Home > Annual Report (1876-1886)

Annual Report (1876-1886)

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report, 1876.

1. "Report, Read at the Eleventh Annual Meeting, Held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Monday, March 16th, 1876"

The Club is renewing itself as some older members pass away. Has 332 members, of whom 83 are ladies. A book publication of past papers has been accomplished. A system of Club Sections has been put in place for those with special interests, in Archaeology; Astronomy; Botany; Entomology; Geology; Microscopy; and Zoology. Accounts of the summer excursions, one (Rowley Hills) showing that the Club retains strong ties to the Dudley Club in South Staffordshire. Note on the water supply of North Staffordshire (p.12), that the Wall Grange springs are measured at 700 gallons a minute. Reprint given (p.13) of the letter from "David Hume to Mr. Fitzherbert, arranging for the occupation of Wooton Hall by Rousseau".

2. Details of the Annual Meeting. Accounts. Periodicals available to members. List of planned excursions for the year. List of members, with their place of residence noted. Rules.

3. "Address of the President, J. Ward Esq. F.G.S."

References to what work still remains to be done in the county, with heavy emphasis on geology and fossils. The Club's growing interest in "Archaeology and Ethnology".

4. T. Wardle, "The Source of the Churnet".

Short but detailed first-hand account of a field expedition to find the source. They reported tracing that... "stream until it lost itself amongst various boggy edges of the moor a little south of the Royal Cottage [an inn between Leek and Buxton], and not far distant from the well alluded to above" ["a well which supplies a very small farm-house, called White Middle Hills"]". Table giving the geological measures at the "Roaches or Goldsitch Basin". Details of the uses of the Churnet water in the local dyeing industry. Place-name discussion.

5. W. Scott, "The Climate of North Staffordshire" (abstract)

Summary, abstracted paragraphs, tables. "The rainfall at Barlaston is pretty nearly an average of that of the entire county, and very little above that of Great Britain". Tables: "RAINFALL AT BARLASTON FROM 1865 TO 1875", "MEAN TEMPERATURE AT BARLASTON, 1867-1875".

6. Thos. W. Daltry, "On Certain Insects Added to the North Staffordshire List of Macro-Lepidotera, in 1875."

1875 was an excellent year for insects. Previous disregard for North Staffordshire was due to lack of entomologists, not butterflies and moths. Notes that "no list of Lepidoptera of the district had been compiled in modern times up to the appearance of our book [North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club Addresses, Papers. Etc, in which Daltry published in list form] last year." Copious details of the new discoveries and their locations.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report, 1877.

1. "Report, Read at the Twelth Annual Meeting, Held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Monday, March 22nd, 1877"

367 members, 86 of whom are ladies. "Considerable increase" in members, though a falling off in the reading of papers. Those papers that have been presented have increased in quality. The system of Sections has worked, but not as well as had been hoped: Astronomy, Botany, Microscopy, and Zoology have failed to fill up and are currently in abeyance. Short reports on the year's excursions. Oakamoor was where the copper wire for the first Transatlantic cable was made. A detailed page describing Arbor Low as it was in 1876. The Club has learned that a Natural History and Archaeological Society has been formed nearby at Burton-upon-Trent. Report on the The Twelfth Annual Meeting, March 22nd, 1877, where for the first time Section reports were presented. Name of the Club formally changed to "The North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society".

2. Sectional Reports:

Geology. Short accounts of the year's geology excursions.

Archaeology. Members have pressed for the preservation of Saxon remains found at Stoke Minster. An account of their discovery of the Saxon Cross now (2015) erected in the Minster grounds. Account of their further excavations in the Minster churchyard, which found: "a rosary, with boxwood heads, connected by steel links, which appear to have been gilt; a perfect encaustic tile, and several fragments, several glass vials, perhaps lacrimatory, a drinking horn, &c". Very short accounts of two excursions.

Entomology. The usual notes on variability, and new discoveries.

3. Book Committee report: all the Club's periodical back-issues are now bound at the Club's expense and held by the Stoke Athenaeum, on reference-only.

4. Accounts. Sections list, with named heads. List of current periodicals available for members. List of planned excursions and evening meetings. List of members, with their place of residence. Rules.

5. "Address of the President, W. Molyneux, Esq."

6. T. Wardle, "Cheddleton Church".

Detailed survey of the church and its bells.

7. Rev. D. Edwardes, "The Wild Flowers of North Staffordshire".

The number of flowering plants in North Staffordshire has been underestimated for want of botanists. Proposal that "a trustworthy list of the wild flowers of North Staffordshire should be drawn up for the guidance of posterity". What needs to be done. Unprecedented early flowering in 1877. Followed by: "LIST OF PLANTS FOUND NEAR DENTSONE IN 1876."

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report, 1878.

1. List of Excusions and Evening Meetings, 1878-9.

2. Accounts.

3. Report, read at the the Thirteenth Annual Meeting, Held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 21st, 1878.

362 members, of whom 86 are ladies. "The work of the Club is still done by a few — a very few — while the great bulk of the members are content to be passive — mere ornaments of the Society. ... will not a few of the members band together to work up the North Staffordshire mosses?"

4. Sectional Reports:

Geology. Notes on the excursions, many poorly attended. Several complaints about shortness of time might suggest that the leaders of the excursions were trying to see too much. "Not far from Beech inhabited cottages, cut in the living [sandstone] rock, were observed."

Archaeology. Notes on the Excursions.

Entomology. The Entomological section only has one member. The usual notes on scarcity and abundance.

5. Detailed reports of the years's excursions, now being reprinted from their appearance in the Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper. Details given of the exact depth and sediments surrounding the discovery of the skull and horns of an ancient auroch at Etruria. Detailed account of the geology and topography of Alderley Edge. Detailed reports of the Club's winter talks.

