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W. S. (William Samuel) Symonds.

Records of the rocks; or, Notes on the geology, natural history, and antiquities of North & South Wales, Devon, & Cornwall online

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KECOEDS OF THE ROCKS.



RECORDS OF THE ROCKS;



OE,

NOTES ON THE GEOLOGY, NATURAL HISTORY,
AND ANTIQUITIES



NORTH & SOUTH WALES, DEVON, & CORNWALL.



BY REV. W. S. SYMONDS, F.G.S.,



BECTOB OF PBNDOCK.




WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS.



LONDON:

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
1872.



TO

SIR CHARLES LYELL, BART, F.R.S, P.G.S.,

1 gtbitste

THESE

RECORDS OF THE ROCKS,

AS A SLIGHT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OP THS ADVANTAGES I HAVE RECEIVED
THROUGH THE STUDY OP HIS WORKS,

WHICH HAVE BEEN MY MENTORS FOR NEARLY THIRTY YEARS,
AND OP THE VALUE AT WHICH I ESTEEM HIS FRIENDSHIP.

W. S. SYMONDS.
PENDOCK, 1872.



PREFACE.



THIS Work is the result of an accumulation of Notes
on Natural History, stored during several years when
travelling, on Geological expeditions, throughout the dis-
tricts on which it treats. It is written for Amateurs who,
like myself, enjoy passing their leisure hours among
Rocks, old Castles, old Authors, and the wild flowers of
strange wayside places. It does not assume to be a
strictly scientific description of the Geological structure
of the different tracts of country to which it alludes, but
I trust it is correct as far as it goes.

For thirty years I have been a lover and constant
explorer of the Geology of the districts to which this
Volume relates ; and having also had more than usual
opportunities of making observations on the Archeology
and Natural History, I have dealt with some districts to
which Murchison hardly alludes, and with subjects that
would have been foreign to his purpose.

The " Grey stone rests above the Chief," and I may
now venture to say that which, if I had penned it before,
would, by the world, have been deemed flattery; and I
say it as one who probably is more intimate with the
" Silurian System," and Siluria, than any living Amateur.



i PREFACE.

It is this : let the Geologist of succeeding years, who
is supplied with all the Maps, Sections, and other appur-
tenances furnished by Geological Surveyors and pro-
fessional experience, bear in mind that the grauwacke of
Siluria was reduced to order, out of chaos, by Murchison :
and how, by the publication of the "Silurian System,"
he advanced the Science of Geology to an extent that
other generations will probably comprehend better than
the present seems capable of doing.

The Volume is enriched by sketches of scenery from
the pencil of my friend, and frequently my companion,
Sir William Guise, Bart., and by the reproduction of
many plates of landscapes, fossils, and sections from that-
well-known scientific work, "Siluria," by Sir Roderick
Murchison.

I have to render my thanks to Miss Dora Baker, of Has-
field Court, Gloucestershire, for illustrations of some of the
typical Fossils ; and last, though not least, to Miss Roberts,
of Hazeldine, Red Marley, for efficient aid in carrying the
MSS. through the press, and for the copious Index.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

PAGE

Astronomy of the Ancients, by Sir George Cornewall Lewis and Delambre
Law of Gravitation Nebular Theory Moons of Jupiter Appli-
cation of Optics to Chemistry by Spectrum Analysis Spectra of the
Fixed Stars Spectrum of the Sun Spectra of the Nebulae The
Meteorite of Lenarto Mr. Sorby on Meteoric Stones Opinions of
the Chemist and Microscopist on the Materials of the Earth's Interior
Volcanic and Plutonic Rocks Minerals of the Igneous Rocks
Eruptions of Lava from centres of Volcanic Action Earthquake
Action Traps, Basalts, and Greenstones Basaltic Columns
Mallet on Earthquakes Sir C. Lyell and Mr. Darwin ditto-
Elevation of Land in Norway and Sweden since the Glacial
Period Ceaseless Change 1



CHAPTER II.

LAURENTIAN ROCKS.

Divisions of Primary Rocks Canadian Laurentians The Eozoon Cana-
dense Fundamental Gneiss of Scotland Section between. Loch
Inver and Ben More Of Queenaig, near Loch Assynt Blocs Perches
near Laxford Plants of Inchnadamph Glacier of Glen Baile
Laiirentians of Lewis Kyle of Durness Cape Wrath and Loch
Eriboll Pingincula Alpina Laurentians of Ross-shire Of Wales,
near Holyhead, Barclsey Island, Anglesea, and Caernarvon Rare
Plant on Holyhead Mountain Gneiss of St. David's Laurentians of
Malvern Described by Leonard Horner Murcliison and Phillips
Dr. Holl Dykes of the North Hill and Worcestershire Beacon The
Valley of the "White-leaved Oak" The Ragged Stone Hill Mr.
Hugh Strickland Antiquities of Malvern Leland on Werstanus
Old Glass at Malvern Church The Priory Malvern Camps . 20



xii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER III.

CAMBRIAN ROCKS.

PAGF

Lmver Cambrians, Sedgwick on Geikie on denudation of Scotland
Cambrians of Scotland Dr. Macculloch on The "Greyheads" of
Applecross Worm Tubes in Lower Quartz of Queenaig Limestone of
Inchnadamph and its Wild Plants Upper Quartz Rock of Glashven,
Ben More, and Ben Hie, also of Eriboll Upper Gneiss of the Moin
And Ben Hope Alsine rubella on Ben Hope Smoo Caves Hugh
Miller on the Scenery of Assy nt Cambrian Rocks of Ireland
Cambrians of the Longmynds Salter on Palaaopyge Ramsayi
Cambrians of St. David's Dr. Hicks on Submerged Forest near,
observed by Giraldus Cambrensis, and alluded to in Gibson's
Camden Giraldus Cambrensis, his Itinerary, Birthplace, &c.
Porth-y-Rhaw Boulders round St. David's St. David and his
Preaching David the Second and his Pipes Cathedral of St. David
and its Tombs Lower Cambrians of N. Wales Llanberis and
Dolbadarn Castles, Sections near Ramsay on Glaciated Cambrian
Grit Glaciers of Llyn Idwal and Cwm Grainog Spiderwort
Caernarvon and Segontium Moel Tryfaen, its Drifts and Marine
Shells Lyell on Local Boulders "Ancient Glaciers of Wales," by
Ramsay The Maenbras of Snowdon Glacier of Carnedd Llewellyn
Bangor, its Antiquities and Rocks Bishop of, fined in Hawks
King John at Prof. Sedgwick on Bangor Cambrians Section near
Fossils of Lower Cambrians Upper Cambrums, Lyell, Phillips,
and Salter (Lowest Silurians of Murchison and Ramsay) Fossils
of Sections near Barmouth and Harlech Leland on the "Friars
Island "Castle of Harlech Plutonia Sedgwickii The Great
Trilobite Paradoxides Gold-bearing Rocks Fossils at Ffestiniog
Porus's Grave Castell Prysor Sara Helen Lingula Flags of
Snowdon Near Bangor And among the Moraines of Cwmgrainog
Lingula Flap of Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Malvern Hills
Miss Margaret Lowe Black Shale Trilobites Tremadoc Rocks
Sedgwick, Ramsay, and Salter on Sections of near Portmadoc and
Moel-y-gest Fossils of Lingula Flags and Tremadoc Beds . . 3

CHAPTER IV.

LOWER SILURIAN ROCKS.

Llandeilo Rocks Typical fossils of Murchison and Sedgwick on Cader
Idris Glacier of Llyn-y-Gader Basaltic columns on Cader Idris
Ramsay on Glacial Lakes Wild flowers on Cader Idris Lake
of Tal-y-llyn Dolgelly Cymmer Abbey The Arans Volcanic



CONTEXTS. xiii

PAGE

Phenomena of Auvergne compared with those of Wales The
Arenigs LJandeilo Strata of Snowdonia Penmaenmawr and its
Plants The Berwyus The Breidden Hills, Sections of Potentilla
rupestris The Camp on the Breiddens Stiper Stones, and Fossils
of "The Silurian System " Sir Roderick and Lady Murchison
Sections to Visit Upper Llandeilos of Builth " The Rocks " and
their Salmon Catch Builth Castle and its Antiquities Leland on
the Death of Prince Llewellyn Llanwrytyd Wells, and the "Wolves
Leap " Llynderw Cromlech near Llangadock Carngoch, and its
Camp Llandeilo Roderick the Great Dynevor Merlin's Cave
Ruins of Dryslyn Caermarthen, and Legend of Merlin Pen
Cader, and Cruelty of Henry II. Kidwelly The Castle, and
Giraklus's Account of the wife of Maurice de Londres Precelly
Hills and Boulders Pencaer and the French Silurian Rocks in
Abereiddy Bay The "Bishop and his Clerks "Llandeilo Beds in
Musclewick Bay Caradoc or Bala Rocks named by Murchison
Caer Caradoc Caradoc Volcano of Snowdonia Different Periods of
Volcanic Activity in Wales Dinas Mowddwy The Valley of Hir-
nant Bala Limestone Bala, Town and Lake of The- great Fault
at Giraldus and Camden on Bala Lake The " Gwiniad " or
Vendace of Bala Lake Sir W. Jardine on the Coregoni Church-
yard on the Gwiniad in 1587 Salmo ferox, taken by Sir P. Egerton
Note on the History of Churchyard, and his " Worthines of
\V a le S "The Alpine Char Rare Plants at Bala Caradoc Rocks
of Caernarvonshire Dolwyddelan and its Castle Moel Siabod and
Capel Curig ; the Geology and Wild Flowers William Williams,
the Botanical Guide ; his Death The Miscodera Arctica The
Welsh Char in Llyn Cawellyn Giraldus Cambrensis on Snowdon
Edward I. at Rocks of Lleyn Criccieth Castle Con way, its Geo-
logy and its History Diganwy Castle Caradoc Rocks of the Ber-
wyns Corwen and Owen Glyndwr Murchison's Sections by Powys
Castle Records of Powys Castle Caradoc Range Onny Section
The Wrekin Caradocs, near Llandovery Roman Gold Mines in
Horn of the Bannog Ox Miracles at Llandewi Brefi Beavers in
the Teifi Strata Florida Abbey Boulder Drift at Tregaron Fossils
of Lower Silurians 78

CHAPTER V.

MIDDLE SILURIAN ROCKS.

Typical Fossils of Lower Llandovery Rocks Section at Noedd-y-grug
Mallwyd The Devil's Bridge Lisburne Lead Mines Ice Action at
Llyn Rheidol Rhaiader Gwy, and its Antiquities Staff of St.



xiv CONTENTS.

PAGE

Cyric at St. Harmon's Camden on King Vortigern Drygan
Mountain and Glacial Lake Boulders between Dolfan and Builth
Lead Mines on the Clarwen Upper Llandovery or May Hill Sand-
stoneTypical Fossils of Rev. T. T. Lewis, of Aymestry Hollies
Limestone Stokesay Castle Section of Llandovery Rocks on the
Longmynds Onny Section Mr. Aikin on the Wrekin Gorton,
near Presteign Boulders of Old Radnor Conglomerate May Hill
Beds, near Builth Of the Mai vems Section from Malvern to
Ledbury Elevated May Hill Beds at the Wind's Point Section on
the Worcester and Hereford Railway May Hill Strata in a Fissure
in Malvern Gneiss in Eastnor Park Where to find Fossils of
Discovery of Earliest-known Pterygotus Howler's Heath Fungi of
The Lickey Dr. Buckland on Lickey Quartz Lucy on Severn
Drifts Kendal End May Hill Meaning of Name Scenery from
Llandovery Rocks of Pembrokeshire Tarannon Shales in Mont-
gomeryshire Near Conway Between Builth and Rhayadr Llan-
drindrod and Cefn Llys Church Tarannon Shales equivalent of
Woolhope Shales Organic Remains of Middle Silurian Rocks . . 12



CHAPTER VI.

UPPER SILURIAN KOCKS.

