Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Witchell, Edwin
WITCHELL, EDWIN (1823–1887), geologist, was born in June 1823, his father Edward Witchell of Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, being a yeoman of good standing. The boy showed an aptitude for study, and was placed at the age of thirteen in the office of a solicitor of Stroud, named Paris, to whom he was afterwards articled, and to whose practice he succeeded in 1847. Though fond of outdoor sports, and especially of hunting, Witchell gradually devoted more and more time to geology, perhaps incited thereto by George Julius Poulett Scrope [q. v.], M.P. for Stroud, for whom he acted as confidential agent for many years. From 1884 he suffered at times from angina pectoris, but he continued to work at his profession and at science till he died suddenly on a geological excursion at Swift's Hill, near Stroud, on 20 Aug. 1887.
He was elected F.G.S. in 1861, communicating papers to that society and to the ‘Proceedings’ of the Cotteswold Club (of which he was treasurer), about ten in all, and published a small book on the geology of Stroud (1882). He formed a good collection of fossils, which were often delineated by his own hand, and was an energetic promoter of science in his neighbourhood, where he won universal respect.[Obituary notices in Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. vol. xlix. Proceedings, p. 44, in Geol. Mag. 1887, p. 479 (from the Stroud News), and Royal Society's Catalogue of Scientific Papers.]