RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Referee report on Williams, On the raised beaches in Barnstaple. (3.1837) GeolSoc-COM-P4.2.216 Transcribed by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Manuscript photographed by Caroline Lam. Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2011. RN1

NOTE: Reproduced by permission of the Geological Society of London and William Huxley Darwin. With thanks to Caroline Lam. Requests to reproduce these images should be directed to the Geological Society of London.


Williams Rev. D.

It appears that the principal object of Mr Williams' paper is to support the conclusions already arrived at by Prof: Sedgwick and Mr Murchison. The chief point of additional evidence is the discovery of numerous barnacles, beneath the sandstone strata, adhering to the ancient rocks, and elevated between five and ten feet above the living ones. Mr Williams adduces also, as a proof of disturbance the changed course of the Taw, as observed by tracing certain beds of gravel. He suggests that the deposit, from its position being different from that of the sand banks now accumulating, and from the numerous lines of false bedding, was probably a submarine, rather than a beach formation.— The most interesting part of the paper is the description of the subsided forest, near Watchet in North Somersetshire. This appears of more importance, than the case of Pembrokeshire, alluded to by Prof: S. and Mr Murchison, because it is both nearer the described localities, and falls within the area, more particularly marked out as one of elevation. — These opposite movements are adduced as proofs, that we must look to changes of level, rather in the land, than in the water. —

I should, therefore on the above grounds, suggest that Mr Williams' paper, in a shortened form,1 should be printed in the Transactions, immediately after that of Prof: Sedgwick & Mr Murchison.2


C. Darwin

Williams, David. 1837. On the raised beaches of Saunton Downend and Baggy Point. [Read 8 March] Proceedings of the Geological Society of London No. 50, vol. 2: 535.

1 Williams, David. 1840. Extract from a letter, by the Rev. David Williams, F.G.S., on the raised beaches in Barnstaple or Bideford Bay. [Read 8 March 1837] Transactions of the Geological Society of London 2d ser. 5: 287-8.

2 Sedgwick, Adam and Roderick Impey Murchison. 1840. Description of a raised beach in Barnstaple or Bideford Bay, on the North-West coast of Devonshire. [Read 14 December 1836] Transactions of the Geological Society of London 2d ser. 5: 279-86

the underlined text in the margin is not in Darwin's handwriting

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