1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Peach, Charles William

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PEACH, CHARLES WILLIAM (1800–1886), British naturalist and geologist, was born on the 30th of September 1800 at Wansford in Northamptonshire; his father at the time was a saddler and harness-maker, and afterwards became an innkeeper farming about 80 acres of land. He received an elementary education at Wansford and at Folkingham in Lincolnshire; and assisted for several years in the inn and farm. In 1824 he was appointed riding officer in the Revenue Coast-guard at Weybourn in Norfolk. Sea-weeds and other marine organisms now attracted his attention, and these he zealously collected. His duties during the next few years led him to remove successively to Sheringham, Hasboro (Happisburgh), Cromer and Cley, all in Norfolk. In the course of his rambles he met the Rev. James Layton, curate at Catfield, who lent him books and assisted in laying the foundations of accurate knowledge About the year 1830 he was transferred to Charmouth in Dorset, thence to Beer, and Paignton in Devon, and to Gorran Haven near Mevagissey in Cornwall. Here he continued to pursue his zoological studies and supplied many specimens to G. Johnston, who was then preparing his History of the British Zoophyles (1838). It was here too that he first found fossils in some of the older rocks previously regarded as unfossiliferous-the discovery of which proved the presence of Bala Beds (Ordovician or Lower Silurian) in the neighbourhood of Gorran Haven. In 184I he read a paper before the British Association at Plymouth “ On the Fossil Organic Remains found on the south-east coast of Cornwall,” and in 1843 he brought before the Royal Geological Society of Co1nwall an account of his discovery of fish remains in the Devonian slates near Polperro. Peach was transferred for a time to Fowey, and in 1849 to Scotland, first to Peterhead and then to Wick (1853), where he made acquaintance with Robert Dick of Thurso. He collected the old red Sandstone fishes; and during a sojourn at Durness he first found fossils in the Cambrian limestone (1854). Peach retired from the government service in 1861, and died at Edinburgh on the 28th of February 1886.

Biographical notice, with portrait, in S Smiles's Robert Dick, Baker, of Thurso, Geologtst and Bolanzst (1878).