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Three-Legged Society

Ian D. Hodkinson, Allan Seward


The lives of the Westmorland naturalists, collectors and friends George Stabler, James M. Barnes and Joseph A. Martindale.

The Three-Legged Society book, written by Ian D. Hodkinson and Allan Steward aims to raise three botanical researchers; Stabler, Barnes and Martindale, out of obscurity. During the nineteenth century the Lake District and its surrounding countryside was a significant centre for botanical study. The main explorers were not prominent academics but gifted amateur natural historians with inquiring minds. They saw opportunities to make significant contributions to botanical knowledge in the area.

Prominent amongst such foot-soldiers of the Victorian era were the three close friends who constituted the ‘Three-Legged Society’, namely, George Stabler and James Martindale Barnes (both of Levens) and Joseph Anthony Martindale (of Staveley). These local natural historians botanised across the region in all seasons and in all weathers. They cooperatively collected and described the flora of the Lake District and beyond. Their particular interests focused on mosses, liverworts, ferns, flowering plants and lichens, with each specialising in a particular group. The trio corresponded with many eminent biologists of the day such as Richard Spruce and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The book, illustrated with full colour plates is designed to appeal to a wide range of prospective readers including those with interests in natural history, botany, horticulture, local history and Victorian society. It will also uncover their considerable achievements of the three men to the readers. It describes and analyses their botanical accomplishments while giving us an insight into their personalities, occupations and family lives.


University of Lancaster



Publication Date:

2013 January


Paperback; 243 x 168mm.



SKU: 5575 Categories: , ,