Eighteenth Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. XXVI, (1894), pp. 69-70.


J. Brooking Row, F.S.A, F.L.S.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The report was presented on August 1st, at the Association’s July 1894 South Molton Conference.  Wavellite is an aluminium basic phosphate mineral. Distinct crystals are rare, and it normally occurs as translucent green radial or spherical clusters. It was first described in 1805 for an occurrence at High Down, Filleigh, and named by famed Anglo-Irish physician and mineralogist William Babington in 1805 in honour of Dr. William Wavell (1750–1829), a Barnstaple physician, botanist, historian, and naturalist, who brought the mineral to the attention of fellow-mineralogists. It is found in a wide variety of locations notably in the Mount Ida, Arkansas area of the USA. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

"During the past few months several fine specimens of Wavellite have been found in the quarry at Filleigh, where this rare and interesting mineral was discovered by Dr. Wavell of Barnstaple, after whom it is named, just ninety years ago. It had been previously found by Mr. Hill, near Tavistock in 1785, but was not then recognized. Among the examples recently found at Filleigh (for seeing which I am indebted to Mr. Hamling of the Close, Barnstaple) is one that so far as I am aware is unique, consisting of a globular mass, some 2 inches in diameter, with smaller mammilations attached. It is only in part crystalline, but is clearly either massive wavellite or a pseudomorph after wavellite - the former in all likelihood. It has a light drab incrustation and the non-crystallized bulk is a very dark grey, verging on brownish-black. There is no specimen in the Natural History Museum at South Kensington resembling its peculiarities, nor have I ever heard of or seen so large a globular mass. (R. N. Worth.)”