s John Freeman Milward Dovaston (17821854). A friend of Thomas Bewick according to Forrest and an early investigator of migration:

From ‘Two old Shropshire naturalists’, Forrest (1910) in Transactions of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club, page 128

s Rowland (Lord) Hill (18001875)

He built a new wing to the estate house at Hawkstone specifically to accommodate a collection of birds and mammals, many mounted by Henry and John Shaw of Shrewsbury. He experimented with species introductions, some of which appear in the pages of this database. If his collection survives, with an inventory, it would be a resource worth investigating further.

s Thomas Campbell Eyton (18091880) was the first to attempt a list of the birds of the county, in 1838 and 1839.


Regrettably we have no picture


s John Rocke (18171881)

Rocke lived at Clungunford House in Clungunford, south Shropshire, a building in the Rocke family ownership until 1990.  His collection of birds (mounted skins of course), was at one stage claimed to be the finest and most complete in the country, and was housed in its own wing at Clungunford.  Some of Rocke’s collection, the work of Henry Shaw, survives (much faded now) in storage Ludlow Museum.  His four-part ‘Ornithological notes from Shropshire’ published in the Zoologist in 1865 and 1866, was the second sizeable county account following that of Eyton a quarter of a century earlier and a decade before Beckwith’s major works.

s William Edmund Beckwith (18441892). William Beckwith was second only to Forrest as the best informed and most prolific writer on the birds of this county. He was in the process of writing his serialised ‘Notes on the Birds of Shropshire’, in the Transactions of the Shropshire Natural History & Philosophical Society, after nine instalments, when he died suddenly after a few days illness on 22 July 1892, aged only 43. He had left his native Eaton Constantine with his family to live in Shrewsbury only four years earlier. Forrest believed that Beckwith was intending to publish his work in a book but alas that was never to come about. Beckwith is buried in Eaton Constantine.

His 188 published pages on this website fill Volume 2 of the printout - a monument to his sadly incomplete work.

s The Chadderton taxidermist. By John Houghton Hague 1842-1934 Reproduced by kind permission of Gallery Oldham [www.galleryoldham.org.uk/homepage]

A slight liberty taken with the size of the Hoopoe and I think Henry ‘Harry’ Shaw’s place at 45 High Street in Shrewsbury would have been a little better organised.




s Henry ‘Harry’ Shaw (18121887), the celebrated taxidermist of Shrewsbury. He deserves a place British ornithological history for recognising England’s first Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla); it was obtained near Shrewsbury on 25 October 1841 and brought to Mr Shaw who recognised it and sent it on to Yarrell who published it in his History of British Birds.

s Mr Shaw moved his business to 45 High Street in 1870 (picture of January 2011). See John Shaw.

s John Shaw (1816–1888), brother of Henry Shaw and also a taxidermist. Both he and his brother were taught their trade by their father who had a shop in Shoplatch, demolished in 1868 to make way for the then New Market Hall.



s John Hugh Owen, FLS (1877–1959). Owen was probably most notable for his ability to find nests and his meticulous observations of nesting behaviours. There is a mention in his obituary of him sometimes seemingly grumpy, shades of which might be visible in this image of him (far right) with a group of members of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club on a field outing.

From CSVFC Transactions 1957 p.141 taken by LC Lloyd on 22 May 1951.

s Herbert Edward Forrest (18581942). Forrest was a polymath, perhaps before the word was invented. He gave talks and published papers on a huge variety of geological, archaeological and zoological subjects, far too many to relate here. Relating to birds he published The Fauna of Shropshire in 1899 and edited the bird chapter of the Victoria County History of 1908. He was responsible for writing most of the early annual Record of Bare Facts of the Caradoc.



v The corner of the Shropshire Archive in Shrewsbury holding, top left, the collection of the papers of the Shropshire Natural History and Philosophical Society and its successor the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club.





u The shelved volumes of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club, 1892 to 1960, in the Shropshire Archive. Every page of these volumes with a reference to birds, along with those of the Shropshire Natural History and Philosophical Society, have been scanned for the ‘Historical’ database.


s The ‘Marsh Warbler’ saga. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has in its collections this specimen (ref. 1971Z63) from Much Wenlock in 1971 sent in by one H Southern, of whom we currently have no further knowledge. Labelled ‘Marsh Warbler’ its identity, currently being checked, is not known but is being pursued. As a Marsh Warbler it would be one of three or four Shropshire records. DNA might hold the answer. Watch this space … JJT 18 June 2012

Photo: Martin George



t Britain’s first Magnificant Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens, now in the Natural History Museum at Tring. The bird was found, alive, in a field near Prees Heath by Philip Harney on 7 November 2005 and taken to an animal sanctuary for care but it unfortunately died. In life the bird would have been about 100cm long with a wing-span of about 240cm.

Photo: Stephen Haycox.




v Erythristic Rook eggs, bottom row second from the left, among other clutches of Rook eggs

The clutch was collected in Shropshire by TA (Tony) Waddell at Ellesmere College on 29 March 1958 and is now in the Waddell Collection at the Museums Resource Centre, Cotswold Dene, Witney Road, Standlake, Witney, OX29 7QG. At the time the only other erythristic Rook eggs known were from Dorset and Germany.



Beckwith published 188 pages in a total of 13 papers; his Birds of Shrewsbury of 1878, Birds of Shropshire 1979 & 1881, Sea birds Inland (in The Field, 1886) and his nine-part Notes on the Birds of Shropshire of 1887-1893. Regrettable his sudden death in 1892, when he was only 48, prevented him from writing all his work into a single volume, which he apparently planned according to Forrest in his Fauna of Shropshire of 1899.

u St Mary’s Church, Eaton Constantine (SO5906), at which his father Henry was Rector; he died in 1888. The three Beckwith graves are close to the church, far right.



u The three Beckwith graves; Henry, William’s father, with his wife Ann Rose on the right, William on the left and his sister Rose Caroline behind. Only one of the crosses, that of Rose, remains standing.






v William E Beckwith’s grave recording his death on 1 July 1892 aged 48.









uWilliam’s headstone alongside which is the 13-part, 188-page printout file of his work which, alas, he never had the chance to amplify into book form.

The Field, or Field, at the Bodleian Library in Oxford; September 2013

v Eleven volumes of Field from the nineteenth century, each containing half a year’s material, during searches in September 2013. Each volume contained one, possible two, short paragraphs relevant to Histo. Restricted to four volumes at a time, collected from distant storage vaults, a search of the complete series (and the Bodleian does not have a complete collection) would be a major undertaking for which there are currently no plans.


u John and Peter Tucker (right)

John the author of The Historical Ornithology of Shropshire and Peter, the designer and manager of the website. Photographed in Abuko Forest National Park in The Gambia in January 2009 during work on the Management Plan for Farasuto Forest Community Nature Reserve [www.farasuto.org].

John Tucker [www.lanius.org.uk]
Peter Tucker [www.holbrook-design.co.uk]