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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. D. Fox   7 September [1863]1

Delamere Rectory | Northwich

Sep 7

My dear Darwin

I have not been able to answer your letter2 before in consequence of an attack of fever which has kept me in bed the last 5 days—& I am at present about as strong as a drowning kitten— I hope to be about again soon. I wish I was at Malvern under Gully.3

What you mention about your dear childs grave stone is to me, almost incredible.4 Is it possible you have overlooked it in consequence of its being buried up by surrounding trees & shrubs, as I can easily imagine it might be by this time.

It is very difficult to describe an exact locality—but either my wife5 or I could go to the spot, almost blindfold. A line drawn in line with East end of Church to the road—would nearly cut it I think.

Again—entering the Yard from the lower Gate—& following the path to the main entrance of Church—it is almost 1 third of way—no great distance to right (as to go to the Church)—among se- several tombs which have shrubs & trees thickly planted round them—& even when I last saw it—a good deal covering up this stone.

I am sure it was there in June 1859.6 It was a good strong upright stone—and I remember well “To a good & dear child”.7

If it has been taken away it is one of the most audacious and abominable villainies I ever heard of—& without object—as the digging up—carrying off & reworking the stone would cost more than its worth.

I must not write more— Pray rest yourself & give Malvern a fair chance— Our kindest regards to Mrs Darwin | Yours ever | W D Fox


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. D. Fox, 4 [September 1863].
CD was undergoing treatment at James Smith Ayerst’s hydropathic establishment at Malvern Wells, Worcestershire (see letter to W. D. Fox, 4 [September 1863] and n. 1). Both CD and Fox had earlier undergone treatment at James Manby Gully’s hydropathic establishment at nearby Great Malvern (Correspondence vol. 4).
In his letter of 4 [September 1863], CD told Fox that Emma Darwin had been unable to find the gravestone of their daughter Anne Elizabeth, who had died at Great Malvern in 1851, and that they feared it had been stolen.
Ellen Sophia Fox.
No reference has been found to Fox’s visit to Great Malvern in 1859; however, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 4 [September 1863] and n. 5.
A photograph of the grave appears opposite p. 631.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Gives directions to CD’s daughter’s [Anne’s] grave.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Darwin Fox
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 180
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4296,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11