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Noteworthy naturalist

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Samuel Hazzledine Warren (1872-1958 ) Geologist and Prehistorian

Samuel Hazzledine Warren (1872-1958), Geologist and Prehistorian, was born on 30th June 1872, at Claremont, Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire. He died on 27th March 1958, aged 85, and was buried in Loughton Cemetery in the same grave as his wife, who had predeceased him. His grave is, appropriately for an archaeologist, covered with struck flint flakes. Photographs show that Warren had a commanding presence, with his proud upright stance and bushy walrus moustache. He invariably wore plus fours in the field. Warren was a modest, retiring man who was adored by small children. He was also a highly proficient billiards player with a mischievous chuckle and keen sense of humour. Warren was born in Hertfordshire, worked in London and lived, from 1903, at 49 Forest View Road, Loughton, Essex. A commemorative blue plaque to Warren “palaeontologist and geologist” has been placed on his house.

Warren’s parents were Stephen Warren, who was born in Uffington, Berkshire about 1834, and Hannah Mary Hazzledine who was born in Nottingham in 1845. They were married in Islington in 1871. This was Stephen’s second marriage. Samuel was their only child. Warren was born into a comfortable middle class family. His father was a wholesale provision merchant. In 1881 the family of three was looked after by five servants. Samuel Hazzledine Warren married Agnes Mary Rainbow in Nottingham in 1903. She was born in Basford, Nottingham in 1878 and was the daughter of Winter Rainbow, a master butcher. Agnes became Commandant of the 36th division of the Red Cross at Loughton during the Great War. They had a very happy, but childless, marriage. His wife died in 1937.

Warren was able to retire from the family business in 1903, while still in his early thirties and devote the rest of his life to being an amateur geologist and prehistorian. Samuel had been educated privately. He was a Christian. This is evidenced by the large granite Celtic cross at the head of his grave. Although Warren did geological and archaeological field work in Cornwall, France, the Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire, London, Somerset, Staffordshire, Sussex and Wales the main arena for his extensive researches was his adopted Essex. Although he exhibited fossil turtle bones, sharks’ teeth and crustaceans from the London Clay of Frinton and Walton in 1905 his main Essex work was on the Pleistocene Deposits, particularly of Clacton (400,000BP) and the Lee Valley (13,000BP). He frequently visited Clacton and Jaywick and amassed a large collection of elephant and other mammalian remains as well as molluscs, seeds and flint implements. He found a wooden spear in 1911. The flints were identified by Warren in 1926 as belonging to a “Clactonian” industry. Warren also did much field work on late Glacial deposits in the Lee Valley at Ponders End, Nazeing and other sites. In 1918 the Essex Field Club published his Presidential address Pre-history in Essex as recorded in the Journal of the Essex Field Club. A detailed list of Warrens published papers and records was compiled and published by Oakley in 1959. Warren joined the Essex Field Club in 1906. He was twice President (1913-1915 and again from 1940-1942) during the two world wars. He contributed more than 30 papers to the Journal and led many of its field meetings. Warren gained an international reputation for the quality and extent of his work. He found a Neolithic axe making factory in Wales and contributed much to prove the natural formation of so called Eoliths. He served as President of the Geologists’ Association (1922-1924); on the Council of the Geological Society (1917-1920), and intermittently on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute from 1912-1939. He was elected an Honorary member of the Prehistoric Society. Warren was awarded the Geological Society’s Prestwich Medal in 1939 and in 1949 the Henry Stopes Medal of the Geologists’ Association. He welcomed all to his museum at “Sherwood” in Forest View, Loughton. The Essex Naturalist of 1910 recorded “Mr. Warren has been accustomed to throw his museum open to public inspection on certain afternoons and evenings, and to give short expositions and explanations for the information of his visitors. His generous and enlightened action in this, one of the best forms of popular education has, we understand, been highly appreciated in the district.” His extensive collection was partially donated to the Natural History Museum in 1936 and the remainder bequeathed to the British Museum. Much of Warren’s work is still of lasting value. Eighteen of his papers are cited in the Geological Conservation Review Volume on Quaternary of the Thames (1994) by David Bridgland.

K. P. Oakley. 1959. The Life and Work of Samuel Hazzledine Warren, F.G.S. Essex Naturalist Vol. 30 pp. 147-147.

K. P. Oakley. 1959. A List of Published Papers and Records by Samuel Hazzledine Warren, F.G.S. Essex Naturalist Vol. 30 pp. 143-161.

A. O’Connor. 2006. Samuel Hazzledine Warren and the construction of a chronological framework for the British Quaternary in the early twentieth century. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. Vol. 117 (1) pp. 41-52.

Likeness: Photograph of Samuel Hazzledine Warren at "Sherwood", Loughton, in October 1931 taken by Professor K. Absolon. Essex Naturalist. Vol. 30. Plate 9 p. 144.

His effects were valued at about £25,000 for probate.

Account provided by Mr William George
page last edited on Thu May 29th 2008 by site user 68