6. W. Molyneaux, "A Brief Notice of the pre-Norman History of Repton".

Actually a substantial, though rather speculative, paper.

7. Mr. Lynam of Stoke, “A Visit of Discovery to S. Thomas’s Priory, Stafford”.

Short account of his exploratory visit.

8. A. Smith, “Butterflies and Moths”.

General, of no local interest.

9. J. G. R. Powel “Amateur Microscopy”

Of no local interest.

10. W. S. Brough, “The Arthurian Cycle"

Of no local interest.

11. Rev. D. Edwardes, "The Autumn Wild Flowers of North Staffordshire”.

12. Report on the Thirteenth Annual Meeting, Thursday Evening, March 21st, 1878.

The holdings of the "Stoke Athenaeum Library having been handed over to the Free Library", the Club — obviously disapproving of the Free Library — requested that their bound journal back-issues (which were being bound, ready for the Athenaeum Library) be given instead to the library of the Hanley Mechanics' Institute. An invasive fresh-water mussel, from the Danube in Germany, had been found living in the local canals.

13. W. S. Brough, "Annual Address by the President".

Survey of the year's scientific discoveries and developments.

14. W. S. Brough, "My Old Wall".

A rather rambling account of some of the plants and creatures to be found on his garden wall. Nice idea, but poorly executed.

15. Mr. Garner, "The Staffordshire Flora”.

Notes and lists of flora to be erased from the 1843 Natural History, and added to its lists.

16. List of Sections and heads.

17. Book Committee report. Periodicals. Catalogue of Bound Books.

18. List of Members, and their place of residence.

19. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1879.

1. List of Excursions and Evening Meetings for 1879-80.

2. Accounts.

3. "Report at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 20th, 1879."

A slight decrease in members, for the first time. Comment that "in no instance did they [the year's excursions] attract a large attendance ... the great majority of members took no notice of them". List of evening meetings and papers read there. A proposal has been made to form a "County Archaeological Society", with a focus mainly on publications. An Index has been added to the Club's Annual Report (though this is missing from the copy I have).

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: "Butterflies were again remarkable for their extreme rarity" in 1878.

5. Reports on Excursions:

"Wever Hills and Wootton" includes a paper by Mr. W. S. Brough, "Wootton and its Associations", a miscellany of historical notes and some geological and botanical observations.

"Penkridge and Stafford" includes ground plans and elevation drawings of St. Thomas's Priory, near Stafford.

6. Reports on Evening Meetings:

Papers and addresses are now being published within the evening meeting reports.

"Hanley" report includes an "inaugural address by the President, R. Garner, Esq", in which he states: "I am devoted to archaic antiquities; cavern exploration and barrow digging are extremely interesting."

7. T. S. Wilkins, "On The Pond Life of a North Staffordshire District".

An introductory guide to collecting and identifying, with no local interest.

8. Arthur Leech, "Early Tokens".

List of early tokens from Staffordshire. Fuller itemised discussion of later (post 1790s) trade token coins, about 60% of those briefly described being from Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Suggests that a Numismatic (coins and tokens) section should be formed within the Club.

9. James Yates, "Birds and their Nests".

Begins very generally, but soon becomes a survey of the state of various bird species in North Staffordshire, noting especially the declines. "Gold-finch is gradually becoming extinct" "The Hawks are getting rare."

10. Dr. McAldowie, "Design — as exhibited in the Nests and Eggs of Birds".

No local interest.

11. T. W. Minton, "The Silver and Copper Coinage of England"

No local interest.

12. "Report of the Annual Meeting, Stoke-on-Trent, Thursday, March 20th, 1879."

"No Reports were presented by the Archaeological and Geological Sections." and no payments had ... been received from the local Treasurers of Newcastle, Leek, and Burslem". These comments, together with the fact that year's excursions had been poorly attended, and slight decline in numbers, seem to suggest that something is amiss in the Club. "The President regretted that no young botanists had arisen in the district".

13. "Annual Address. Read by Mr. R. Garner, F.L.S., at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke, on Thursday, March 20th, 1879."

Brief opening remarks on the state of the Club. "the Secretary, has uttered that terrific word "decadence !"" ...at the apparent wobble in the forward motion of the Club.

"I have found the Fenton pools abound with [pond] life" "I have always found Plumatella in the Fenton pools, and a curious locality for the Alcyonella was the dripping roof of the Harecastle tunnel. You will not fail to find the hydra in a glass jar of water with say hornwort, milfoil, water violet, or starwort." ... "You will meet with the fluviatile sponge on old bricks, &c, in the rivulet in Trentham Park. But when you have exhausted all these places you may go farther from home. I have found the Cheshire bogs and pools very productive. At Alsager I have frequently found the water spider Argyronecta".

14. "List of Plants Found in Stoke Parish."

With locations, e.g.: "Chenopodium Bonus Henricus, Stoke Churchyard."

16. "Abstract of Observations for Temperature and Rainfall made at Barlaston in the Year 1878".

Table of rainfall measurements by month. Follows from the author's previous decadal sequence, given in an earlier Annual Report.

17. Book Committee, Library, Periodicals taken. Catalogue of Bound Books available to members.

18. List of Club Sections.

19. List of Associated Societies.

Locally including "Burton-on-Trent Natural History and Archaeological Society" and "Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society." International relations have been established with the "United States Geological and Geographical Survey."

20. List of Members.

21. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1880.

1. "Report. Read at the Fifteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 18th, 1880."

