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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Farrer   5 September 1877

Abinger Hall, | Dorking. | (Gomshall S.E.R. | Station & Telegraph.)

5 Sept/77

My dear Mr Darwin

I send you from the B of T two papers describing the Roman remains near Cirencester. Will you kindly return them as they belong to my cousin. From Ld Eldon I have not heard—1 Most likely he is away from home—

Your very pleasant note followed me to the Severn where I have had a delightful trip with the boys and an old boating friend. I tried to find your house at Shrewsbury: but had not time to get to it.2

Not so many holes this morning— they are many of them filled up with washed dirt— But there are many worm tracks: and 5 or 6 distinct worm casts.3

Sincerely yours | T H Farrer

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘No use’ pencil


CD discussed the excavation of a Roman villa at Chedworth, Gloucester, in Earthworms, pp. 197–9, citing Grover 1868 and a paper by Thomas Henry Farrer’s cousin James Farrer (J. Farrer 1866; see Earthworms, p. 198 n.). The villa was on an estate belonging to James Farrer’s nephew John Scott, third earl of Eldon. For more on the excavations, see ‘Chedworth’ in Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) 1976, pp. 24–9. CD had observed worm activity at Thomas Farrer’s excavation of Roman remains near his home at Abinger, Surrey, when he visited in August 1877 (Earthworms, pp. 178–93). Thomas Farrer worked at the Board of Trade.
See letter to T. H. Farrer, 27 August [1877]. The former Darwin family home, The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, had been put up for sale in 1867 (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Salt & Sons, 17 July 1867). Farrer’s sons were Thomas Cecil Farrer, Claude Erskine Farrer, and Noel Maitland Farrer; the Farrers were away from 27 August to 5 September 1877 (letter from T. H. Farrer, 23 September 1877).
See letter from T. H. Farrer, 26 August 1877 and n. 1, and letter to T. H. Farrer, 27 August [1877]. CD cited the observations in this letter in Earthworms, p. 186.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

Farrer, James. 1866. Notice of recent excavations in Chedworth Wood, on the estate of the Earl of Eldon, in the county of Gloucester. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 6 (1864–6): 278–83.

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England). 1976. Ancient and historical monuments in the county of Gloucester; Iron Age and Romano-British monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. London: the Commission.


Sends two papers on Roman ruins at Cirencester, which he asks CD to return.

Worm observations.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Abinger Hall
Source of text
DAR 164: 83
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11129,” accessed on 29 November 2021,