General > Walter McNicoll, the Tealing Geologist,...
Walter McNicoll, the Tealing Geologist, 1827-1908

Walter McNicoll was a native of the Kirriemuir district and came to Tealing in 1850, at the age of 23 years, to work on the Fothringham Estate. For forty years he was in the service of Mrs Fothringham of Tealing and her grandson Mr W S Fothringham, becoming Land Steward and Manager of Tealing Home Farm. He was also an eminent geologist, agriculturalist and botanist. It was said that no one knew the geology of the Sidlaws better than he and he had a reputation especially in connection with red sandstone and its fossils. Throughout his life he roamed the Angus countryside making explorations and searching for fossils. He kept meticulous records of his finds, regularly submitting evidence for publication in papers for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

It is largely as a result of his work that Tealing's ancient stones and landmarks have been recorded and it was under his supervision that Tealing Earth-house was excavated in 1871. Many of the fossils and specimens he collected were very valuable and have ended up in the museums of Dundee and Edinburgh. He lived in Tealing for 58 years and was a loyal United Free Churchman, an elder of the Tealing Free Church for 25 years.

During his lifetime, some of his specimens were figured and described by Professor Huxley and Mr Salter on Monograph I, published by the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom, who thanked him for his "zeal and liberality". When he died in July 1908, the Reverend Neil Elder also described him as "universally respected, unostentatious, retiring and a man who walked humbly with his God."

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