Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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Minerals. — The minerals of Devon are not sufficiently numerous or important, to have been made the exclusive subject of any public or private collection; nor, with the exception of the neighbourhood of Tavistock, have any considerable mines been of late years worked in this county. The Devonshire minerals, of which I have been able to procure notice from the British Museum, that at Oxford and a few private collections being not sufficiently numerous for a scientific arrangement, are here given in an alphabetical list.
Anthracite. — On the coast near Bideford: it approaches rather to black chalk, as it contains not above ten per cent. of carbon: it occurs as a bed in the greywacke formation, in a position nearly vertical, and extends inland for many miles, in a straight direction eastward; its thickness varying from two inches to two feet.
Calcedony — beautiful blue, in fissures and cavities of chert, in the green sand formation at Sidmouth, and transfused through fossil shells in the Whetstone pits of Blackdown and Haldon; and on the hills near Honiton.
|—. —||Very rich yellow ore,||Wheal Friendship.|
|—. —||Crystallised ditto,|
—. — Yellow pyrites, abundant in all the mines near Tavistock. All the varieties of coated yellow copper ores occur in the Devonshire mines of that neighbourhood, Wheal Friendship, Wheal Crowndale, Wheal Crebor, East Liscombe, Wheal Tamar, &c.
Gold. — Said to have been found in small fragments in stream works on Dartmoor; found of late by Mr. Flexman of South Molton, in native grains in the copper mine at North Molton, occurring in a matrix of black and red oxyde of iron.
— magnetic. — Wheal Crowndale mine, in the parish of Tavistock; in the massive state, Tavistock, South Brent. Risdon, speaking of the latter place, says, not far from hence the wonderful working loadstone hath of late been found. Westcote also mentions a mine or quarry of loadstones at Brent. In 1667 Dr. Edward Cotton sent a loadstone of 60 lb. weight to the Royal Society from this place; though it raised no great weight of iron, it would move a needle at the distance of nine feet.
Lime. — Carbonate, crystallized in many varieties in the rock at Oreston near Plymouth; in Wheal Friendship mine, Mary Tavy; and in fissures and cavities of limestone at Torbay, &c. &c. — Sulphate of (Gypsum) dug at Branscombe; occurs also in the cliffs of red marl from Seaton to Sidmouth.
Lime, fluate of, — with great variety of crystallizations, in the Beer Alston mines. (fn. n1)
Clay Porphyry (called in Cornwall Elvan). — Composed of crystals of quartz disseminated through a base of compact felspar, of a buff colour, occasionally stained by oxyde of iron. — Roborough-down, near Plymouth.
—. — A variety called capped quartz, having one set of the crystalline laminœ decomposed, and the exterior part in consequence separating from the enclosed crystal by a slight blow — near Tavistock; and in Virtuous Lady mine, Buckland.
Meteoric Stone. — Risdon relates that in the year 1623 a meteoric stone (fn. n2) of 27lb. weight, fell with a great noise in the lordship of Strechleigh, in the parish of Ermington: he describes it as being like a stone half burnt for lime. A pamphlet, published at the time, says that it fell on the 10th of January, in an orchard, near some men who were planting trees; that it was buried a yard deep in the ground; that it measured three feet and a half by two and a half, and was a foot and a half in thickness; and that pieces broken off from it were in the possession of many gentlemen of the county.
The strata of lias, which extend from Lyme Regis into Devonshire, contain the remains of the Icthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus; two genera of animals, related to the lizard family, on which the Rev. W. D. Conybeare has furnished an excellent paper in the fifth volume of the Geological Transactions, wherein he gives a detailed account of their osteology, which proves that they form a link between the lizard family and fish; the bones of their head nearly correspond in number and form with those of the crocodile, yet, instead of adhering by common sutures, overlap by squamous sutures, as in fish; an organization which enables them the better to resist the fury of the water. They have four feet, or paddles, formed exclusively for swimming, and their eyes are protected by strong scales under the slerotica. The Icthyosaurus has been described also by Sir Everard Home, in the Philosophical Transactions.
