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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [4 January 1872]1

Bassett, | Southampton.


My dear Father,

I am sorry I forgot to state that the diagram refers to a patch about 34 of a mile from Stonehenge; the figures in the letter to a place 6 miles from it, which I only examined enough to see it was worth carefully examining & measuring.2

in the diagram the centre part of slope certainly was steeper; there are lots of other points to look to, and when I go to S. H again; I will take the slope in 3 places with a clinometer.

I shall be at Down on Sunday week (15th)3

I go to Beaulieu tomorrow with letters to Lord H. Scott from the Bank.4 I send you one sheet. The other I send on Saturday, and the remaining sheets in a few days.5 Is it possible that the slight mound on which the southern stones rest, is the earth displaced by them disseminated by worms? I cannot now remember whether the earth sloped away in several directions

Your affect son | W. E Darwin

The field I mentioned in my letter is a failure I will explain when I see you.


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 3 January [1872] (Correspondence vol. 20). In 1872, the Thursday after 3 January was 4 January.
The diagram has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. It was enclosed with the letter from W. E. Darwin, [1 January 1872] (Correspondence vol. 20). In the same letter, William drew a sketch to indicate where earthworm castings were found at the edges of a large stone on turf. CD had asked several questions about the diagram (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter to W. E. Darwin, 3 January [1872]).
In 1872, 15 January was in fact a Monday.
Henry John Montagu-Douglas-Scott was the landowner in Beaulieu, Hampshire, occupying Palace House and estates of the former abbey (Post Office directory of Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and Wiltshire 1875). William examined earth at the base of stones at the ruined abbey in Beaulieu on 5 January 1872 (see Earthworms, pp. 193–7).
William was correcting the proofs of Origin 6th ed. CD said he had received the last proof in his letter of 9 January [1872] (Correspondence vol. 20).


Sends comments on his diagram of Stonehenge. Will go to Beaulieu.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bassett, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 49)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8141F,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)