Edward Meyrick

Edward Meyrick FRS[1] (25 November 1854, in Ramsbury – 31 March 1938, at Thornhanger, Marlborough[2]) was an English schoolmaster and amateur entomologist. He was an expert on microlepidoptera and some consider him one of the founders of modern microlepidoptera systematics.[3][4]

Edward Meyrick

Edward Meyrick was educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge.[5] He actively pursued his hobby during his schooling, and one colleague stated in 1872 that Meyrick "has not left a lamp, a paling, or a tree unexamined in which a moth could possibly, at any stage of its existence, lie hid."[1] Meyrick began publishing notes on microlepidopterans in 1875, but when in December, 1877 he gained a post at The King's School, Parramatta, New South Wales, there were greater opportunities for indulging his interest. He stayed in Australia for ten years (from 1877 until the end of 1886)[6] before returning to England to teach classics at Marlborough College and become a corresponding member of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. He was the author of the Handbook of British Lepidoptera (1895) and of Exotic Microlepidoptera (March 1912 – November 1937), the latter consisting of four complete volumes and part of a fifth. He also wrote a great number of academic articles.

Meyrick was a life-long member of the Conservative party, and spent twelve years as president of the East Wilts Unionist Association. [1]

Meyrick was a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London and a fellow of the Royal Society.[1] During his lifetime, he may have described more than 20,000 species of Lepidoptera.[1] His huge collection of specimens (over 100,000) is at the Natural History Museum, London. It is believed that he had collected more specimens than anyone else.[7]

Meyrick's son, Evan Eckhard Meyrick (6 January 1896 - 30 July 1916), was educated at Marlborough College and gained a classics scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge.[8] With twelve other undergraduates he joined up with the 1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment, the local territorial battalion. Evan was a gentleman ranker, who served as an ordinary soldier, turning down the opportunity to take a commission, which was easy at the early stages of the war. Evan was taken ill whilst serving in the trenches. He walked out of the lines to be confined in hospital at St. Omer, where sadly he died. His Company commander, Capt. Adam, wrote in a letter home "One very sad thing has happened in the death of Corporal Meyrick, the great classic and equally great soldier who was one of my very best NCOs. He was never strong, and at the same time so tough that he would never give up, with the result that he died suddenly…".[8] He is buried at the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery. [9]


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  1. ^ a b c d e Hill, A. W. (1939). "Edward Meyrick. 1854-1938" (PDF). Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 2 (7): 531–548. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1939.0014.
  2. ^ Edward Meyrick, B.A., F.R.S., 1854–1938. in Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Volume 68, pp. 141-142.
  3. ^ Robinson, G. (1986). "Edward Meyrick: An unpublished essay on phylogeny". Journal of Natural History. 20 (2): 359–367. doi:10.1080/00222938600770261.
  4. ^ Salmon, Michael A.; Marren, Peter & Harley, Basil (2000). The Aurelian Legacy: British Butterflies and Their Collectors. University of California Press. pp. 191–192. ISBN 978-0-520-22963-1.
  5. ^ "Meyrick, Edward (MRK873E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ Clarke, J. F. G. (1955). Catalogue of the Type Specimens of Microlepidoptera in the British Museum (Natural History), Described by Edward Meyrick. Vol. 1. Trustuees of the British Museum, London. 1: 1–354.
  7. ^ Centre, The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research. "Meyrick, Edward - Biographical entry - Encyclopedia of Australian Science". www.eoas.info.
  8. ^ a b "Tower & Town (The magazine of Marlborough's community and churches), In Memoriam 2016".
  9. ^ "Commonwealth War Graves Commission".

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