Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tunstall, Marmaduke

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TUNSTALL, MARMADUKE (1743–1790), naturalist, born in 1743 at Burton Constable, Yorkshire, was second son of Cuthbert Constable (who had changed his name from Tunstall on inheriting property in 1718, and who died in 1747), by his second wife, Ely, daughter of George Heneage, of Hainton, Lincolnshire. He was educated at the college of Douai. In 1760 he succeeded to the family estates of Scargill, Hutton Long Villers, and Wycliffe by the death of his uncle, Marmaduke Tunstall, and resumed that family name. Of studious habits, he devoted himself to literature and science, and in 1764, when only twenty-one, was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. After finishing his education he resided for several years in Welbeck Street, London, and there began the formation of a museum. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 11 April 1771, and in the same year published anonymously his ‘Ornithologia Britannica’ (fol. London), a rare work, which has been reprinted by the Willughby Society.

In 1776, on his marriage with the daughter and coheiress of Mr. Markham of Roxby, Lincolnshire, he removed to his house at Wycliffe, Yorkshire, and thither his collections were afterwards transferred. Here he was on most intimate terms with a fellow-naturalist, Thomas Zouch, the incumbent of Wycliffe, despite the fact that he had opposed Zouch's presentation to the benefice, of which, although a Roman catholic, Tunstall was patron. He lived a quiet and retired life, corresponding with various naturalists, including Linné.

He died suddenly at Wycliffe Hall on 11 Oct. 1790, leaving no issue, and was buried in the chancel of his own church. His widow died in October 1825.

Besides the ‘Ornithologia Britannica’ he published ‘An Account of several Lunar Iris’ (or rainbows) for the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ in 1783.

His museum was purchased by George Allan [q. v.] of Grange, near Darlington, and passed with the latter's collections into the hands of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1822.

[Fox's Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum, 1827 (biogr. with portrait and engraving of the coat-of-arms, showing thirty-five quarterings); Gent. Mag. 1790, ii. 959; pref. to Willughby Society's reprint of the Ornithologia Britannica.]

B. B. W.