Record of the Rustic Ramblers by Violet Isabel Wallace (1869-1945)

Introduction and transcription by Christine Chua, June 2024.

(Originally published here:

The ‘Record of the Rustic Ramblers’ in the Wallace Manuscripts Archive is a 24-page manuscript written by Alfred Russel Wallace’s daughter Violet. The record began in March and ended in June 1900. Sadly the record was incomplete as the entry for 11 June ended mid-sentence.

The ‘Rustic Ramblers’ was a naturalist club and its members included Wallace’s children— William and Violet, the Casey children Olive, Alvina (“Bertie”) and Edward (“Bingo”) and their mother who was president. William also invited his friend George MacAlpine (“Mac”) on a few outings. Mac was later elected a Rustic Rambler, or “R. R.” Although Violet recorded her vocation as “zoologist”, she was more of a botanist, recording all the flowers observed and collected.

On their excursions, they collected coins they had excavated, flowers, fossils, and they even found bullets! They drew pictures of, and identified the coins they found. Some of the coins were donated to the British Museum (see here and here).

Silver coins found by William and Edward, later donated to the British Museum.

On 28 May, the Ramblers with their mothers in tow, observed a solar eclipse from Worbarrow Bay with a contraption fashioned by William and probably Edward. The records give an insight into the gentle, adventurous nature and innocence of Wallace’s children and the deep friendship they shared with the Comerford-Caseys. The head of the Comerford-Casey family at that time was Reverend George Edwards Comerford-Casey, who was a famous writer and poet.

Wallace was 77 in 1900 and he was not mentioned in the records nor did he participate in the activities. The family had just moved to Corfe View a year before but Wallace was thinking of getting a new home (WCP6603). He was also very busy working on a new edition of The Wonderful Century (WCP23) and writing or replying letters. However he wrote a letter to his father-in-law William Mitten telling him about the Ramblers “picking up, or rather digging up Roman & British coins, pottery, brooches, nails &c. &c. at Bradbury rings”. (WCP1315)

In November that year, Wallace returned to William an article William had written about the Badbury expeditions, with “a lot of notes.” Wallace also gave plenty of advice on how to present the article well. (WCP25)

The cropped map below is taken from Excavations in Bokerly and Wandsyke, Dorset and Wilts, vol. 3 (Pitt-Rivers 1892). Markings in yellow have been added to highlight a few places the Ramblers had explored.

The Transcript of “Record of the Rustic Ramblers”

Record of the Rustic Ramblers.

began March 1900.

Secretary’s address

Lantosca, Alexandra Rd.

Upper Parkstone, Dorset


President:– Mrs. Casey1


* Will Wallace2, Archaeologist, & Pathfinder.

* Olive Casey3, Botanist, & Secretary.

* Bertie Casey4, Ornithologist & Photographer.

* Bingo Casey5, Entomologist & Puncture repairer.

Violet Wallace6, Zoologist,


* Committee.


1. Comerford-Casey, née Bertram, Ellen Georgina Alvina. Wife of George Edward Comerford Casey.

2. Wallace, William Greenell. 1871-1951. Son of ARW.

3. Comerford-Casey, Olive Bourcicault. 1875-1958. Daughter of the Rev. George Edward Comerford-Casey.

4. Comerford-Casey, Alvina Bertram (“Bertie”). 1877-1953. Daughter of the Rev. George Edward Comerford-Casey.

5. Comerford-Casey, Edward. 1880-?. Son of the Rev. George Edward Comerford-Casey.

6. Wallace, Violet Isabel. 1869-1945. Daughter of ARW; teacher.

7. MacAlpine, George. Friend of William Greenell Wallace.



Sunday 15th. Members met at Corfe View1 & after tea W. [William] showed his collection of stone implements, giving a short account of the specimens.

Monday 26th Committee meeting of the Ramblers at tea at Lantosca2.

Wednesday 28th Club run in the afternoon down Branksome Chine to search for fossilised leaves. Some fair specimens were dug up out, & a fine piece of Lignite was found. Ramblers returned to Lantosca for tea, after which B. [Bertie] showed her collection of Bird’s Eggs.

Thursday 29th Three members took a morning ride via Sea-View & the Water Works returning through Talbot Woods. A halt was called near the Water-Works to search for flints, but none were found.


1. Wallace bought “Corfe View”, Sandringham Road, Parkstone, Dorset and lived there from June 1889 to December 1902. It has been demolished.

2. The Comerford-Casey’s home.

March. 1900

Friday 30th W. & E. cycled to Winchester via Romsey taking the Club Camera with them. They slept at Winchester & on Saturday photod the Cathedral before returning by Southampton.


Mond. 2nd. W. & E. cycled to Corfe in the afternoon.

Wed. 3d W. &. E started for Lyndhurst at 5.15 returning by night through the forest.

Thurs. 5th W., B. & E. cycled to Longham. Weather showery. Flowers gathered. — Ranuns. [Ranunculus] ficaria, Viola (white), Lamium Purpureum, Corylus avellana.

Asplenium Ruta muraria was found on Longham bridge.

