Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameVery Rev William Daniel CONYBEARE FRS
Birth1787, London
Death1857, Itchen Stoke
EducationWestminster, Oxford and Trinity College Cambridge
FatherRev Dr William CONYBEARE (1739-1815)
MotherMargaret Hester OLIVER (1764-1806)
Marriage1814
SpouseSarah Anne RANKEN
Birth1790
Death1864
Children
Birth1815
Death1857
Birth1819
Death1884
Notes for Very Rev William Daniel CONYBEARE FRS
Educated first at Westminster School, he went in 1805 to Christ Church, Oxford, where in 1808 he took his degree of BA, with a first in classics and second in mathematics, and proceeded to MA three years later. Having entered holy orders he became in 1814 curate of Wardington, near Banbury, and he accepted also a lectureship at Brislington near Bristol.

During this period he was one of the founders of the Bristol Philosophical Institution (1822). He was rector of Sully in Glamorganshire from 1823 to 1836, and vicar of Axminster from 1836 to 1844. He was appointed Bampton lecturer in 1839, and was instituted to the deanery of Llandaff in 1845.

Attracted to the study of geology by the lectures of Dr John Kidd he pursued the subject with ardour. As soon as he had left college he made extended journeys in Britain and on the continent, and he became one of the early members of the Geological Society. Both Buckland and Sedgwick acknowledged their indebtedness to him for instruction received when they first began to devote attention to geology.


Illustration of plesiosaur skeletal anatomy from Conybeare's 1824 paper describing the skeleton found by Anning
To the Transactions of the Geological Society as well as to the Annals of Philosophy and Philosophical Magazine he contributed many geological memoirs. In 1821, in collaboration with Henry De la Beche he distinguished himself by describing, from fragmentary remains, the saurian Plesiosaurus in a paper for the Geological that also contained an important description and analysis of all that had been learned to that point about the anatomy of ichthyosaurs including the fact that there had been at least three different species. His predictions about the plesiosaur wer proved correct by the discovery of a nearly complete skeleton by Mary Anning in 1823, which Conybeare described to the Geological Society in 1824. Among his most important memoirs is that on the south-western coal district of England, written in conjunction with Dr Buckland, and published in 1824.


Diagram of the skeletal anatomy of an Ichthyosaur from an 1824 paper by Conybeare
He wrote also on the valley of the Thames, on Elie de Beaumont's theory of mountain-chains, and on the great landslip which occurred near Lyme Regis in 1839 when he was vicar of Axminster.

His principal work, however, is the Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales (1822), being a second edition of the small work issued by William Phillips and written in co-operation with that author. The original contributions of Conybeare formed the principal portion of this edition, of which only Part 1, dealing with the Carboniferous and newer strata, was published. It affords evidence throughout of the extensive and accurate knowledge possessed by Conybeare; and it exercised a marked influence on the progress of geology in this country.

He was a fellow of the Royal Society and a corresponding member of the Institute of France. In 1844, he was awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London.

The loss of his eldest son, WJ Conybeare, preyed on his mind and hastened his end. He died at Itchenstoke, near Portsmouth, a few months after his son, on 12 August 1857. (Obituary in Gent. Mag. Sept. 1857, p. 335).
He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[1] (Another source suggests he is buried near the Chapter House at Llandaff Cathedral.[2])
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