William Buckland

William Buckland

William Buckland

Birth : (1784-03-12)12 March 1784 Axminster, Devon, England

Death : 14 August 1856(1856-08-14)(aged 72) Islip, Oxfordshire,England

Personal Information

Name William Buckland
Birth (1784-03-12)12 March 1784 Axminster, Devon, England
Birth Place Axminster, Devon, England
Death (1856-08-14)(aged 72) Islip, Oxfordshire,England
Died At Islip, Oxfordshire,England
Nationality English
Alma Mater Winchester College Corpus Christi College
Fields Palaeontology
Famous Research Megalosaurus,coprolites

Word Cloud

Events Occured in Scienctist Life


William Buckland DD, FRS (12 March 1784 – 14 August 1856) was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster.


He was educated first at Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon, and then at Winchester College, from where he won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in 1801, and graduating BA in 1805.


He went on to obtain his MA degree in 1808, became a Fellow of Corpus Christi in 1809, and was ordained as a priest.


In 1813, Buckland was appointed reader in mineralogy, in succession to John Kidd, giving lively and popular lectures with increasing emphasis on geology and palaeontology.


In 1818, Buckland was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.


This was published in 1820 as Vindiciæ Geologiæ; or the Connexion of Geology with Religion explained, both justifying the new science of geology and reconciling geological evidence with the biblical accounts of creation and Noah's Flood.


While criticised by some, Buckland's analysis of Kirkland Cave and other bone caves was widely seen as a model for how careful analysis could be used to reconstruct the Earth's past, and the Royal Society awarded Buckland the Copley Medal in 1822 for his paper on Kirkdale Cave.


He developed these ideas into his great scientific work Reliquiæ Diluvianæ, or, Observations on the Organic Remains attesting the Action of a Universal Deluge which was published in 1823 and became a best seller.


In his famous Bridgewater Treatise, published in 1836, he acknowledged that the biblical account of Noah's flood could not be confirmed using geological evidence.


By 1840 he was very actively promoting the view that what had been interpreted as evidence of the 'Universal Deluge' two decades earlier, and subsequently of deep submergence by a new generation of geologists such as Charles Lyell, was in fact evidence of a major glaciation.


He continued to live in Corpus Christi College and, in 1824, he became president of the Geological Society of London.


In 1825, Buckland was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


In December 1825 he married Mary Morland of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, an accomplished illustrator and collector of fossils.


These observations by Anning led Buckland to propose in 1829 that the stones were fossilised faeces.


Buckland had been helping and encouraging Roderick Murchison for some years, and in 1831 was able to suggest a good starting point in South Wales for Murchison's researches into the rocks beneath the secondary strata associated with the age of reptiles.


In 1832 Buckland presided over the second meeting of the British Association, which was then held at Oxford.


This took him almost five years' work and was published in 1836 with the title Geology and Mineralogy considered with reference to Natural Theology.


Having become interested in the theory of Louis Agassiz, that polished and striated rocks as well as transported material, had been caused by ancient glaciers, he travelled to Switzerland, in 1838, to meet Agassiz and see for himself.


When Agassiz came to Britain for the Glasgow meeting of the British Association, in 1840, they went on an extended tour of Scotland and found evidence there of former glaciation.


In 1845 he was appointed by Sir Robert Peel to the vacant Deanery of Westminster (he succeeded Samuel Wilberforce).


In 1847, he was appointed a trustee in the British Museum and, in 1848, he was awarded the Wollaston Medal, by the Geological Society of London.


Around the end of 1850, William Buckland contracted a disorder of the neck and brain, and died of it in 1856.


This may have been a last jest by the noted geologist, reminiscent of Richard Whately's Elegy intended for Professor Buckland written in 1820:


Buckland Island (known today as Ani-Jima), in the Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-Jima), was named after him by Captain Beechey on 9 June 1827.


In 1846, William Buckland was rector of St. Nicholas in Islip and is commemorated on a plaque in the south aisle of the church and the "East Window" was dedicated to the memory of Buckland and his wife in 1861.


Further reading McGowan, Christopher (2001).