Typical Fossils of Denbighshire Grits District of Leland on Bwedd
Arthur Castle of Denbigh Leland and Churchyard's Account of
Llanrwst and Burke on Camp on Carnedd Llewelyn Tomb of
Llewelyn-ap-Jorwerth Legend of St. Winefrede Bettws-y-Coed,
and its Fossils Camden on Coch Castle Mallwyd Cwm Hir
Abbey Woolhope Limestone at Old and New Radnor Stanner
Rocks, sketch of Rare Plants at Murchison on Giraldus Cam-
breusis at Radnor Leland on its ruined Castle Eruptive Rocks of
Valley of Woolhope and Haugh wood Drift at Hagley, and
Fossils of Stoke Edith Park and Tarrington Murchison's Room
Wenlock Shales of North Wales Cerrig-y-Druidion and Garn Bris,
inscribed Stone near Ruthiii, Antiquities of, and Churchyard on
Wenlock Shale in Llangollen District Dinas Bran Eagles at
Wenlock Shales near Builth Llandovery and Caermarthen in
May Hill Country and in the Usk District Wenlock Limestone
Section Wenlock Edge, view from Coral Reefs, Darwin and
Jukes on Corals at Benthall Edge Buildwas Abbey, Antiquities
of Landslip near, in 1783 Trilobites discovered afterwards
Abbey of Wenlock Milburga, Lady Abbess-Leland on Wenlock
Wigmore Castle, and Valley of Denudation Drift there, and Lias
Fossils Antiquities of Wigmore The Wren's Nest Wenlock



CONTENTS. xv

PAGE.

Limestone of the Woolhope District Dormington Quarries and
Fossils Wenlock Rocks near Malvern Malvern Museum Wenlock
Crinoidea Wenlock Rocks of May Hill Gloucester Museum
Tortworth Limestones Dit at Usk Marloes Bay, and near Cardiff
Ludlow Rocks The Oldest Fossil Fish Lower Ludlows of North
Wales Caer Digol Outlier of Clun Forest Offa's Dyke Church-
' yard on Camp at Coxwall Knoll " Water Break its Neck " Bone
Beds, Ancient and Modern Bradnor Quarries Murchison at New-
church, near Kington Shobdon Hill and Church Ludlow Rocks,
near Hay, Breconshire The "Boughlinne" of Leland Druid's
Stone Corn-y-fan, Anticlinal and Section Trecastle and the Gwyns
Hugh Miller at Sedgeley Ludlow, its Geology Castle and
Milton's Comus The Church, and Feathers Inn Leintwardine,
and its Star Fish Grayling in Teme, and noticed by Giraldus
Cambrensis Aymestry Limestone and Fossils Mortimer's Cross,
and Battle-field Ledbury, and its Fossils and Antiquities Camden
on Landslips Usk, its Geology and Antiquities Upper Silurians
of Pembroke Abberley Ankerdine Triinpley Linley, and Neen
Sellers Organic Remains of Upper Silurians .... 15$

CHAPTER VII.

OLD RED SANDSTONE.

Typical Fossils of Classification of Strata Origin of name The Fresh-
water Theory The Forest of Hayes and Clun Forest Outliers
Glascwym and its bell Old Red Fish in Ludlow Museum Sir P.
Egerton on Old Red Fishes Huxley and Lankester, ditto Old Red
Fish in Marine Deposits The " South Stone Rock " Leominster,
its Geology and Antiquities Giraldus, Leland, and Camden on
Ivington Camp Hereford, its Antiquities and Geology Sutton
Walls Dynedor Camp The White Cross Weobly Kenchester
Old Red of Malvern and Ledbury Of Kentchurch, Rowlestone, and
Eyas Harold Antiquities of Kilpeck, Kentchurch, Grosmont, and
Skenfrith Giraldus Cambrensis at Abergavenny Churchyard on
The Scyrrid and Sugar Loaf Sir David Gam Sir John Oldcastle
Llanthony Abbey Giraldus on Geology of Travertine near, and
Asplenium viride Sermon at Hay Giraldus, Leland, and Camden
on Hay Clifford Castle on Wye drifts, with bed of bones Brynllys
Castle Arthur's Stone a Cromlech Old Red of Caermarthenshire
Llansteph an Castle In Pembrokeshire, at St. Ishmael's Isle of
Skomer, and Birds' eggs Brownstones of the Old Red Brecon, its
Antiquities and Geology Gaer Bannium and the Maiden Stone
The Brecon Beacons and Glacial Moraines Talgarth Llaugorse



xvi CONTEXTS.