"Excursions have been well attended, much better, indeed, than in the previous season." but the Winter meetings have fallen off, partly due to the weather, partly due to the pressure of time in a growing industrial district. Continued tradition of having joint excursions with Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society, Burton Natural History and Geological Society, Manchester Scientific Students' Association and the Manchester Field Naturalists' and Archaeologists' Society. "The Sectional System has been in abeyance during the past season", as the Archaeological and Geological Sections appears to have collapsed. 336 members, of whom 77 are ladies.

Hanley meeting: "Mr. Garner ["father of the Club"] was recovering slowly from his illness, he was not likely to renew his active pursuits in connection with the Club".

2. Sectional Reports:

Geology. Attendance at excursions has "not been large". Short accounts of an all-year survey of the Red Marls along the western flank of the Etruria Valley, starting at London Rd. Stoke, and proceeding northward to points along the ridge, ending in a visit to Bradwell Quarry. No great discoveries noted or details given.

Entomology. 1879 was a miserable year. "A winter of unusual severity which began at the end of October, and was protracted far into what should have been the early summer, during which the ground was frequently covered for weeks together by deep snow ... spring weather was conspicuous only by its absence ... a summer and early autumn remarkable for excess of rain and still more for absence of sunshine". Extensive detailed survey.

3. Excursions:

Papers are now included in excursion and winter meeting reports. One excursion report has a detailed description of the church at Prestbury.

4. W. Litchfield. "Plants formerly to be found growing in the neighbourhood of Macclesfield".

Short concise account, including a short list of fungi.

5. J. T. de Mazzinghi, "Heleigh Castle".

Long and detailed historical account.

6. A. Smith, "A Second Paper On Butterflies & Moths".

No local interest, other than an account of the reaction of Potteries folk to seeing a naturalist with his nets...

"Sometimes interesting, though not always flattering, comments were made by passers by, occasioned by the nets, &c. in our hands. Occasionally you would observed a sudden halt on the approach of some pedestrians whom, if you care to look at, you see are staring first at the nets then at the bearers, probably with more than their eyes open, lost, I suppose, in speculation as to what the paraphernalia mean. Now and again you get an idea of what passes through these philosophical minds, set thinking by so simple a matter as a little gauze. "Him is off a Fishin! Them nets 'al never pull a big un out! A hafe punder ud break um" and the poor entomologist is left to infer that the personal remarks which follow do not redound to the common or superior sense he may be supposed to possess. Now I must confess to a little bit of cowardice in this matter of carrying the net, &c, exposed on my way to the place of rendezvous. I could not brook these depreciating remarks of the ignorant, nor I fear of the more enlightened for to overhear, "catching butterflies," was anything but assuring, for it would be said in such a manner or with such an aspect of countenance as would lead you to conclude that in the opinion of your observers there was nothing very heroic in the pursuit."

7. Thos. W. Daltry, "A list of the rarer plants exhibited by the President, with their localities".

8. W. Molyneux, "Bosworth Field".

Famous battlefield, its geology, topography, history. Note that references to "Stoke" are to Stoke Golding.

9. R. Garner, "The Intelligence of Animals compared with that of Man in a letter to Venator".

No local interest, other than some remarks on the way-finding abilities of horses and dogs: "when the North Staffordshire fox hounds were discontinued, they were disposed of and sent in a covered boat fifty miles off to Edge Hill, yet many of them soon 'put in an appearance' [back] at the old kennel." and "I once purchased a horse at a fair in this town, a beautifully formed animal, but of which the appearance of the eye was not satisfactory to me. However I became its master after examination by the vet. I rode him into Derbyshire and coming along the road, not far from that curious place Arbor Low, I was annoyed by three men at a distance approaching me and apparently amused at my expense. When they came up I found they were three of the horse dealers, who are numerous in that district, and one told me he had made a bet that he could find out my horse's fault, in fact that it would soon be blind, as he could tell by the way it trode: indeed you may know when a horse has such defective vision by the little noise his footsteps make."

10. Clement L. Wragge, "On the Summer of 1879 in the Vicinity of the Staffordshire Moorlands and Churnet Basin".

Observations taken at Farley, near Cheadle, with standard official meteorological equipment. Very detailed account of the summer weather in this strange and exceptional year. Diagram is missing.

11. Clement L. Wragge, "Notes on the Amount of Ozone present in the Atmosphere of the Staffordshire Moorlands at a mean elevation of 650 feet above mean Sea Level. October 1879 to January 1880 inclusive."

A short note. Diagram is missing.

12. Report of the Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Thursday, March 18th, 1880.

The system of having local Treasurers collect subscriptions has failed. A paid collector is to be appointed to collect Club subscriptions.

13. J. Ward, "Notes on some Fossil Trees in a marl pit at Joiner's Square".

These are new discoveries, not the same as the 1869 fossil trees. New trees found May 1879. Full page sketch of one of the larger tree trunks. 13 fossil trees are described in precise detail. Several pages of discussion.

14. "Table of Temperature and Rainfall at Barlaston for 1879" and "Rainfall at Barlaston for the 15 years from 1865 to 1879, in periods of Five years each"

15. Library, Periodicals, Catalogue of Bound Books available to members. List of Club Sections. Associated Societies. List of Members, Rules.

"Stafford Institute and Field Club" is a new addition to the list of Associated Societies.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1881.

1. List of Excursions and Evening Meetings for 1881-82.

2. Accounts.

3. Report at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 17th, 1881.

At the year's first excursion the Club met with the "Stafford Institute and Field Club, a new society". Contact was also made, for the first time, with Coventry: "at Coventry your Club had the satisfaction of meeting some of the local scientists". The "Sectional System has been so entirely in abeyance". The paid collector of Club membership dues has obviously done his work and "The number of members on the list has been considerably reduced during the past season." despite what is affirmed as the low subscription rate. There are now 318 present members, of which 58 are ladies.

