W.A.E. Ussher

The Ussher Society, named after William Augustus Edmond Ussher, was founded in 1962 to promote the study of Geology and Geomorphology of South-west England and related areas. It arose from a series of conferences between 1956 and 1961, held under the aegis of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, at which earth scientists reported on the their  work in the region. The society became an independent body at the 1962 meeting at the University of Exeter.

The society's name has been explained by a founder member, the late Professor Scott Simpson, as follows:

"The name Ussher Society was adopted to commemorate W.A.E. Ussher (1849-1920), the only man whose life work has been in the geology of the South-west of England: a man who, moreover, as an officer of the Geological Survey worked on nearly all aspects of the geology of the region, and who in establishing the stratigraphical succession in the Devonian and Carboniferous of South and Central Devon made the most significant single contribution to its understanding"

The Society is in no way concerned with the work of Archbishop James Ussher who, in 1654, infamously calculated that the Earth was formed on the 23rd October, 4004 BC. However, he was a distant relative of W.A.E Ussher; a short paper by the late Professor Michael House outlining the Ussher ancestry was published in our 1978 Proceedings and is available here.



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