Transactions’ of the Royal Society in 1822 he had described the remains found in the cave of Kirkdale, and explained their relation to similar cave remains found in England and in Germany. In the ‘Reliquiæ Diluvianæ’ he argued that the remains of animals found in caves afford the means of judging of the inhabitants and character of the earth before the great flood recorded in the Mosaic history. This work was seized upon with eagerness by all who were desirous of having the records of revelation supported by the interpretations of scientific investigations, and it fully established the author's reputation as a geologist and a philosopher. In 1824 Buckland became president of the Geological Society, and in 1825 he resigned his fellowship, and was presented by his college with the living of Stoke Charity, near Whitchurch, Hampshire. In the same year Lord Liverpool gave him a canonry of the cathedral of Christ Church, Oxford.
Buckland married, in 1825, Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Benjamin Morland of Sheepstead House, near Abingdon, Berkshire. The intellectual abilities of this lady were of considerable value to her husband, and he always admitted that he was greatly aided by her in the production of the Bridgewater treatise. In this year he also published in the ‘Geological Society's Transactions’ ‘A Description of the South-western Coal-field of England.’
In 1829 Buckland described and named the ‘Pterodactylus macronyx’ which had been recently discovered in the blue lias of Lyme Regis by Miss Mary Anning, and drew especial attention to the elytra of coleopterous insects at Stonefield, associated with the remains of pterodactyles, of which such insects were probably the food. Remains supposed to be those of birds had been discovered at Tilgate Forest; Buckland, however expressed his opinion that they were probably portions of pterodactyles. At the same time he read another paper which proved to be commercially of the highest value. In the lias of Lyme Regis he had discovered some strange deposits; after a most careful examination, he arrived at the conclusion that they were the fossil fæces of extinct saurians, mixed with the bones of the animals themselves (coprolites), which have since been worked extensively for manure.
In 1836 Buckland's Bridgewater treatise made its appearance. This series was especially directed to prove, by the aids of science, ‘The Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as manifested in the Creation.’ This work may be regarded as a compendium of geological and palæontological science up to the date of its publication, enriched by numerous reflections of a highly philosophic character. At this period a brother geologist of eminence described Buckland as ‘cheery, humorous, bustling, full of eloquence, with which he too blended much true wit; seldom without his famous blue bag, whence, even at fashionable evening parties, he would bring out and describe with infinite drollery, amid the surprise and laughter of his audience, the last “find” from a bone cave.’ The following quotation is from a letter of Sir Roderick Murchison's, at the time of the meeting of the British Association at Bristol: ‘At that meeting the fun of one of the evenings was a lecture of Buckland's. In that part of his discourse which treated of ichnolites, or fossil footprints, the Doctor exhibited himself as a cock or a hen on the edge of a muddy pond, making impressions by lifting one leg after another. Many of the grave people thought our science was altered to buffoonery by an Oxford Don.’
About 1840 Buckland, who had studied with care the action of ice upon the rocks in Switzerland, began to identify in this country the ‘dressed rocks’ of Sir James Hall, and to show that the smoothing and the scratching of the rocks could have been the work of but one agent, glacier ice. Subsequently Agassiz corroborated Buckland's identifications, and proclaimed that a great portion of Scotland and the north of England had once been actually buried under vast sheets of ice.
In 1845 he became, on the recommendation of Sir Robert Peel, dean of Westminster, and through this he was led to abandon many of his former pursuits. Alterations in Westminster Abbey; sanitary measures, especially the supply of London with water from artesian wells; the potato disease, and agricultural improvements now occupied his attention and consumed his time. It has been said of Buckland that to him we were indebted for unexpected suggestions, curious inquiries, and moral kinds of evidence. He examined coprolites to discover the food of the saurians; he studied snails to explain the holes bored in limestone; he extracted gelatine from the bones of the mammoth; he enclosed toads in artificial cavities to determine their tenacity of life, and he made living hyenas crush ox bones to furnish evidence for the conviction of the old midnight robber of preglacial caverns.
In the ‘Catalogue of Scientific Papers,’ published by the Royal Society, we find that Buckland was the author of fifty-three memoirs. Agassiz, however, increases the number to sixty-six.