GUERNSEY HISTORY 

21st August 1835
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died

Guernsey-born John MacCulloch is credited with introducing the word “malaria” into the English language.

His lengthy essay on the illness didn’t entirely pin the blame on mosquitos. He wrote, “this is the unseen, and still unknown poison to which Italy applies the term that I have borrowed, Malaria”.

He described it as an “unknown agent of disease [to which] the term marsh miasma has been applied” because it was common among the “lower orders” of people – likely to work the land – in “France, Italy, Holland and elsewhere, and not less known to at least our own rural population… since every labourer in Lincolnshire or Essex believes that his ague is the produce of the fens”.

However, aside from that addition to the English language, his greatest contribution to our understanding of the world around us was his surveying and map-making.

A life on the mainland

As his name would suggest, MacCulloch was half Scottish. The rest of him was Sarnian, but he didn’t spend much of his life on Guernsey. After qualifying as a medical doctor in Edinburgh, he joined the Geological Society of London. He also taught at the Royal Military Academy.

In 1811, aged 38, he wrote a paper on the geological structure of Guernsey. The subject matter hinted at the field of interest which would consume much of the rest of his life.

He moved to Scotland to perform a wide range of geological surveys and experiments. There, he produced an extensive “Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, including the Isle of Man”.

In 1826 the government contracted him to draw up a geological map of Scotland. This task consumed every summer from them until his death in 1835. Although he completed the task just before he died, it wasn’t published until the following year.

He was 61 when he died in hospital in Cornwall, having broken his leg on his honeymoon. The leg had had to be amputated and he succumbed a few days later.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged , ,

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in August?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

August in Guernsey through the years…

Queen Victoria visits Guernsey

24th August 1846

Trident VI runs aground returning from Herm

23rd August 2003

Charlie Chaplin plays in St Peter Port

16th August 1912

Hanois Lighthouse's foundation stone is laid

15th August 1860

Police find a bomb in Bluebell Wood

14th August 2013

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning