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and rare fossils abound; and I doubt not but some who shall examine them will favour the public, by your means, with accounts of their discoveries.
HORDEL Cliff, in the parish of Hordel, in Hampshire, is situated upon the sea coast between Lymington and Christchurch.
This Cliff is in perpendicular height about fifty yards from the sea, at high water mark, and extends about a mile and a half along shore; it is composed chiefly of red gravel,
a to about 18 or 20 yards below the surface, but amongst the gravel very few shells, or remains of marine bodies are to be found.
In many parts of this Cliff there are large veins, or rather masses, of a mouldering soft blue clay, through which land springs are continually trickling down, which by degrees loosen the clay, and cause it to slide away in great beds, one below another, and perhaps the frosts may not a little contribute to produce this effect. So that the surface has in a few years been greatly worn away.
When this fall of the Cliff happens, then there is found perhaps the greatest variety both of the turbinated and bivalve shells, that ever were met with in any one place in the world, in their original state, and have suffered no change for innumerable ages past; this so remarkable a circumstance may be daily verified by inspecting the cabinets of the curious.
Many of these shells are the natural inhabitants of very distant regions, and some of them entirely unknown, either in their natural or fossile state,
Towards the bottom of this cliff there are frequently found large nodules of a hard reddish iron stone, or marble, being no other than an entire mass of shells, with which the church and other edifices are built.
Atherton Cliffs are situated on the back of the Isle of Wight, about five miles from Newport. At the bottom of these cliffs, on the beach, are found, in great abundance, weighty pyritical substances seemingly moulded in varieties of beautiful shells,
Sodbury, in Gloucestershire, 'distant from Bristol eleven, from Bath fourteen, miles. There is, to appearance, as great a variety of natural bodies, within the compass of four miles round this town, as can be found in any one spot of that extent in England. On the descent of a steep stony hill, about a mile eastward from the town, the banks on each side are tall of belemnites of very different kinds, nautilites of the
ribbed sort, and others. At the entrance of the town, a little south of the road, there is a large quarry of hard blue stone, being composed of masses of bivalve shells.
Near Ipswich, in Suffolk, eight miles from the sea, are many large pits of shells, called Graigs in that country, and some large veins of shells, but all found on the sides of hills.
Some pits are thirty feet deep, containing a variety of bivalve and turbinated shells. What is very remarkable of one sort of the last is, that their mouths open to the lefthand, whereas most of that species open to the right.
Within these few years past, many thousand loads have been carried off to mend land, to the very great advantage of the husbandmen.
It is not a little surprising, that this mass of shells (called Craig) should be so good to enrich light sandy lands, even those the most barren, that would otherwise produce nothing but heath and moss. But on clay lands it has been often tried, and found of no benefit,
In the Isle of Shepey, in Kent. On the north side of this small tract of land there are cliffs of different strata of clay, to about eighty feet high; they decrease gradually to the westward:
As these cliffs moulder down by frosts and stormy weather, a great variety of extraneous bodies, saturated with pyritical matter, are scattered along the shore; amongst these are found teeth, vertebræ, and other parts of fish, and many entire crabs and other fish of the crustaceous kind, petrified wood, variety of seed vessels; there are nodules also, whịch, broken, contain within them fair specimens of the Nautilus Crassus Indicus.
I have been informed, that at Faringdon in Berkshire, some remarkable fossils are found in a reddish gravelly bed or soil near that town.
And in a hill, called Catsgrove, near Reading in Berkshire, are found in a bed of natural sea sand, great numbers of oysters entire, which, when exposed to the air, crumble into dust.
XXIV. Discoveries of Fossil Bones in several Counties.
Extract of three very remarkable Letters, communicated by
Peter Collinson, Esq. F.R. S. concerning Elephants' Bones of vast sise dug up in England.
From Francis Biddulph, Esq. to Strickland Mannock, Esq.
Burton, Sussex, Dec. 24, 1740. You may depend on it for certain that the bones of an elephant were found here. They were nine feet deep in the ground, and discovered in July last by some workmen digging a trench in our park; and by the appearance and disposition of the earth, all people judged it had never been opened.
The first thing discovered was a large tooth, seven feet six inches in length, and, as it lay in the ground, was whole and entire, but in taking up, it broke all to pieces.
After this, several more were found in carrying on the trench, particularly the fellow to the beforementioned ivory tooth, exactly of the same length; which being taken up with more care, is now to be seen, though both ends were broken off; also two more shorter tusks of about three feet in length; a thigh bone forty inches long, and thirty-one inches round in the thickest part.
There were several other bones, as the knee-pan; but the most perfect of all was one of the grinders not in the least decayed, with part of the jaw-bone, which together weighed above 14 pounds; the upper part of the tooth, where it meets its opposite, was six inches and a half long, and three inches broad. There were several other bones, not here mentioned.
But what is very remarkable is, that these teeth, bones, &c. did not lie close together, as one might suppose those of a skeleton to do, but at some distance asunder; and the larger tusks were full twenty feet apart.
The Rev, Dr. Langwith, minister of Petworth, has most of them, excepting one of the largest tusks, and one large bone. He was here at taking them up, and reasonably concludes, they were not thrown in by hand, but buried in the universal deluge.
P.S. In the past hard winter there was killed a swan at Emsworth, between Chichester and Portsmouth, lying on a creek of the sea, that had a ring round its neck, with the King of Denmark's arms on it.
From Mannock Strickland, Esq. to ****,
April 4, 1741. A FEW months after the foregoing letter was written, being near Mr. Biddulph's, I paid him a visit, where I saw the greatest part of one of the great teeth: it was seven feet and half a long; and at Dr. Langwith's I saw the other, with the rest of the bones mentioned in Mr. Biddulph's letter, all things agreeing exactly with his descriptions. I saw also the pit it was digged out of, and observed the various strata, which run parallel, and had never been disturbed.
Within a quarter of a mile south runs a vast mountainous ridge of hills, called the South Downs of Burton Hills, from the name of the parish Mr. Biddulph lives in.
Extract of Letter III. from a Rev. Clergyman to Peter Collinson,
Esq. F. R. S.
Bristol, October 23, 1756. I had also forgot to tell you of a noble acquisition, since my tour to Wales. A gentleman who was digging upon a high hill near Mendip, for ochre and ore, found at the depth of 52 fathom, or 315 and half feet (as he measured himself by direct line) four teeth, not tusks, of a large elephant (which I think is the whole number the creature has). and two thigh-bones, with part of the head; all extremely well preserved; for they lay in a bed of ochre, which I could easily wash off
. When they were brought to me, every crevice was filled with the ochre, and as I washed it off from the outside, a most beautiful white appeared; and they make a fine show in my cabinet. I propose going down into the pit myself soon; for the men have left several small pieces behind, which they did not think worth bringing up, and I make no doubt, if that be the case, but I shall procure the whole, or great part of the animal.
I have, also, since I saw you, got part of an immensely large stag's horn, undoubtedly fossil, dug up ten mile's from Bristol.
Observations by P. C.
In England the teeth and bones of elephants have been often found fossil; and yet it is allowed on all hands, that so many elephants were never brought hither by men, as have been dug up.
In particular, besides the above accounts, I had a large grinder from Norfolk, which was found with other teeth and bones.
From Mersey Island in Essex, was sent me a large grinder, and part of a thigh-bone; these were found with the entire skeleton, which was destroyed by the country people.
Mr. John Luffkin in Philos. Transact. No. 274, mentions bones and teeth of an elephant found near Harwich in Essex.
Mr. Somner, in Phil. Transact. No. 272, mentions an elephant found at Chartam, near Canterbury: the teeth were all grinders, four in number.
Dr. Woodward mentions two large tusks of an elephant, found at Bowden Parva, in Northamptonshire. He had besides several pieces of elephants teeth dug up in a gravel pit at Islington.
Unless we allow Dr. Woodward's hypothesis of the deluge, it is difficult to conceive how the teeth, bones, &c. of this vast animal came to be found so frequently in this island.
The Romans were the only people who could bring any to intimidate the Britons in their wars: but we have not the least account of any such thing. 1757, May
MR. URBAN, In your Magazine for May, we have three letters communicated by the ingenious Peter Collinson, Esq. F. R. S. giving an account of bones of elephants found at different places in Sussex, Essex, and near Canterbury; wherein that gentleman observes that “the Romans were the only people who could bring any elephants to intimidate the Britons in their wars;" which indeed is true; and we find that in fact elephants where brought over by the Romans. In Polyænus's Stratagems we find a victory gained by the Romans over the Britons by means of an elephant. Cæsar," says that author, “ in Britain attempted to pass a great river, (supposed the Thames) Casolaunus, (in Cæsar Čassivellaunus) king of the Britons, opposed his passage with a large