PAGE

Lake, its Fish, Plants, and Prehistoric Remains The Bwlch
Boulders near Buckland Flint Spear at Llanelin Upper Old Red
The Daren Glanusk and its inscribed Stone Crickhowell Castle
Farlow (Clee Hills) and its Fishes Hugh Miller on the
Pterichthys Conularia in the Farlow Beds Ross, Section near
The Buckstone and Monmouth Old Red of Pembrokeshire Near
Tenby Manorbeer Castle, Birthplace of Giraldus Cambrensis
Organic Remains of Old Red Sandstone 212

CHAPTER VIII.

DEVONIAN ROCKS.

Murchison and Sedgwick on Opinions of Prof. Jukes and Mr. Etheridge
Dr. Holl on South Devon Table of Rocks of North and South
Devon and Cornwall Dunster and Foreland Basement Rocks
Porlock, Dunkerry, and Culbone Glenthorne The Quantock Hills
Antiquarian Relic at Crowcombe Court Cleave Abbey Geology
of Lynmouth and Countesbury The Devil's Cheese-ring The
Valley of Rocks, Hunter's Inn, and the Hangman's Combe Martin
Ilfracombe Trap Rocks of Muddiford and Rockham Morthoe
and Tracey " Memorials of Barnstaple " Bull Point and Igneous
Rocks Marwood and its Fossils Boulder at Croyde Braunton
Burrows Leland on St. Branock Birthplace of Gay South Devon
Sections Fossil Fish Remains, formerly supposed to be Fossil
Sponges Fish in Mr. Pengelly's collection Torquay Meadfoot
Sands Position of Looe Fish Beds Looe and Polperro Mr. Couch
of Polperro Penzance Museum Chudleigh Bovey Tracey
Miocene Lake, and Plants of Pengelly's "Head," and Arctic
Plants in Kent's Cavern Submerged Forests noticed by Giraldus
Cambrensis, Leland, and Dr. Borlase Windmill Hill (Brixham)
Bone Caves Change of Level Plymouth Limestone and Plymouth
Bone Caves Geology of Penzance Old Camp near Samphire Island
Fish at Bedruthen Granites of Dartmoor and Cornwall Brent
Tor Abbey of St. Rumon Organic Remains .... 258



CHAPTER IX.

LOWER CARBONIFEROUS ROCKS.

Age of Carboniferous Deposits Plants in Old Red strata Limestone of
North Wales Tregarnedd and Owen Tudor Rowlands the Anti-
quaryTrap dyke of Plas Newydd Outlines of Mountain Lime-



CONTENTS. xvii

PAGE

stone at Preistholm and Llangyihangel Antiquity of Priests' Island
Great Ormes Head and its Geology The Cotoneaster vulgaris -
Botany of Llandudno Abergele and change of Level The Caves of
Cefn Marine shells there The Glutton Geology of Vale of Clwyd
Pillar of Eliseg Chirk Castle, rare Plants at Carboniferous
Limestone of Clee Hills Fossil Fish of Professor Morris on
" Dhustone" of the Clees Pen-Cerrig Calch, a remarkable outlier
Castell Cerrig Cennen, Stone Hatchet at Cardiff, its Antiqui-
ties Rhsetic beds near Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle The
Geology round Bridgend Ewenny Priory, and tomb of the Founder
Ogrnore Castle Geology of Southerndown and Dunraven
Llantwit Major Peninsula of Gower Worms Head, and Leland
on Rare plants of Gower Caves of Gower Cromlechs of Col.
Wood's discoveries Swansea Castle and Church Bishop Gower
White Rose of England Tenby, geology round Giltar and Lydstep
Devonian fossils at Skrinkle Stackpole Court and Cheriton
Giraldus Cambrensis on St. Govan's Head and Chapel The Eligug
Stacks and Sea Birds of Giraldus on a Falcon of Henry II. Rare
plants of Hoyles Mouth, Tenby and its Bone Cave Caldy Island
Bone Caves Submerged Forest at Aniroth Pembroke, its antiqui-
ties Giraldus Cambrensis on Dit Comiues and Leland Lamphey
Palace and Carew Castle, Giraldus on Chepstow and the Wynd-
cliff Tintern Abbey, its Antiquities and Geology Whitchurch,
Symonds Yat, and the Wye Bone Caves of the Dowards Plants of
the Dowards and Symonds Yat The Hermit of the Great Doward
The Machen Boulder Organic Remains of Carboniferous Lime-
stone 303