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: Little work was done and "The year 1880 was unfortunately a blank in respect of discovery". The usual account of abundances and scarcities.

5. Reports on Excursions:

"Stone and Bury Bank". Note that Bury Bank was found not to be accessible.

"Alton, Farley, the Weaver Hills and Oakamoor" report. Details of the locations of Mr. Clement L. Wragge's weather stations: "his meteorological observatory at Farley [on the "Left Main Watershed of the Churnet River"], his climatological station on Beacon Stoop, and his valley climatological station at Oakamoor [the latter] "barely a mile W. by N. from the former [train] Station"]" ... "It may be mentioned that the station at Farley is in connection with the Meteorological Office and Society, and that Oakamoor and Beacon Stoop stations are chiefly in connection with the Meteorological Society. An inspector of stations from this Society has approved the arrangements at Farley and Oakamoor; Beacon Stoop station is fixed exactly the same, but has not yet been inspected."

Summary of Mr. Clement L. Wragge's paper, "On The Use Of Meteorological Instruments And On The Manner Of Equipping And Conducting An Observing Station."

6. Rev. W .Beresford, "Stone Priory".

Detailed history of the Priory, including the fall and wreck.

7. W. G. Fretton, "Fortified Coventry".

Detailed history of the fortifications.

8. Mr. Clement L. Wragge, "The Autumn And Close Of 1879 In The Vicinity Of The Staffordshire Moorlands And Churnet Basin ; With Remarks On Barometric Range, Phenological Notes, And Observations On The Peculiarities Of The Local Climate."

A very detailed and long scientific paper, given in full.

9. "List of plants exhibited by Mr. Daltry, with the localities where they were found."

10. Dr. A. M. McAldowie, "The natural sciences in relation to beauty and sublimity."

No local interest.

11. Mr. Leech, "Medals, ancient and modern, having special reference to the Napoleonic series."

No local interest.

12. Mr. Lynam, "The Ecclesiastical Norman Architecture Of Staffordshire".

Summary of "an exhaustive paper".

13. Report on the Annual Meeting of March 17th 1881.

It seems that the use of a paid collector of membership fees was obviously prudent as — even with his services — there is a Club balance of only £1 and 9 shillings left after the year's outgoings.

14. Mr. R. Garner, "The Natural Kalendar".

Mr Garner, "father of the Club", has obviously recovered from his illness. His address inspired by the Staffordshire "Clogg or Logg almanacks", one of which is exhibited at the meeting. He gives a Natural Kalendar for North Staffordshire, based on his observations over many years. A short aside on the local effects of the great frost of 1860-1. He proposes a range of natural ad hoc measures of air pollution in North Staffordshire, "of some use to medical men and to valetudinarians", for instance to note that "The larch, heath, ling, bilberry, and Scotch fir die. No lichens live on the trees."

15. W. Challinor, "Annual Address".

By the outgoing President. Lecture on phases of insect life.

16. "Rainfall At Barlaston In 1881".

Table, by month.

17. Library, Periodicals, Catalogue of Books available to members; List of Club sections; Associated Societies.

18. List of members, with place of residence.

19. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1882.

1. List of Excursions and Evening Meetings for 1882-83.

2. Accounts.

3. Report at the Seventeenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 22nd, 1882.

The Club has had its first evening meeting at Uttoxeter: "At Uttoxeter much interest was excited, and a considerable number of the principal towns people were present at the meeting." Papers read at excursions and meetings are printed in the Annual Report, and this is drawing in more papers. The Sectional System is still in abeyance. The loss in members has been made up: there are now 330 paying members, of whom 62 are ladies.

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology. Lengthy accounts of rarities. The hot summer was not conducive to such work. The lone member of the Section has given up his night moth-hunting. "The absence of a congenial companion of kindred tastes was I hope the real cause of this remissness rather than want of energy, or a growing disinclination for nocturnal rambles in the woods and a long drive home afterwards."


5. Mr. Lynam, "Rushton Church".

A lengthy, detailed account of the church.

6. Mr. T. Wardle, "The Geology of Leek".

A short two-page account. The typesetter has not adequately distinguished this article from the report.

7. Mr Wardle, "The geology of Shutlingslow and the district, and on the causes which produced the carboniferous and other geological periods cosmically considered."

Long, speculative paper involving planetary forces.

8. Arthur Leech, "Llangollen and neighbourhood".

Evening meetings:

9. Mr. R. Garner, "List of Plants found around Stafford"

Long list, with places found.

10. Dr. MacAldowie, "Observations on the influence of Light on the Development of Frog's Spawn"

No local interest.

11. Mr. Leech, "Recent Discoveries on the site of the Ancient Monastery of Blackfriars at Newcastle-under-Lyme"

Two ancient bodies found at Smithfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, beneath a rough crudely incised gravestone. Foundation walls nearby, possibly an early Christian monastery.

12. Mr. Garner, "The Black Cowslip".

Very short botanical note.

13. Mr. Garner, "Locusts".

Very short paper. They occasionally appear in Stoke: "one was brought to me by a workhouse boy in 1856, and is now in the Stoke Museum."

14. Mr. Garner, "The Occurrence of Blatta Americana in the District".

Very short note on cockroaches. Only B. Germanica has been captured in Staffordshire. Although S. Orientalis is present in houses, as an invasive alien.

15. List of plants found in Cornwall, with their locations.

No local interest.

16. Mr. W. W. Watts, "The Pre-Cambrian Rocks of England and Wales".

No local interest.

17. Mr. R. W. Goodall, "The Wild Flowers of North Staffordshire".

A detailed but discursive personal survey. A lament that "together with the united efforts of our everyday excursionist and tourist and the itinerant hawker [men "trafficking in ferns" for profit etc, the collecting of ferns being a Victorian mania], our district is becoming denuded of all scarce plants". The need for a good plant list of the district, the last being in 1844.

18. "Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Wednesday, March 22nd, 1882".

For the first time in the Club's history, a financial loss. £60 to £70 of Club subscriptions had not been paid.

19. "Special Evening Meeting".

Address by Mr. W. Challinor, retiring President, on waste and its prevention in agriculture. Other forms of waste. Waste of time. People who waste their health. New devices to prevent waste by travel: "By the telephone my friend Mr. Wardle can communicate verbally with his branch establishments a mile or two away. By the wonderful photograph nature can present to us an image of herself from the most distant places. ... The telescope widens the circle of our vision, and is being continually improved. ... The electric light has lately been immensely improved by Mr. Edison and others, and the electric telegraph has also been more perfected ... railways, those great economisers of time".

20. Mr. C. L. Wragge, "Ben Nevis".

Very short account of his meteorological observations on Ben Nevis.

21. Mr. J. Beaumont Piercy, "Rainfall in 1882"

Monthly measurements at three local sites.

22. Library, Periodicals available, List of Club Sections, Associated Societies,

23. List of Members, with places of residence.

24. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1883.

1. Accounts.

2. "List of Excursions and Evening Meetings for 1883-84".

3. "Report at the Eighteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday, March 29th, 1883".

Both the evening meetings and most of the excursions have been very well attended. Considering "the wetness of the past year", the weather during excursions was favorable. The "Committee have thought it advisable to add Stone and Uttoxeter to the list of towns having permanent Secretaries and Treasurers" ... "a very considerable increase of members" ... "371 paying members, of whom 70 are ladies." The Club's Sections are still dormant... "dormant Archaeological and Geological sections" and an attempt to infuse life into a Botanical section has failed. A prominent and early member, Mr. W. Molyneux, has died while in the Natal. Mr. W. Scott, contributor of weather reports to the Annual Report, has also died - a non-member Mr. J. Beaumont Piercy has been called on to produced weather summaries. Despite the Club's ongoing success, "The financial condition is no longer satisfactory". Subscription prices need to be raised to ten shillings.

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: A dismal year - "there is a general complaint amongst Entomologists throughout England that never had they experienced so unsuccessful a season". Causes are many but mainly a very mild winter followed by... "continuous rains in May, June and July". "Butterflies were very scarce — even the commonest". Short accounts of a few notable finds.

5. Excursions:

"Hardwick Hall"

Brief history and interior description.

"Grindon and the Valley of the Manyfold" [Manifold].

Short. "the President, Mr. W. D. Spanton, read a description of the cave, written by the late Mr. S. Carrington on the occasion of the Club's visit in 1865." Some details of the understanding of the occupation dating of Thor's Cave at that point - "The discoveries are all late Celtic, otherwise pertaining to the Romano-British period. ... Nothing pertaining either to the age of stone or to the Saxon age has been found here."

6. Mr. Llewellyn Jewitt, "Mount St. Bernard and the Monks who live there".

A lengthy, scholarly history. Long list of religious houses established by the same order. Description of the daily life of the current monks.

7. Mr. W. Dunnett Spanton, "Charnwood Forest".

General historical survey. Concludes with a long list of the flora found there, with some general locations noted for these.

8. Mr. W. W. Watts, "The Geology of Lilleshall Hill and its Immediate Vicinity".

Short three-page geological paper.

9. Mr. T. J. Robinson, "The Air-Breathers of the Coal Measures".

Detailed six page survey of coal fossils. Cricitised by Ward and others, after being read.

10. Mr. Arthur Leech, "Newstead Abbey".

No local interest.

11. Mr. James Yates, "Toads in Rocks".

Survey of toads alleged to be found in rocks, discussion around the possibility that a form of "profound hybernation" plays a part.

12. Mr. R. Garner, "Zoological and Botanical Notabilia in 1882".

"I exhibit a specimen of Acherontia atropos, or Death's Head Sphinx, or Moth, in its different states of larva; chrysalis, and imago, or perfect insect, it often occurs in our neighbourhood. The latter late in autumn, and even in winter, though this specimen was taken early in September, in a waste field near the site of the old Infirmary [probably the second Infirmary site, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent]." "During the last year the productions of Flora were very early up to the end of April, when, owing to the severe and cutting winds, they became much later, and as summer went on, that is what summer there was, flowers and fruits were seen to be very late."

13. Mr. T. J. Robinson. "The Reasoning Faculties of Birds as evidenced in construction of their Nests".

No local interest.

14. Mr. Alexander Scrivener, "Burton Abbey".

Burton-upon-Trent. Sketch ground plan of the site. Three good clear photos, described in the paper.

15. "Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Wednesday, March 29th, 1883".

A "deficit of some £44" for the Club.

16. "Annual Address by the President, Mr. W. Dunnett Spanton".

Opening observation that... "Eighteen years ago the very idea of such an institution [as the Field Club] in this district was ridiculed". Followed by a long paper on microbes and bacteria.

17. Mr. John Ward. "Obituary of the late Mr. W. Molyneux".

Detailed account of the life and work of William Molyneux 1824-1882, carried out with Ward's usual high level of scholarship and care. Molyneux started as a groundsman at Trentham Gardens, then worked a porter at Trentham. Became interested in local field archaology, and met others locally. Excavated Berry Bank [Bury Bank] hillfort and its nearby tumulii, with Garner. "A barrow near Trentham yielded a large deposit of calcined bones, both human and canine, enclosed in a rude cyst; bits of charcoal, two arrow-heads of flint, a broken hammer-head of stone, an urn containing bones, with a drinking-cup and incense vessel rewarded the searchers." "Mr. Molyneux's first antiquarian paper was on "Berry Bank and its Legends"" [a paper that does not appear to have survived]. Also a 12 page "Guide to Trentham and its Gardens" ... Hanley, Allbut & Daniel, 1857". "The Trentham gravel pits are fairly charged with fossils derived principally from the May Hill Sandstone and Mountain Limestone." Long account of his extensive and careful work on local fossils. He also published papers in the short-lived Potteries Mechanics' Institution Magazine (1860-2) which carried "his exhaustive description of the "Geology of Trentham"". "In 1860 he left Trentham, having obtained the appointment of secretary and librarian to the Mechanics' Institution, Stafford". List of papers he presented to the Field Club, 1866-1880. In 1863 he became a Land Agent's assistant at Burton-upon-Trent, during which time he published the book "Burton-upon-Trent; its History, its Waters, and its Breweries" together with the pamphlet "The Old River Courses and the Recent Floods of the Trent Valley, at Burton-upon-Trent" with a view to flood prevention measures. Presented papers to the Midland Scientific Association, including "On the Calcareous Hoematite of the Churnet Valley" and "wrote a valuable account of the Geology of the Cheadle coal-field, which was included in the "History of Cheadle," published in 1881." His later life and explorations in Africa and his death in the Natal.

18. Mr. J. Beaumont Piercy, "Rainfall in 1883".

Monthly, from three local weather stations.

19. Catalogue of Books.

20. Associated Societies.

21. List of Members.

22. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1884.

1. List of "Excursions and Evening Meetings for 1884-85".

2. Accounts, and "List of donations to meet balance due to Treasurer", with list of names.

3. "Report, read at the Nineteenth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-on-Trent, March 20th, 1884".

Excursions have been well attended, and attendance at Evening Meetings is now usually over 100. Isle of Man excursion cancelled. The Curiosity Table at Evening Meetings is increasingly becoming a Curiosity Room, with an expectation that the Room would be... "on view for another day for the satisfaction of the townspeople". Cheadle is added to the list of places having Local Secretaries and Treasurers. There has been "a large increase of members during the past year ... 105 new members have been elected, by far the largest addition to the Club since its foundation" Now 409 paying members, of whom 72 are ladies.

Special meeting of the Club: members two years in arrears with their membership dues will be expelled; each new member, for their first year, must pay an entrance fee of five shillings to Evening Meetings; there is a special appeal for donations to pay off the debt, with £30 raised; the Club has ceased its periodical subscriptions to save money. With the Club debts set to be cleared, a Club Museum is suggested as a goal for the future.

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: Mr Daltry has been unable to undertake work himself. He writes that "the season of 1883 was like the two or three preceding ones, very poor both in quantity and in quality of insects ... complaints come from all parts of the kingdom." Notes a few new captures and discoveries.

5. Excursions:

"Ashley, Mucclestone, and Blore Heath".


List of the rarer flowers found in Eaton Woods, 19th May 1883. A note on the last-known lone habitat of the Snake's Head Fritillary in North Staffordshire.

"Leek and the Roches". [Roaches]

The "heather and bilberry bushes" was then the cover of the "'Loaf and Cheese' part of the Roches". "Byrom's Folly, now a safe asylum for wild birds of the moors". One party of the Club's excursion went on "past Hine's Mill and along by the source of the Leek water supply. The first object of interest found by [this party] was an old Saxon barrow, where two Celtic urns, now in the possession of Mr. Samuel Eyre, were recently found by Mr. Wilshaw." A visit to the Baldstone [now Bald Stone]. Rev. W. Beresford reads a impromptu paper on some of the features seen during the day - given in full in the Annual Report. His description of the two Celtic patterned earthenware vessels recently discovered, noted above. He also remarks that... "A few yards away, just above the copious and unfailing Spring which supplies Leek with water, a gold brooch was found some time ago." Place-name speculations.

"Cresswell and Seighford".

Ruins of Cresswell church described. Some stones taken from it to build the local weir. Summary of a descriptive paper on Seighford Church.

"Eccleshall and Copmere".

List of plants found in "some marshes in the vicinity of Copmere". At Sugnall a "peculiar" puff-ball fungus, of unknown name and type, was found.

"Breadsall and Morley".

Some notes on Breadsall Church. Substantial description and history of Morley Church.

"Chester and Eaton".

News that a leading member of the Club, Mr. Clement L. Wragge, had emigrated to Australia.

Evening Meetings, with papers :

"Stone": Remark that hawfinches had recently become very common near Cheadle.

7. Mr. Wells Bladen, "Stray Notes on Birds". The second half of this paper abounds with notes on the rarer local birds and their haunts in the 1880s.

"Hanley": The counterpart Club in Birmingham is noted as having become an "important institution".

8. Mr. John Ward, "Some of the earlier forms of vertebrate life".

A paper of fossils.

9. Mr. John Ernest Ady, a paper on "The Evolution or Microscopical Petrology".

No local interest.

10. Mr. J. R. B. Masefield, "The Indigenous Mammalia of North Staffordshire".

Notes the curious and near-total lack of interest in local mammals, compared to moths, geology etc. Gives a local naturalist's efficient overview of mammals found locally, though he is mostly reliant on reports from others. With occasional specific reference to a local habitat or a local varieties - he notes that "a black variety [of rabbit] is common in this neighbourhood".

