William and Francis Buckland
[ Issue 16 ]

Wiliam and Francis Buckland intrigue Emily Bronto

Let Bikwil introduce you to Wiliam and Francis Buckland

William and Francis Buckland

Fizzgig treats us to some facts about William and Francis Buckland, the father a pioneer of scientific geology, the son an Inspector of Salmon Fisheries — and both of them eaters of anything, no matter how disgusting.

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From the Back Verandah — Fizzgig

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Dinosaur fossils had once been thought to be the bones of either dragons or giants. But when geologist Dean William Buckland of Oxford (1784-1856) described the carnivorous "lizard" Megalosaurus in 1824, they began to be studied as an extinct group of giant reptiles. He is regarded as a pioneer of scientific geology, although, being a clergyman, he also tried valiantly to relate geology to the Biblical Creation. His son Francis (1826-1880) made a special study of fish, and for the last 14 years of his life was Inspector of Salmon Fisheries.

Indeed William and Frank had an avid interest in all living creatures, not just fish and dinosaurs. Many they kept as pets; others they ate. They tried everything at their bizarre dining table, so William could speak with authority when he claimed that the most revolting of all foods was mole. (Of course, that was before he tasted stewed bluebottles.) It was said that he had even eaten the embalmed heart of Louis XIV. Among their other dinner treats were boiled or sautéed slugs, earwigs, mice en croûte, to say nothing of meat from animals that had died in the zoo.

Once they were visiting an Italian cathedral, and a bloodstain was pointed out to them on the floor, where a martyred saint had died. When they were informed that it liquefied every night, one of them dipped his finger into it and tasted.

“It’s not blood; it’s just bats’ urine.”
 

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