South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times Saturday 24 February 1923


A joint winter field meeting of members of the above societies was held at Edlington Woods on Saturday under the able guidance of Miss R. Crowther. Work on this occasion was mainly of a botanical nature and the phenologists observed over twenty species of phanerogamic in various stages of anthelia. The duties of botanical recorder were efficiently performed by the leader and Mr G. V. Smith (Mexborough Flora committee.

Major Phillips acted as ornithological recorder, and also called attention to some noteworthy illustrations of agamogenesis afforded by curious rhizomatic developments of common grass (arrhenatherum avenaceum). The President of the Doncaster Society pointed out some peculiar gelatinous organisms which occurred on the rock at one point in the route and which were unusually conspicuous as a result recent rain. These were identified us a species of the anomalous lichen genus collema. Another interesting cryptogamic discovery was puccinia lapsanae, a member of the group of fungi known as uredines. In this case the “cluster cup” or aecidium stage was present on the parasite’s usual host the common nipplewort.

Another find deserving of note was the toothwort, a remarkable phanerogamic parasite which was observed on the root of elm and sycamore. For much of the year this leads a subterranean existence, sending up a special aerial pale flowering stem about April. On the present occasion several of these shoots had already emerged – an unusually early record – and two flowers were actually in bloom.

Eckington, Woodhouse and Staveley Express Saturday 23 June 1923

An Instructive Ramble.

By way of innovation and experiment, the same locality was chosen tor the two field meetings of June 11th and 16th, in order to cater for two sections of members and incidentally testing the most popular day. Both excursion covered much the same ground, and both were held in conjunction with the Barnsley Naturalists’ Society.
The Saturday meeting – which had the largest attendance – also included members of the Mexborough Secondary School Scientific Society. Thursday’s meeting was under guidance of Mr. J. Beetham (Hon. General Secretary of the Doncaster Society), and Major Phillips acted as guide on Saturday.

The Barnsley scientists were welcomed at Conisborough and the party walked to Edlington Wood via old Edlington. Opportunity was afforded to inspect the church at the latter place. This attracted considerable attention, and members were indebted to Mr. Blackshaw for the elucidation of various features in connection with the architecture and archaeology here. The church (transitional period) seems to have consisted originally of nave and chancel, and Mr. Blackshaw referred to the chapel on the north side as Decorated or more probably Perpendicular. The edifice exhibited certain traits reminiscent of Rossington Church, recently visited by the society. A distinctive feature was the south doorway with chevron beak-head adornment. Attention was directed to relicts of the Wharton family. Amongst others were the moment with brass inscription to the memory of Lady Mary Wharton (daughter of the Earl of Dover: died 1672) and a curious brass inscription to Phillip Wharton, a former Warden of the Mint (died 1684-5). The priscina, screen, old woodwork, traces of roof-loft, anal inscribed Elizabethan font, also attracted notice.

ExpIoration of the rich fauna and flora of the neighbourhood – the Mecca of local naturalists – revealed much of interest and all were kept busily engaged in observing, collecting and recording. The little pond received special attention from one section and revealed various noteworthy denizens on subsequent microscopical examination. The Rev. M Yate Allen worked indefatigably here and in other directions. Entomostraca were represented by abundance of Chydoeus sphoericus and Cyclops quadricornis, while the PoIyp Hydra viridis and the Diatom Navicula cuspida also tenanted the same pool. The President (Mr. E. Stainton) and Mr. T. W. Saunders, F.G.S devoted attention to Mollusca which were well represented. Helix cantiana (the Kentish Snail) was particularly common in places in association with its food plant, the common nettle, and like the latter, displays a fondness for following in the footsteps on man.

The Ornithological section recorded 34 species of bird, though no types calling for special note were encountered. Entomology was somewhat poorly represented, but Mr. Bayford worked diligently and especially in connection with Coleoptera. Plant life was much in evidence and revealed many interesting points and the flora was noteworthy ecologically, quantitively and numerically. Calcicolous and umbrophilous elements were well shown, and 136 different species of native flowering plants were seen in bloom. Members of the botanical section and of the Mexborough Flora committee worked hard, hence this record census.

After tea some account was given of some aspects of the work and finds. Amongst those present were the President, Mrs. Baker, Rev M. Yate Allen, Miss R. Crowther, Miss Jennings, Mr. and Miss Oakes, Miss D. Phillips, Mrs. Moat, Miss Wilkinson, etc. The Mexborough flora Committee were represented by Miss F. Spring (hon. Secretary), and Misses A. Brown, G. Harrison, E. Howkins, M. Snow, and M. Turrer.