11. Paper by Mr. Llewellynn Jewitt, "The Seventeenth Century Traders' Tokens of Staffordshire, with special reference to those of Cheadle and Neighbourhood."

Includes a comprehensive descriptive list of 17th century tokens struck in Staffordshire, ordered by place.

12. "Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Thursday, March 20th, 1884".

The Club's deficit of last year has been made good, and there is a surplus of £12.

13. "Annual Address by the President, Mr. W. Dunnett Spanton".

A long paper on evolution. No local interest.

14. Mr. J. Beaumont Piercy, "Rainfall in 1884".

Monthly, from three local weather stations.

15. Catalogue of Books.

16. List of Sections.

Reinstated in the Annual Report. Evidently there is some hope they will become active again.

17. Associated Societies.

18. List of Members.

19. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1885.

1. List of "Excursions and Evening Meetings, 1885-86".

2. Accounts.

3. "Report, read at the Twentieth Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-upon-Trent, on Thursday, March 19th, 1885".

The Club is thriving, in terms of membership, attendance, and finances. Excursion attendance was helped by "one of the sunniest and driest years on record". 45 members undertook the long residential excursion to the Isle of Man. Club now has 444 members, of whom 79 are ladies.

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: Mr Daltry regrets having been unable to do work himself, but provides a short summary of notable new local captures and discoveries by others. An abundance of some species in the year's fine summer, which had been absent in previous years.

5. Excursions:

"Wenlock and Buildwas Abbeys".

Mr. C. Lynam, papers on "Buildwas Abbey" and "Wenlock Abbey".

"Stone, Yarlet, Weston, and Sandon".

Several pages of discussion on some points of the architecture of Weston Church. Dr. J. H. Tylecote, "List of trees and plants in flower in the neighbourhood of the Excursion" (two pages).

"Abbey Hulton and Keele Hall".

Visit to the excatations at the Abbey. The ground foundations uncovered. 13th century gravestone carvings preserved by being used as drain coverings - a brief description of these.

"The Isle of Man".

A four day tour, in verbose daily reports written by the local press. List of plants noted on the Isle of Man. No local North Staffordshire interest, other than that the visit served to greatly boost the status of field studies on the The Isle of Man, through its impact on the young Isle of Man Society.

"Westwood, near Leek, Cliff Park, Horton and Rudyard".

Includes Rev. B. Blakeway's short notes on "Horton Church".

"Cheadle, Dilhorn, Kingsley, and the Churnet Valley".

Has a few notes on the local landmark, "The High Shutt Tree" and a chart of what may be seen from it, being mostly the strange landscape of Cheadle and Oakamoor.


"Certain of the party betook themselves on the backs of long-eared steeds at a rattling gallop up the dale and were lost to view behind some jutting-out rock or advancing hill." The Rev. John Broad, ... in the course of an amusing address ... expressed the pleasure he had in being present [that day], and proceeded to say that he did not see why the club should not be what some people called it — a Picnic Amatory Club." List of plants obtained on the day.


"Danewort (Sambucus Ebulus) a rare plant, but to be found everyseason in the moat at Tutbury. ... The only other place he had ever seen it growing was at Wootton, near Eccleshall."

6. Evening Meetings:

"Newcastle" [under-Lyme].

On the Curiosities Table at this meeting was "an ancient British stone almanac having the days of the months carved upon it".

7. Mr. W. D. Spanton, "Paper on the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky".

No local interest.

8. Mr. L. Jewitt, "Notes on some of the Objects of Antiquity seen during the late visit to the Isle of Man".

No local interest.


Short extract from a natural history paper sent by Mr. Garner: "a plant gathered in Dovedale — Rubus saxatilis — a bramble, scarcely woody, with three leaflets, few spines, and the fruit a few red grains of a pleasant taste. He might say that there were no true blackberries in this neighbourhood; what were called such, differed in many respects. For instance, the blackberry had its hooked spines situated at the angles of the stem, and it was this species which was principally used by the bee-hive makers." ... "Salsola kali — (prickly samphire) — was formerly used by the glass-makers for their soda, though now, like the laundress, they got alkali more readily. In his [Garner's] remembrance every family wash was preceded by the calcination of what were called ash balls, made by burning the common brakes of all our lanes. Now alas! the respectable trades of potash-calciners, bee-hive makers, and other natural occupations, as rat and mole-catching, were either called poaching or were almost extinct."

9. Dr. A. M. McAldowie, ""The Hand' as an Organ of Expression".

No local interest.

10. Mr. John T. Arlidge, "Observations on the Physical Geography and Climatology of Canada".

No local interest.


11. Mr. C. Lynam, paper on "Hulton Abbey".

Detailed account of the discovery and excavation of the Cistercian abbey and monastery, its extent, found relics, and measurements.

12. Mr. John T. Arlidge, "Observations on the Botany of Canada".

No local interest.

13. "Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Thursday, March 19th, 1885."

The Club has a balance of £5, 17s.

14. Mr. J. R. B. Masefield, "Zoological Section Report".

More badgers are being noted in the district - "To account for the increase of this animal in our district is worthy of our study, seeing that both Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown, in their faunas of Staffordshire, considered it to have become extinct many years ago." ... "Thanks to the Wild Birds Protection Acts, which protect, to a great extent, those wild birds which breed with us during the nesting season, I am happy to say that many of our birds appear to be gradually increasing in number." Short accounts of various mammals and birds in the district.

15. Mr. J. Yates, "Annual Address by the President".

"Badgers have of late been unusually common — I myself saw three badgers which were captured at Maer, and I have heard of many others having been captured in various parts of the country." Followed by another long paper on evolution.

16. Mr. J. B. Piercy, "Rainfall in 1885".

By month, from three local weather stations.