CHAPTER X.

CARBONIFEROUS ROCKS.

Millstone Grit Section of Carboniferous Rocks in Central England
Scenery of Millstone Grit Watt's Dyke Churchyard on Oswestry
Whittington Castle Peverell of the Peak Millstone Grit of the
Caermarthen Hills of Forest of Dean of Ross district of
Pembrokeshire Haroldstone Boulder The Coal Measures Historic
notes on Coal Prof. Hull's "Coal-fields of Great Britain"
Palaeozoic Coal-fields and their Geographical Distribution Formation
of Coal The "Sunk Country" of Lyell Sir William Logan's
observations Prof. Phillips's "Life on the Earth" Botany of
Coal Chemistry of Coal Coal-fields of N. Wales Anglesea
Flintshire Basingwerk Abbey Denbighshire Coal-field Holt
Castle Bangor Iscoed Shrewsbury Coal-field Bitumen of



xviii CONTENTS.

PAGE

Haughmond Shrewsbury Battle-field Coal Measures of the Clee
Hills Forest of Wrye, Rare Plants of Coalbrook Dale, Fossil
Fishes of Forest of Dean Coal-field, its Oaks Scenery Geology
South Wales Coal-fields Blaenavon Beaufort The Elled Patch
Merthyr Tydvil Pennaut Grit Reptiles of Coal Measures-
Anthracite Neath Abbey Former continuity of Coal Measures
Organic Remains ......... 358

CHAPTER XI.

PERMIAN ROCKS.

Sedgwick and Murchison on Table of Permian Strata Corncockle
Muir and its Footprints Permian Rocks of N. Wales At Anglesea
Vale of Clwyd Wrexham Ellesmere Permian Plants The
" Alberbury Breccia " Lilleshall Bridgenorth, Leland on Anti-
quities of Robert de Belesmo Sections of Drifts near Permian
Sections near Quatford Quat Church and singular Inscription
Church Hill a Permian Outlier Alveley Coton Conglomerate
Warshill Breccias Enville Breccias, Lyell on Boulder Drift of
Bushbury Hagley and Hugh Miller The Clent Hills The
Leasowes and Shenstone Halesowen Warshill Camp Stagbury
Hill Rosebury Rock Permian Puzzle at Malvern Mammoth
Remains at Malvern Museum Malvern and Haffield Breccia
Haffield Camp and Boulders near May Hill Permians Organic
Remains of Permian Rocks . 396



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

t

PAGE

Eligug Stacks, near Pembroke Frontispiece- 343

Canisp, Suilven and Couhnore 25

South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesea 31

Malvern Hills 32

The Longmynds 48

Pass of Llanberis 55

Breidden Hills 80

Caderldris 81

Stiper Stones East 90

Shelve. West of Stiper Stones 92

Caradoc Range 119

View from Stanner Rocks . . . . . . . .161

Ludlow Castle . 183

The Palmer's Cairn Landslip 205

Silurian Rocks of Marloes Bay 213

Llanthony Abbey . 237

Marloes Bay Gateholm and Part of Skomer Island . . . . 242

Whythall, near Ross 257

Sibyl Head 261

Rocks of the Dowards 303

Home of Draba Aizoides ......... 332



xx LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

Tenby 340

St. Gowan's Chapel, Pembrokeshire 342

Jem the Slipper 354

Vegetation of the Carboniferous Era 359

Dean Forest, near Ruardean 367

Speech House, Dean Forest 387

Gurmaya Hills of the South Ural Mountains 398

Permian Breccia at Haffielcl, near Ledbury 418



KECOKDS OF THE BOOKS.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.

