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The Collectors and their Finds

Marske makes its Mark

Although Marske Quarry had been disused since ca.1890 it was only in about 1900 that Mr J. M. Meek of Redcar first showed plant fossils he’d discovered at Marske Quarry to the Reverend John Hawell, an inveterate collector.

Subsequently, with help from other members of the Cleveland Naturalists Field Club and palaeo-botanists such as Professor Seward, Hawell collected avidly and presented his findings to the Club in 1902. After Hawell’s untimely death, in 1904, collecting continued especially by the Rev. G. J. Lane, Mr. T. W. Saunders and, the famous palaeo-botanist, H. Hamshaw Thomas who described the fossils in detail in 1913.

The great landslip on Roseberry Topping in 1912 resulted in the finding there of a more famous fossil plant site and, since then, there have been other discoveries notably at Hasty Bank, Bilsdale. As a result Marske Quarry seems to have been forgotten.

Rev. John Hawell (1855-1904)

Vicar at Ingleby Greenhow, John Hawell made great contributions as both member and President of Cleveland Naturalists. His chief delight was in geological work, and the prospect of a find always called forth his energy.


Reverend John Hawell (1855-1904)

One of the Marske Quarry specimens was named Dictyozamites hawelli after him.


On the left a specimen of Dictyozamites hawelli, on the right an artist’s impression [Photo credit: Paul Forster]

H. Hamshaw Thomas M.B.E., F.R.S. (1885-1962)


H. Hamshaw Thomas M.B.E., F.R.S. (1885-1962)

He was a Lecturer and Fellow at Cambridge University. He was a photographic aerial reconnaissance officer in both World Wars. It’s said that Jan Smuts, the South African Prime Minister and war leader, who was a botanist, spoke of him as the world’s leading palaeo-botanist and he was always much involved with Yorkshire’s Jurassic flora.


Fossil Ginkgo alongside artist’s impression of the environment in which they flourished

Sir Albert Charles Seward (1863-1941)

He was joint editor (with Francis Darwin) of More letters of Charles Darwin (1903). He was elected as fellow of the Royal Society in 1898 and was awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London in 1908.


Sir Albert Charles Seward (1863-1941)

In 1931 Seward dismissed the notion of a biological origin of stromatolites. This rejection became known as Seward's folly.


Fossil Bennettitalean fern from Marske alongside an artist’s impression [Photo Credit: Paul Forster]

If you have a question about your local geology, or a rock, mineral or fossil you’d like identified then please visit our Contact Us page and we will do our best to help.


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Cleveland-Yorkshire Coast near Staithes Roseberry Topping Skinningrove Blast Furnaces Lumpsey Ironstone Mine ca1920 Marske Hall North Skelton Ironstone Mine Redcar Submerged Forest Huntcliff-at-Saltburn Kilton Mine from Little Moorsholm Kilton Mine Spoil Heap Loftus Alum Quarry Spa Wood Ironstone Mine Duck Bridge, Danby Hissing Scar View east from Boulby Quarries View north from Skelton View north-east from Loftus Quarries

Explore TVRIGS



One fundamental aspect of work done by Tees Valley RIGS Group involves compiling a Catalogue of Geodiversity which covers our area of operation - Geodiversity being the variety of rocks, fossils and unconsolidated deposits making up the district.



The area covered by TVRIGS, that is roughly much of ancient Cleveland and includes the northern parts of the North Yorkshire Moors, has a varied geology with rocks exposed at surface ranging in age from the Upper Carboniferous, ...



Part of the fun of geology is making visits to sites of interest, where the geology, industrial archaeology, or both can be seen in-the-flesh as it were. To help people get the most out of such visits TVRIGS has compiled a number of outings (geotrails) ...

marske quarry


As a body of volunteers Tees Valley RIGS Group receives no direct funding but can bid for small amounts from funding bodies such as HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund), ALSF (Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund), and so on when such monies are ...