Ward, James Clifton (DNB00)

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WARD, JAMES CLIFTON (1843–1880), geologist, was born at Clapham Common on 13 April 1843. His father, James Ward, was a schoolmaster; his mother's maiden name was Mary Ann Morris. He entered the Royal School of Mines in 1861, where he gained the Edward Forbes medal in 1864. Next year he was appointed to the geological survey, and for some time worked in Yorkshire on the millstone, grit, and coal measures near Sheffield, Penistone, Leeds. In 1869 he was transferred to the Lake district, where he remained for the next eight years, engaged on the survey of the country around Keswick; that town, to which his parents had removed, being his headquarters. When his work here was finished he was transferred in 1877 to Bewcastle to examine the lower carboniferous rocks. Before the end of the next year he retired from the survey, being ordained, and licensed to the curacy of St. John's, Keswick, in December 1878. Early in 1880 he was appointed vicar of Rydal; but died on 15 April of the same year. He married in the beginning of 1877 Elizabeth Anne Benson of Cockermouth, who survived him. By her he had two children.

Ward was a man of a singularly attractive nature; wide in his sympathies and culture, fond of art, though even more happy among beautiful scenery, and an enthusiastic geologist. He was among the first to appreciate the importance of Clifton Sorby's method of using the microscope for the study of the composition and structures of rocks, and applied it to the old lavas and ash-beds of the Lake district. He advocated Ramsay's hypothesis of the glacial origin of lake basins, applying it to those in his own district, and put forward views in regard to metamorphism which at the present day would find few supporters [see Ramsay, Sir Andrew Crombie]. But his excellent work in surveying the northern part of the Lake district will always give him a high place among our field geologists.

He wrote a small manual on natural philosophy (1871), and another on geology (1872), and was the author of the valuable memoir published by the geological survey on the northern part of the Lake district (1876), the map of which was also his work. He was also part author of two survey memoirs on the Yorkshire coalfields. Twenty-three papers appear under his name in the Royal Society's catalogue, the most important of which were published in the ‘Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society.’ Two of these, in the volumes for 1874 and 1876, deal with the glaciation of the Lake district, and three in 1875 and 1876 with the structure of its rocks and questions of metamorphism. His influence was distinctly stimulative; during his residence at Keswick he often lectured on geology, and took a leading part in founding the Cumberland Association for the Advancement of Literature and Science, together with local societies which were affiliated to it.

[Quarterly Journal Geol. Soc. 1881, vol. xxxvii., Proc. p. 41; Geological Mag. 1880, p. 334; information from the family through Professor W. A. Knight, and personal knowledge.]

T. G. B.