The strata of lias contain occasionally the remains of fish and crustacea, and abound in shells, chiefly of the genera, plagiostoma, gryphea, nautilus, ammonites: they contain also four species of pentacrinites, viz. caput medusæ, briareus, subangularis, and basaltiformis: these animals present a most complicated organization, immediately between the polypi and stelleridæ of Lamarck. A detailed description of them is given in J. S. Miller's (fn. n3) Natural History of the Crinoidea, lately published. The greensand strata of Blackdown and Haldon are very rich in shells of mollusca, which, in the former place, occur changed into a delicate hydrophanous calcedony, and, in the latter, into an opaque red or yellow jasper, frequently imbedded in a matrix of green chert, bearing some coarse resemblance to prase.
Mr. James Parkinson, in the third volume of the organic remains of a former world, and Mr. J. Sowerby, in the mineral conchology, have described the following species from Blackdown: Trigonia eccentrica, dædalea, spinosa, sinuata, alæformis, rudis, affinis; Cuculia glabra, decussata, carinata, fibrosa; Cardium hillanum, proboscideum, umbonatum; Venus plana, angulata, castrensis; Chama plicata; Pecten quadricostata, quinquecostata; Corbula gigantea, lævigata; Auricula incrassata; Hamites spinulosum. Nucula margaritacea; Ammonites Goodhalli; Natica canrena; and two species of Rostellariæ. There occur also various species of Ammonites, Turbo, Murex, Cerithium, Bulla, Dentalium, Nautilus, Echinus, Spatangus, Flustra, and a highly interesting species of Alcyonium.
The chalk at Beer contains the remains of a variety of Pentacrinites, Caput Medusæ, Terebratulæ, Pectens, &c., besides many species which are common to this county and Sussex, of which Mr. G. Mantell gives an account in his Fossils of the South Downs, recently published.
"Of herbes and plants," says Westcote, "there is such diversitie in colour, fashion, taste, smell, and nature, as Mr. Gerarde's best ayde will hardly be able to describe them: and for varietie of flowers (for those are not unsought for neyther of our ladies and gentry,) Lady Flora herself (though canonized by the Romans for a goddess,) will be to seek to fynd out or coyn names severally to distinguish."
Some of the indigenous plants of this county are, as was observed in the account of the natural history of Cornwall, peculiar to it, and have not been found in any other English county. This was observed of the Illecebrum verticillatum. Withering, however, speaks of it as frequent in Devonshire, and Sir James Smith, in the English Botany, mentions it as peculiar to Cornwall and Devon. The Rev. William Buckland found it growing plentifully on the east side of Shute hill, near Axminster. The cynoglossum omphaloides, introduced into the English Flora on the authority of Mr. Polwhele, who tells us that it was found by Mrs. Taylor of Ogwell among the rocks at Teignmouth, must no longer, on those grounds, be considered as a native plant. I have been assured by Mrs. Taylor, that the whole has originated in a mistake, and that she never found the plant at Teignmouth or elsewhere; no wonder that botanical tourists have since searched for it in vain on the Teignmouth rocks.
The Lobelia urens is peculiar to Devonshire, and I cannot learn, notwithstanding another habitat has been given for it, that it grows anywhere but on Kilmington common, and there, although confined to a small spot of ground, it grows plentifully. This I was shewn by William Tucker, Esq., of Coryton, during one of our Devonshire tours. I saw also during these tours, anchusa sempervirens growing plentifully in several parts of the south of Devon; aquilegia vulgaris near Torquay and near Ugbrook; Bartsia viscosa near Stoke Fleming, and near Morwell; iris fætidissima, plentiful about Torquay; lepidium didymum; campanula hæderacea; cistus polifolius, near Babicomb and Torquay; hypericum androsæmum, occurring sparingly in almost every ride; rubia peregrina, near Torquay; lathyrus sylvestris, near Sandridge; Euphorbia Portlandica, near Exmouth, and on the warren opposite; lithospermum purpurocæruleum, shewn to me by Mr. Neck, on Dungeon Cliff, near St. Mary Church; melittis grandiflora in several parts of the south of Devon, particularly in great abundance near Ashburton; Sibthorpia Europæa, at Rattery and Sherford; trifolium subterraneum & trifolium suffocatum, at Teignmouth; vicia bithynica, Exmouth; viola lactea on Bovey Heathfield and Woodbury common. I saw oxalis corniculata abounding as a garden-weed, but could not find it in any of the habitats described near Dawlish: Dr. Wavell tells me it grows near Appledore. Polycarpon tetraphyllum, found at Lympstone in Hudson's time, and by the late Mr. Newbery, had been sought for in vain at the habitat described for many years. I was equally unsuccessful; but about two years after I was at Lympstone, the plant was discovered by Miss Filmore growing abundantly near the spot described, and specimens of it were sent me by the late Rev. Mr. Jervis, of Lympstone.
It is a singular circumstance, which should be noticed when speaking of the botany of this county, that whilst the primula vulgaris is more than usually abundant, particularly in the southern parts of Devonshire, the primula veris, or cowslip, is to be reckoned amongst the rare plants; and though it is abundant in a few fields bordering on Dorsetshire, it is of rare occurrence in the southern part of Devon, and in the north, and most other parts, is wholly unknown. (fn. n4)
The following brief list of rare plants, or such as are not of general occurrence, is given chiefly on the authority of botanists of the county, quoted by Mr. Polwhele; or of the Rev. J. P. Jones, who has lately published a botanical tour of the county, in which some very interesting discoveries appear to have been made by himself and other botanists of the present day; particularly of the habitats of cryptogamous and other plants, which, though known to grow abundantly in the northern parts of the island, had not before been found in the southern counties.
|Names of the Plants.||Where found.||Authority.|
|Veronica montana||Near Torrington||Dr. Wavell.|
|Pinguicula Lusitani ca||Bogs on Haldon and Dartmoor||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Schœnus albus||On a common near Axminster||Mr. E. Forster, jun.|
|Scirpus fluitans||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— holoschœnus||Plentifully on Braunton borough||Dr. Wavell.|
|— sylvaticus||King's Teignton||Mr. Anderson.|
|Eriophorum vaginatum||On Dartmoor||Mr. E. Forster, jun.|
|Melica nutans||Wood near Dolton||Dr. Wavell.|
|Poa bulbosa||Den at Teignmouth||Rev. Dr. Beeke. (fn. n5)|
|Centunculus minimus||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Exacum filiforme||Said to be more frequent in Devon than any other county.|
|Verbascum Lychnitis||Dr. Wavell.|
|Vinca minor||Near Chudleigh, &c.||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Near Axminster.||Rev. W. Buckland.|
|Eryngium campestre||Near Plymouth (fn. n6)||Ray and Mr. Yonge.|
|Bupleurum Odontites (fn. n7)||On the marble rocks at Babicombe||Rev. Mr. Neck and Dr. Beeke.|
|Sium repens (fn. n8)||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Œnanthe pimpinelloides||Near Cleve||Rev. Mr. Weston.|
|Corrigiola litoralis||Slapton sands.|
|Radiola millegrana||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Linum angustifolium||Near Dartington bridge||Dr. Maton.|
|Tulipa sylvestris||Woods near Hall||Dr. Wavell.|
|Scilla autumnalis||Near Torquay||Rev. Mr. Weston.|
|On a hill above Bigbury||Mr. Yonge.|
|Berryhead||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Acorus Calamus||Bideford||Mr. Pike.|
|Juncus Acutus||Braunton borough||Rev. Dr. Goodenough. (fn. n9)|
|Alisma ranunculoides||Preston near King's Teignton||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Dianthus Armeria||King's Teignton and Trusham||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Silene acaulis||On Dartmoor||Hudson.|
|— Anglica||Near King's Teignton and Lustleigh||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Spergula nodosa||High Tor rocks||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Euphorbia peplis||Near Exmouth||Hudson.|
|Northam borough||Mr. Yonge.|
|Near Paignton||Mr. Sinclair Cullen.|
|Mentha viridis||Near Exmouth||Hudson.|
|— rotundifolia||Lord Lisbourne's grounds||Rev. Mr. Weston.|
|Leonurus cardiaca||Chudleigh, Lustleigh, &c.||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Scutellaria minor||Woolleigh||Dr. Wavell.|
|Alyssum maritimum||Cliffs at Budleigh Salterton||Mr. Forster, 1807.|
|Cochlearia Danica||Near Torquay||Rev. Dr. Beeke.|
|Teesdalia (Iberis nudicaulis)||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Erysimum præcox||Near Teignmouth and King's Teignton||Rev. Dr. Beeke.|
|Cheiranthus sinuatus||Rocks near Braunton Borough||Mr. Polwhele.|
|Crambe maritima (fn. n10)||Cliffs near Teignmouth and Sidmouth||Dr. Maton and Rev. Dr. Beeke.|
|Lavatera arborea||Rocks at Torbay||Rev. Mr. Weston.|
|Fumaria claviculata||North Bovey||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Vicia sylvatica||Coppices on the marble rocks, King's Teignton||Rev. Dr. Beeke.|
|Medicago polymorpha||Frequent on the south coast||Rev. Dr. Beeke.|
|Chrysocoma linosyris||Berryhead||Rev. Mr. Holbech, 1812. (fn. n11)|
|Carex extensa||Rev. Dr. Goodenough.|
|Littorella lacustris||Bovey Heathfield||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Myrica Gale||Frequent in the county in boggy grounds.|
|Pillularia globifera||Mr. Polwhele.|
|Fontinalis squamosa||Lustleigh Cleve||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Splachnum Turnerianum||Mr. Turner and Mr. Sowerby.|
|— ampullaceum||Near Sidmouth||Miss Dale.|
|Gymnostonum fasciculare||Cawsand hill||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— viridissimum||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— (Weissia) crispula||Rocks at Exwick||Miss Dale.|
|— (Weissia) recurvirostra||Wall of Heavitree quarry||Miss Dale.|
|Dicranum varium||Haldon||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— flavescens||Lidford fall||Mr. Greville.|
|— flexuosum||Cawsand hill||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Trichostomum microcarpum||Lustleigh Cleve||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Tortula tortuosa||Babicombe||Mr. Greville.|
|Pterogonium Smithii||Near Maidencombe||Mr. Greville.|
|— gracile||Lustleigh Cleve||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Neckera pumila||Dartmoor||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Polytrichum urnigerum||Haldon||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Bryum roseum||North Bovey||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— palustre||Dartmoor||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— ventricosum||Rocks at Exwick (without fruit)||Miss Dale.|
|Hypnum medium||Near Exeter||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— alopecurum||Lustleigh Cleve|
|Hookeria lucens||North Bovey, Lidford fall, and Manaton||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Bartramia pomiformis||North Bovey||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|Jungermannia tomentella||Lidford fall||Mr. Greville.|
|— cochleariformis||Streams on Dartmoor||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— humatifolia||See English Botany, 2592.|
|Jungermannia julacea||See English Botany, 1024.|
|— purpurea||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|Targionia hypophylla||Near Dawlish and Exmouth||Hudson.|
|Lichen articulatus||Widdecombe||Mr. Puddicombe.|
|— atro-albus||Moreton and North Bovey||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— conspersus||Near Clifford's bridge, Drew's Teignton|
|— chrysophthalmus||See English Botany, 1088.|
|— cochleatus||Mr. Slater and Mr. Dawson Turner.|
|— exilis||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— fallax||Mountainous parts of Devon||Mr. Slater.|
