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Crosfield, Margaret Chorley (1859–1952), geologist, was born on 7 September 1859 at Wray Park, Reigate, Surrey, the daughter of Joseph Crosfield, tea merchant, and his wife, Sarah Swatridge, née Lowe; both were members of the Society of Friends. Crosfield attended the Mount School, York, and entered Newnham College, Cambridge, in 1879. Her studies there were interrupted by ill health and after her return, from 1880 to 1883, she read only geology.

All Crosfield's research was undertaken in a private capacity, often with friends. With Dr Ethel G. Skeat (later Woods) she surveyed a 4 mile radius round Carmarthen, and in examining the syncline discovered new aspects of stratigraphy and collected a new species of trilobite. In 1906 Professor John Marr suggested that Crosfield and Skeat should examine the little-known series of Denbighshire Grits and Flags in the Clwydians, in order to establish a sequence by means of the graptolite fauna. In 1906–9 and again in 1911 they covered an area of 72 square miles; there was then a delay until 1922, when they recorded the palaeontology. These investigations were published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, volumes 52 (1896) and 81 (1925) respectively. With M. S. Johnston, Crosfield surveyed the Wenlock Limestone, written up for the Proceedings of the Geological Association (1914), and she provided a short account of geology in Surrey for C. E. Salmon's flora of Surrey.

Crosfield was elected to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1894 and attended its meetings at home and abroad. She was a member of the Palaeontological Society from 1907 to 1932 and served on its council; she was also a member of the Geological Association, serving on its council in 1919 and as librarian in 1919–23. In 1919 she was one of the first six women to be elected as fellows of the Geological Society. In Reigate she lectured to the local history society on scientific and social topics, being an ardent advocate of women's suffrage. She served on the Reigate borough educational committee from 1919 until failing memory obliged her to resign, and she was a governor of Reigate County Girls' School from 1926. Crosfield amassed a large collection of specimens, all meticulously place-marked, while her accuracy, artistry, and industry were displayed in her voluminous notebooks. She died, unmarried, at her home, 78 Doods Road, Reigate, on 13 October 1952. Her funeral took place at the Friends' meeting-house, Reigate, on 18 October.

Anita McConnell


Proceedings of the Geological Association, 64 (1953), 62–3 · Surrey Mirror (17 Oct 1952), 1 · [A. B. White and others], eds., Newnham College register, 1871–1971, 2nd edn, 1 (1979) · b. cert. · d. cert. · CGPLA Eng. & Wales (1953)

Wealth at death  

£9754 19s. 0d.: probate, 3 Jan 1953, CGPLA Eng. & Wales