’s Earth Factory, and made it his residence, and also traveled much about the country observing strata. He was the first to lay down the important formula of the identification strata by their characteristic organic remains, the great key to unlock the definite order of organic succession in the crust of the earth. (vide Prestwhich Geology, vol. ii, p. 190). He was also the first man to frame a complete geological map of England and Wales. A reminiscence of his country home remains embedded in the nomenclature of Geology, in the name “Midford Sands,” given to a certain formation found at the top of the Upper Lias and at the base of the Oolite series. These “Sands” were exposed in the making of the Somerset and Dorset Railway, the long tunnel between Bath and Midford being cut through them. They are found also at other places in the hills around Bath.” – D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924) 29-30.
Clearly the original marble tablet was removed and “re-erected” in 1932 (possibly this refers to more than the plaque.)
Copy of 070215.45.Somset.Tucking Mills.WmSmith House
Ironically, he was sent to King’s Bench Prison for debt after he published his famous map and others merely plagiarized his work without paying him. It’s all over the internet today, and for this post I merely lifted it off a random site without credit to the site or payment made. Thankfully dead people don’t really need royalties, and they wouldn’t be valid anymore since he’s really dead…been so for a while now. (See Barbara’s comment.)

William Smith’s geological map of England and Wales (and part of Scotland) published in 1815:

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