Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP25

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace
14 November 1900

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace [none given] on 14 November 1900.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.
Verified by:
24/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


Writes of William's visit to Silchester; houses for sale; disappointment over Compton house; importance of an attractive view; description of a promising property near Beaconsfield; Carter's price restrictions, possibility of Mr Tebb's investing; returning with notes William's article on Badbury Diggings, if rewritten and photos supplied might suit Pearson or Cassell; Roman Britain, Roman coins.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:


A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/1/25
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
24/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset

Nov[ember]. 14th. 1900

My dear Will

I never expected you to go to Silchester from Oxford, but I am glad you saw it. The wall must be grand, and it is strange that it has stood so long, but I suppose it was too hard to pull down, and no doubt there were, for hundreds of years, remains of houses baths & temples, which were used by the people round for building.

I am rather disappointed about the Compton house, as there must be views to be had down the valley nearly due south. and the beautiful ground gardens & shady walks you do not say anything about. However we live & learn, and I begin to think that houses with [[2]] decent views are about 1 in a thousand, and that they are so appreciated that they are never vacant. To make sure about the other house near Beaconsfield I wrote at once to the occupier of the house (who is the owner) and asked him to tell me what view there is from the sitting rooms, & how far it extends. There is a better chance here, as the map shows it upon a little knoll just over 400 ft. above s. level, & the ground to the south half a mile off about 300 ft., while Beaconsfield, about 1 ½ miles off on a small hill, is about 350, and beyond that a slope down to the valley of the Thames. To the north there is first a descent, & then a mile off a hill a ridge over 500 ft., so that unless it is [MS illeg.] in by trees (which [[3]] could be cleared away) I dont see how it can help having a fair view. However, as soon as I get his reply I will write to you, & if at all promising, send the order and map. Even if it will not for Carter, being more than double the price per acre he generally gives; and he is afraid it would remain too long on hand. But even if he will not try it, I may get some other capitalist, ​​​other perhaps Mr. Tebb, who has had bought many estates to sell at a profit, and I consider this to be a certain good speculation, being so near London close of to a first class railway (making). & In a very beautiful & healthy district -- chalk subsoil.

I return you the article on the Badbury diggings with a lot of notes. You must consider these carefully, and then rewrite it, [[4]] and with the photographs you can supply I should think it would exactly suit Pearsons or Carrells. You might take your camera to Silchester first, and get good pictures of the wall, which must be a wonderful thing; and would illustrate the opening page or two of description of this Roman town. You might enquire at all the second-hand book shops you pass for the book as "Roman Britain", as that would give you facts to make a few picturesque sentences. People in general know so very little of this subject, that it would be quite a revelation to most readers. And your diggings would show them how easy it is to find Roman remains & dig up Roman & British coins almost anywhere!

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.