17. Catalogue of Books.

18. List of Sections.

19. Associated Societies.

20. List of Members, and place of residence.

21. Rules.

North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club and Archaeological Society, Annual Report, 1886.

Frontispiece: profile engraving of Robert Garner, "father of the Club".

1. List of "Excursions and Evening Meetings, 1886-87".

2. Accounts.

3. "Report, read at the Twenty-first Annual Meeting, held at Stoke-upon-Trent, on Thursday, March 18th, 1886".

The Club "is one of the few local societies privileged to send a delegate to the meetings of the British Association". Currently "464 ordinary members, of whom 78 are ladies."

4. Sectional Reports:

Entomology: Mr Daltry regrets having been unable to do work himself, but provides a short summary of notable local captures and discoveries by others.

Zoology: This section now moved into the Section Reports. Like, 'Entomology' the Zoology Section is mostly the work of one man. Long discussion of the Lesser Shrew in the area. Various notes on bird sightings and their locations. "If an instance of an offence against the Protection Acts comes under our notice, all we have to do is to report the facts to the officer of that excellent Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, stationed at Hanley, and he will at once investigate the case and take proceedings to enforce the law." "As to the reptiles and fish next to nothing has been done [in terms of recording by the Club]".

5. Excursions:

* "Blithfield, Abbot's Bromley, and Hoar Cross".

Giant oak tree at Bagot's Park, with a trunk of "eight feet" across. Description of the The Church of St. Leonard at Blythfield.

* "Yarlet, Chartley, and Stowe".

Rev. J. G. Wood gives an address "A Country Walk", an incongrously named general paper on British snakes, frogs, newts and earwigs, with almost no local interest. Traveling from Amerton... "Chartley was approached [and] in the field on the right the "Cage Hill" was seen to be surmounted by an artificial mound, supposed to be a "barrow."" Short descriptive paper read by Mr. J. R. B. Masefield, "The Wild Cattle of Chartley Park". Paper by Mr. E. T. Tylecote on "Chartley and Stowe", a general overview of the area and its history. List of bog plants and ferns found on "The Moss". Description of the church at Stowe.

* "Hereford, Ross, Monmouth, Tintern, and Chepstow".

A multi day excursion. Very short account, followed by a list of plants found on the Wye.

* "Brewood, Boscobel, and White Ladies".

Joint excursion with the Stafford Scientific Institute and Field Club. Description of Boscobel House and the nearby "ruins of White Ladies, a convent of White or Cistercian Nuns".

* "Dimsdale, Chesterton, Audley, and Betley".

Dimsdale House. St. Wolstan. The "remains of the old Roman fosse" visited at Chesterton", the site of which must have been "chosen with considerable judgment, as commanding a view on all sides from which an enemy could approach". Description of Audley Church. Long and rather florid description of Betley. "Upon the wall of Berkeley Church is shown a shadowy painting, in fading colours, of the black horse, which is said to represent the identical fiery-eyed, ebon-hued steed, bestridden by the archfiend when he carried off the "Old Woman of Berkeley" to his dismal regions. The dread legendary story is embalmed in the startling ballad of Southey." Extracts from the old Betley accounts book.

* "Southwell".

* "Wrenbury and Combermere Abbey".

The "maypole dances ... have been lately revived in many villages". Description of Wrenbury church.

Evening Meetings:

* "Leek (not held)".

* "Hanley".

6. Mr. W. D. Prendergast, "The Osteological Identity of the Vertebrata".

No local interest.

7. Mr. E. Hewitt, " Coins and Medals, with some notice of Staffordshire medals and tokens".

Four pages on local medals and a few tokens.

* "Cheadle".

8. Mr. J. R. B. Masefield, "The Land and Fresh Water Shells of North Staffordshire".

"our county, although inland, is conspicuously fruitful in mollusca, possessing as it does, so many miles of canal and sluggish rivers, and many large lakes and meres." [and] "the limestone district in the northern part of our county, which is the most fruitful geological formation possible for land shells." Substantial survey, with notes on local occurrences, followed by a list and drawings.

9. Mr. A. M. McAldowie, "Observations of the Development and the Decay of the Pigment Layer on Birds' Eggs".

No local interest.

10. Mr. R. Garner, " Blackberries".

Use in folk remedies. Varieties and localities, including cloudberry on Axe Edge. The "Rev. W. H. Purchas has discovered a new bramble, named "Purchasi" by Mr. Bloxam, at Alstonfield". "It is not perhaps generally known that the common bilberry, which is the earliest of our edible summer berries, yields a second crop in autumn." "The cowberry, or bunchberry as it is called on Cannock Chase, is not so well known or so generally appreciated, but in our opinion, and we may say in that of our betters, it is not by any means a despicable fruit. When properly cooked (and it can be preserved for months by bottling), we find it a good substitute for the much-prized cranberry".

11. Annual Meeting, Stoke-upon-Trent, Thursday, March 18th, 1886.

Summary of the Annual Address by the President, Mr. A. Scrivener. A rather more lively address than last year, on medieval church architecture and complete with a slide show from a "lime-light lantern, under the charge of Mr. Alphonso Hammond, of Hanley".

12. "Autobiography of Mr. Robert Garner".

Short biography of the leading member of the Club, then a very old man, and a list of his works.

13. Mr. J. E. Worth, "The Meteorological of Burslem, for the years 1882-3-4-5".

Detailed monthly tables.

14. Mr. J. B. Piercy, "Rainfall in 1886".

By month, from three local weather stations.

15. "The weather of 1885".

Diagram, by month, but with December cropped off by the scan.

16. Associated Societies.

List of members and their locations.

17. Rules.