Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hudleston, Wilfred Hudleston

HUDLESTON (formerly Simpson), WILFRED HUDLESTON (1828–1909), geologist, born at York on 2 June 1828, was eldest son of Dr. John Simpson of Knaresborough (the third in succession to practise medicine) by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ward of Dore House, near Handsworth. His mother was heiress through her mother, Eleanor Hudleston (d. 1856), of the family of Hudleston of Hutton John, Cumberland. Wilfred, who with the rest of his family assumed the surname of Hudleston by royal licence in 1867, was educated first at St. Peter's school, York, and afterwards at Uppingham, proceeding to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1850 and M.A. in 1853.

At Cambridge he was interested chiefly in ornithology, which he had begun to study at school. In 1855 he spent a summer in Lapland, collecting with Alfred Newton [q. v. Suppl. II] and John Woolley. After visiting Algeria and the Eastern Atlas with Henry Baker Tristram [q. v. Suppl. II] and Osbert Salvin [q. v.], he spent more than a year in Greece and Turkey adding to his collections. From 1862 to 1867 he systematically studied natural history and chemistry, attending courses of lectures at the University of Edinburgh, and afterwards at the Royal College of Chemistry in London. Undecided at first whether to make chemistry or geology his chief subject, he was drawn to the latter by the influence of Professor John Morris [q. v.].

Settling in London, although he lived part of the year on property at West Holme, Dorset, and at Knaresborough, he began his career as a geologist. Engaging actively in the work of the Geologists' Association, he served as secretary from 1874 to 1877, and supplied many careful reports of their excursions. He was president of the association (1881-3). He became a fellow of the Geological Society in 1867, was secretary (1886-90), and president (1892-4). He contributed to the society's 'Journal,' among others, an important paper (with the Rev. J. F. Blake) on the corallian rocks of England. Other papers on the Jurassic system appeared in the 'Geological Magazine,' and in 1887 he began to publish in the Palæontographical Society's volumes a monograph on the inferior oolite gasteropods, which, when completed in 1896, comprised 514 pages of letterpress and 44 plates. It was largely founded on his own fine collection of these fossils, which he bequeathed to the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge.

In 1884 Hudleston was elected F.R.S. In 1886 and the following year he undertook some dredging in the English Channel, for he was hardly less interested in recent mollusca than in fossils, and greatly aided the foundation of a marine laboratory at Cullercoats, Northumberland. Early in 1895 he made a journey in India, travelling from Bombay as far as Srinagar. Hudleston, who received the Geological Society's Wollaston medal in 1897, presided over the geological section of the British Association in 1898. He received, with the other three original members, a gold medal at the jubilee of the British Ornithologists' Union in Dec. 1908. He was also a president of the Devonshire Association and other local societies.

His memoirs and papers, about sixty in number, cover an unusually wide field and are characterised by thoroughness. They discuss, besides British subjects, questions of Indian, Syrian, and African geology, two of the most important being on the eastern margin of the North Atlantic basin and the supposed marine origin of the fauna of Lake Tanganyika. His presidential addresses to societies are conspicuous for painstaking research and breadth of view. Tall, spare, and strongly built, a keen sportsman with both rod and gun, he enjoyed good health till the last few years of his hfe. He was J. P. for both Dorset and the West Riding. He died suddenly at West Holme, Dorset, on 29 January 1909. In 1890 he married Rose, second daughter of William Heywood Benson of Littlethorpe, near Ripon, who survived him without issue. A portrait in oils is in the possession of Mrs. Hudleston.

[Burke's Landed Gentry, s.v. Hudleston of Knaresborough; Geol. Mag. (with portrait), 1904 and in 1909; Quarterly Journal of Geol. Soc, 1909; Proc. Roy. Soc. 81 B. (with portrait), 1909; Ibis Jubilee Supplement. 1909; private information; personal knowledge.]

T. G. B.