John Edward Marr

John Edward Marr
Born(1857-06-14)14 June 1857
Died1 October 1933(1933-10-01) (aged 76)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forwork on the succession of palaezoic rocks
theory on the Upper Silesian fossils found in Lower Silesian regions
succession of the Stockdale Shales
AwardsSedgwick Prize (1882)
Lyell Medal (1900)
Wollaston Medal (1914)
Royal Medal (1930)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge

John Edward Marr FGS FRS[1] (14 June 1857 – 1 October 1933) was a British geologist. After studying at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, he matriculated to St John's College, Cambridge, graduating with First Class Honours in 1878. Following undergraduate work in the Lake District, he travelled to Bohemia to investigate the fossil collection of Joachim Barrande, where his work won him the Sedgwick Prize in 1882. In 1886, Marr became Lecturer at the University of Cambridge Department of Geology, a position he held for 32 years until he succeeded Thomas McKenny Hughes as Woodwardian Professor of Geology in 1917.

Early life and education

Marr was born in Poulton-le-Sands on 14 June 1857 to John Marr, a retired silk merchant, and his wife Mary Simpson. After the family stayed in Caernarfon in 1863, Marr became interested in geology, having discovered a fossil which was named after him. From 1867 to 1875 he studied at the Lancaster Royal Grammar School, where he met R. H. Tiddeman, who took Marr on a number of field trips and geological surveys.[2] In 1875, he matriculated to St John's College, Cambridge to study geology as an exhibitioner, having won a Foundation Scholarship.[1] There he studied under Thomas George Bonney and Thomas McKenny Hughes, graduating with First Class Honours in 1878.[1] As an undergraduate, he published several papers, including one on his discovery of Cambrian fossils in Caernarfonshire that could not be accurately dated, something that occupied a lot of his later work.[1] He was also a member of the Sedgwick Club during his time at Cambridge.[3] In 1879, he became a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, and in 1881 was elected a Fellow of St John's College.[4]

Research work and Later Life

After graduation, Marr used two research funds from the Worts Fund of Cambridge University to investigate the work done in Bohemia and Scandinavia to reorder the older palaeozoic rocks, his work in the Lake District having convinced him that it was possible to order the confusing succession of palaezoic rocks as it then stood.[1] In 1879, he travelled to the collection of Joachim Barrande, who had found newer Upper Silesian fossils among older Lower Silesian ones and hypothesised that the two groups existed side by side. Marr instead proved that the younger fossils had "dropped" into the older rock as a result of faults in the stone.[1] Barrande himself was not convinced, but Marr's work on recategorising the Silesian fossils won him the Sedgwick Prize in 1882.[1]

Marr then returned to the Lake District, where he worked with Henry Alleyne Nicholson on the succession of the Stockdale Shales.[1] He then worked with Alfred Harker on a similar project in Shap.[2] In his Lake District work Marr came up with the idea of lag faulting to explain the topography of the District, subscribing much of the layout to glacial erosion. His theories were later published in a 1916 book The Geology of the Lake District.[2]

Having retired as a professor in 1930, he died in Cambridge on 1 October 1933.

Other work and awards

In 1886, Marr became University Lecturer in Geology at the University of Cambridge, a position he held for 32 years until he succeeded Thomas McKenny Hughes as Woodwardian Professor of Geology in 1917.[5] He spent 13 years as Professor before retiring due to ill-health in 1930, followed by his death on 1 October 1933.[1]

Marr served as Secretary of the Geological Society of London from 1888 to 1898, Vice-President and President from 1904 to 1906, serving on the council for 35 years and as Foreign Secretary for 3.[2] The Society awarded him the Lyell Medal in 1900[6] and the Wollaston Medal in 1914. In 1891 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, serving on the Society council from 1904 to 1906, and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1930.[1]

He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1930.


  • The Scientific Study of Scenery (1900)
  • The Geology of the Lake District (1916)
  • Deposition of the Sedimentary Rocks (1929)
  • Cumberland. Cambridge County Geographies.
  • North Lancashire. Cambridge County Geographies. 1912.
  • Westmorland. Cambridge County Geographies.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Edward Marr. 1857-1933". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 1 (3): 250. 1934. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1934.0009.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34886. Cite journal requires |journal=
  3. ^ "The Sedgwick Club". Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Lancashire Pioneers – John Edward Marr". Lancashire County Council. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Marr, John Edward (MR875JE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ "The Geological Society of London". The Times (36070). London. 20 February 1900. p. 5.

External links

This page was last updated at 2020-11-13 12:47 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.


If mathematical, chemical, physical and other formulas are not displayed correctly on this page, please useFirefox or Safari