Friday, 30 March 2018

Lyell's Boulder

One of the greatest local luminaries is Sir Charles Lyell (1797 to 1875), who essentially established geology as an academic field of study and introduced a number of theories that are now the bedrock of the discipline. Lyell was a contemporary and friend of Darwin, and one of the first heavyweight academics to lend credence to Darwin's "Theory of Evolution". Lyell was accorded the honour of being buried in Westminster Abbey as I detail here.

Sir Charles Lyell

When I say local, I mean ne plus ultra local: Sir Charles Lyell owned the plot of land where Balintore Castle now stands, prior to the sale of the Balintore Estate to David Lyon.

I had the story told to me by my friend Andrew, that just before dying Lyell insisted on being taken for one last time to a boulder on top of Meams Hill just to the north of Kirriemuir, which I regularly drive past. Andrew and I have often pondered climbing the hill to find it.

Apparently, the boulder was some remnant of ice-age transport that proved that an ice age had actually occurred. Lyell crawled from his carriage on all fours, almost blind by this stage, just so he could touch the stone.

Anyhow, upon recent interrogation by a local historian it transpired that I had no idea where Andrew got his information. Anyone with an interest in history should check their sources, so I checked back with Andrew. The Lyell story can be found in the 'Regality of Kirriemuir' by Alan Reid, 1909. The book was limited to a print run of 650 copies, after which the printing plates were destroyed. I include photographs of the two pages that tell the tale below:

Lyell's boulder story: part 1 of 2

Lyell's boulder story: part 2 of 2

No comments:

Post a Comment