|— furfuraceus||Wild Tor rock, five miles from Chagford||Rev. Mr. Newberry.|
|— flaccidus||See English Botany, 1653.|
|— flavicans||More common in Devon than in other counties||English Botany.|
|— geographicus||Valley of Stones||Mr. Dawson Turner.|
|— globiferus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— glomuliferus||Mr. Newberry.|
|— gracilis||Heytor rocks||Mr. Anderson.|
|— horizontalis||Mr. E. Forster, jun.|
|— Islandicus||Heytor rocks||Mr. Anderson.|
|— lanatus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— lætevirens||Mr. Newberry.|
|— leucomelos||Babicombe||Mr. Hooker, 1813.|
|— lentigerus||St. Mary Church||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— miniatus||Lustleigh Cleve||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— omphalodes||North Bovey||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— pallidus||Moreton||Mr. Jones.|
|— perellus (fn. n12)||North Bovey|
|— paschalis||Grimspound and rocks on Dartmoor|
|— pulmonarius||Lustleigh Cleve|
|— pustulatus||Heytor rocks|
|— proboscideus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— plumbeus||Mr. Newberry.|
|— resupinatus||Moreton||Mr. Puddicombe.|
|— saxatilis||Dartmoor||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— scrobiculatus||Manaton||Rev. Mr. Jones.|
|— stictoceros||Warren opposite Exmouth||James Brodie, Esq.|
|— sinuatus||See English Botany, 772.|
|— tartareus (fn. n12)||Dartmoor.|
|— tristis||See English Botany, 720.|
|— tremelloides||See English Botany:|
|— torrefactus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— ventosus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
|— vulpinus||Dartmoor||Mr. Newberry.|
Birds. — On this head I have little to observe. The black eagle and osprey are sometimes seen in this county, and the latter breeds on the cliffs. The Cornish chough is less frequent than in Cornwall: the black cock is still to be found on the moor, but is become scarce: among the rarer birds are the ring owzle and the aberdevine or siskin. The nightingale is so rare, that it has been questioned whether it ever comes into the county. In addition to the authorities given by Polwhele, I am assured by George Drake, Esq., of Ipplepen, that he frequently both saw and heard one, which continued near his house a whole summer, a few years ago. Among birds of passage, flocks of Bohemian chatterers, grossbeaks, and crossbills are occasionally seen, and some rare waterfowl, especially during severe winters. The late G. Montague, Esq., of Kingsbridge, had a large collection of stuffed English birds, among which were many rare species shot in this county: the collection has been purchased, since his death, by government, for the British Museum. The Rev. Mr. Vaughan, of Aveton Giffard, has a collection also of preserved birds.
Mineral and other remarkable Springs. — Chalybeate springs abound in the county of Devon: some of these have acquired temporary celebrity. A spring near Totnes is spoken of by Westcote as having possessed great popularity about the year 1605: its virtues were probably over-rated, as it appears to have been in disuse about 20 years afterwards. At Brook, near Tavistock, was a spring much resorted to by the common people, as were springs at Swimbridge, North Molton, Whitwell, on Little Haldon, and Bellamarsh, in King's Teignton. Mr. Polwhele, in 1793, speaks of the latter as still in repute: that gentleman observes that he could learn nothing at Lifton of a mineral spring there, mentioned by tourists. There is a strong chalybeate spring near Lifton bridge. (fn. n13) A spring in St. Sidwell's parish was formerly in repute for its medicinal virtues. Gabb's well, near Cleve, in St. Thomas's parish, was formerly in use as a chalybeate, and there are others in that parish. There are chalybeate springs also at King's Teignton, on Well estate in Ideford, a very strong one at Bampton, others near Cowleybridge, at Castlehill, Ilsington, &c.; several in Exminster, near Totnes, &c. &c. Some of those near Totnes are, or were in repute for complaints of the eye: there is a spring, said to have similar virtues, at Anchorwood, near Barnstaple. At Ashburton, and near the Dart, are springs saturated with ochre. A pool in one of the Bovey coalpits is spoken of as warm, the water being covered with an ochreous incrustation. Laywell in Brixham ebbs and flows. Risdon speaks of a pond at Tidwell, near Otterton, which is of the same nature.