The Nature Notes of a Hitchin Quaker
Two hundred years ago a physically disabled Hitchin Quaker with a deep interest in natural history kept notes of his sightings of birds, mammals and flowers as he went about his daily business. He painstakingly copied these in tiny copperplate handwriting into a slim volume which lay hidden for many years in the Natural History Archive of North Hertfordshire Museum.
Val Campion’s transcription provides a rare and magical window into the natural world of the early nineteenth century. Her addition of a commentary and biographical material relating to Joseph and his family, forebears of the Ransom pharmaceutical dynasty, has brought this popular and well-respected young man back to life.
About the author
Val Campion is a Hitchin resident, one-time teacher and was the Society’s Membership Secretary for several years. It was at a visit to a Quaker exhibition in 2001 that she was intrigued by a list of wild flower sightings noted by Joseph Ransom. Detective work led her to this manuscript, a happy discovery as she was able to combine her interest in local and Quaker history with her passion for wild flowers.