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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Wedgwood   4 January 1871


Jan 4 1871

My dear Charles

My information I am afraid will do you no good & just as I had done my measuring my gardener (a Barlaston man bred & born) tells me he remembers the field in tillage when he was a boy1   As he is now 60 this would be about 50 years ago. The only fact you can get from me is that in 50 years the furrows are as deep at the bottom as at the top of the slope. I walked over another grass-field where the ridges were very plain & ran down the gentle slope and as far as my eye went they were as high & the furrows as deep at bottom as at top

In my measurements I could not get quite on the flat because of a bridle road that obliterates most of the ridges— The one I cut through appeared on the other side of the road

Don’t betray me to Mabel but “Heavenly” is the word she uses about her visit to Down2

Your affect. brother | F Wedgwood

If you think I can do any more let me know

First as to ridges running across the slope I find a steep slope to the West— the eastern faces of the ridges are about horizontal— some even slope to the west but I think that only shows that the slope of the hill is about the same as the slope of the ridges   I can not find any field with fresh ridges running across the slope that are comparable to them

Now as to the redges running down the slope

A 17”7 12 D 15 E 16 15”8 15”3
B 2 3 4 3 7 8 4 3 4 6 3 4 3 1 2 3 3 4 4 3 8
C 4 1 4 3 1 2 3 3 8 3 1 2 2 7 8 3 7 8 4
A width in feet
B depth in inches at the bottom where nearly level
C depth in inches at top of field

so that the furrows are a little deeper at the bottom than at the top

I cut two trenches 18 in deep from ridge to ridge one just before the slope died out marked D in sketch above & one after—at the furrow marked E a little below— the depth of furrow was 614 inches. There is a difference in the texture & color of the soil between top & bottom of each trench but it is so gradual & so slight you can not put your finger any where on a division between the two

Scarcely any wormcasts to be seen— we never are much plagued with them in the garden

CD annotations

1.3 about 50] underl pencil
7.1 running down] underl pencil
7.9 than at the top] ‘viz 38 of inch—avg of 6 measurements’ pencil
8.3 difference in the] ‘thickness of it’ interl pencil, ringed pencil, after ‘the’
8.4 top & bottom] two crosses in right margin, blue crayon


See letter from Francis Wedgwood, [before 4 January 1871] and n. 2. The gardener has not been identified.
Wedgwood refers to Mabel Frances Wedgwood; see letter from Francis Wedgwood, [before 4 January 1871] and n. 5.


Depth of furrows in old field.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis (Frank) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 50
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7428,” accessed on 24 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19