Introductory Remarks Astronomy of the Ancients Astronomical and Chemi-
cal Researches respecting the Earlier Stages of the Earth Application
of Optics to Chemistry by Spectrum Analysis Opinions of the Chemist
and Microscopist on the subject of Materials of the Earth's Interior
Volcanic and Plutonic Rocks Earthquake Action Elevation of Land
since the Glacial Period Ceaseless Change.

DURING the last century Science has advanced with extra-
ordinary strides, and has assumed, in consequence, the utmost
importance in the minds of men. In earlier times its progress
was comparatively slow, and it is not difficult for the reader of
History to trace the causes of non-development in the desola-
tion of barbaric warfare, the dark clouds of ignorance, and the
curse of superstition, and religious persecution, which for ages
hung over the whole of Europe. In these later and less
troubled times, aided by the freedom now extended to thought
and scientific discovery, various branches of Philosophy march
on with surer and steadier footsteps.

And of no branch of Science can this be more truly said than
of Geology. The question of the creation, or origin, and the
development of the Earth, is a subject which must ever be of
the greatest interest to God's intellectual creature Man. And
although there are many problems with which we are at present
utterly at a loss how to deal, and many mysteries which we
have not as yet penetrated, yet, looking upon all that has been



2 RECORDS OF THE ROCKS. [CHAP. i.

added to our knowledge by the patient investigations of those
who have devoted a lifetime to geological research, we must
allow that immense progress has of late years been made in
acquiring knowledge with respect to the bygone history of this
Planet.

The Science of Geology has conjured new forms of Life into
existence, and to him who reads the Records of the Eocks there
is unfolded a history such as the inventor of fairy tales never
dreamed of, and which almost startles us sometimes by the
strangeness of its revelations. By the aid of these records we
can trace certain changes the Earth has undergone during
innumerable epochs when as a world she has revolved in space,
and during which, as far as we can learn, her Life systems have
been progressing with time and development.

The Records of the Eocks reveal to us that in the history of
creation the lower animals preceded the higher ; the protozoa,
mollusca, and Crustacea preceded the fish ; the fish preceded
the reptile ; the reptile preceded the bird ; the bird preceded
the higher mammalia ; and man did not appear upon the scene
until long after many of the inferior animals had passed away
for ever.

Palaeontology, or the study of fossil Animals, requires much
time and attention, and is hardly within the reach of an amateur
who is distant from museums and libraries. Still, anyone may
become acquainted with what may be termed the typical fossils
of the various formations through good books and country col-
lections, and this knowledge will suffice for a commencement,
at all events, in the study of Physical Geology. Physical Geo-
logy is open to everyone who is blessed with physical powers
and mental activity, and it takes the lover of Nature among
sea-cliffs, and shores ; mountains and vales ; active and extinct
volcanoes; lava currents, recent, and old; by the glaciers of
the Alps, and the extinct glaciers of mountains now no longer
capped even with snow; by silted-up lakes, and lakes now
dammed by moraines whose ice is gone ; among furrowed hill-
sides, and glaciated glens. It is a glorious history this same
Physical Geology, with its records of sea beds elevated into



CHAP, i.] INTRODUCTION. 3

mountains, and its mountains lowered beneath the sea. In the
following pages I have endeavoured to render some information
respecting localities where such phenomena may best be seen
and visited.

The conclusions arrived at of late years through chemical
and astronomical researches, respecting the earlier stages of the
planet we inhabit, are so remarkable when compared with former



Online LibraryW. S. (William Samuel) SymondsRecords of the rocks; or, Notes on the geology, natural history, and antiquities of North & South Wales, Devon, & Cornwall → online text (page 1 of 40)