Sund: 9th W & E. cycled to Fordingbridge where they spent the day.



Frid. 13th Moonlight cycle ride to Sea-View.

Sund. 15th. Received the following from W. dated 14th.: — [a series of codes]? W. & E. rode there after tea to examine site.

Mond: 16th. W. & E. started after dinner on an excavating expedition to [a series of codes] x They dug up four Roman [a series of codes] & some scrap of [a series of codes] which they fitted together. The largest [a series of codes] bears the head of Trajan, on the smaller ones can be read Valens (2) & Gratianus. (For list of coins see pp 7 & V.W. was received into the R. Rs.

B. saw the first swallow.

Tuesd. 17th. W. reports hearing a Cuckoo this morning.

April 1900.

Wed. 18th. W. & E. took an afternoon run to Badbury. B. joined them by train at Wimborne.

Thurs. 19th. President & four members spent the day w. friends at Kingston. E. joined the party in the afternoon. Several photos were taken w. both cameras.

Adoxa Museatilla found in flower at Blashenwell.

Frid. 20th. W. & E. made a second [a series of codes] returning with four more coins — one large & three small.

Sat. 21st W. & E.’s third expedn to [a series of codes] x, Three more coins — all small.

Sund. 22nd. Excavating at [a series of codes]. Six coins; one blue bead & more pottery.



Mond. 22nd. Ramble to Wareham. V. B. W. & E.

A handsome Prunus sp? was gathered on the wall.

Caltha palustris, Geum rivale, Nepeta glichoma & Cardamine pratense in flower.

Cuckoos seen, also snipe & plover.

Tues. 24th. W. &. E to [a series of codes] at 11. am, returning about 3.45. No luck.

Thurs. 26th. Four ramblers went to breakfast with Mrs. W1. at Kingston.

Frid. 27th. Club run to Badbury; all members present, also Mr. Mc2. After lunch we “searched” & added six more coins to the club collection — one is silver (Julia Maesa).

Sat 28th. W. E. & friend spent the afternoon at Badbury. Four more coins.


1. Wallace, née Mitten, Annie. 1846-1914. ARW’s wife. Daughter of pharmaceutical chemist William Mitten.

2. MacAlpine, George. Friend of William Greenell Wallace.

April. 1900

Sunday 29th. The three cryptos (F.D.) spent the morning excavating & returned with three coins and a broaoch. The broaoch appears to be of brass silvered over, & there seem to be traces of gilding on the curved part.

[sketch] nat. size.

Image (cropped) ©Wallace Memorial Fund

Mond. 30th. Rambler V. departed to London. Before leaving she presented the club w. a four-pronged grubber. [a series of codes]


Tues. 1st. Ninth grubbing expedition in the aftnn [afternoon] by the three F.Ds. Three bronze & one small silver coin. This time the silver coin is thought to be British.

G. M. [George MacAlpine] was elected an R. R.

Wed. 2nd. W, E, & M. — left early for Badbury and were joined by B, at Wimborne. They spent a pleasant day at the Rings though the “grubbing” was carried

Photo of William, Bingo and Mac taken 2 May 1900 ©Wallace Memorial Fund


on under difficulties, many visitors arriving during the day. Five more coins were nevertheless added to the collection.

B. found Ruscus aculeatus in flower in the copse & several butterflies were seen, including: — Rhodocera Rhamni, Anthoceris cardamine, Vanessa Atalanta & a Lycaena.

Thurs 3d. Ramblers met at Lantosca & spent the afternoon piecing pottery.

Frid 4th, The three cryptos started early & spent the day digging. They returned with ten coins & a bone pin also a coin-like ornament which W. suggests is the head of a pin. While grubbing a man approached on horseback. He enquired jocularly if they were digging for gold & then departed leaving the Ramblers to themselves.

Some bullets were found & brought home. (contd. on p. 12.)

I Ob. [Obverse] Vespasian Aug Caes As Legate he reduced Isle of Wight. Consul 51; Emp 69; Restd. Capitol; built coliseum; estd. public Library. d. [died] at Reate his native place. Re. Aequitati Augusti. S.C.   [sketch of 2 coins] 69-79.  
II 1. 3. Ob. TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERDAC 2. IMP           IANO AVG GERDAC subdued the Dacians in 106; erected “Forum Trajani.” 1. Re. [illeg.] 2. [illeg.] E.C.   [sketch of 1 coin] 98-117.
III 1. Ob: [illeg.] CONSTANTIVS NOB C Re: GENIO POPVLI ROM<?>   [sketch of 2 coins]
IV 11 in all Ob. O M GRATIANVS AVG CAES Son & succr [successor] of Valentinian I; divided Empire w. his brother Valentinian II. Ruled over Gaul, Spain & Brit; brother over Italy, Spain etc; uncle (Valens) over the East. 3 Re: GLORIANO VI 2 Re: GLORIA ROMANORVM (erect fig to rt & SISC in Exergu) 6 Re: SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (erect winged fig to left: B Pin field: EX. SISC)   [sketch of 2 coins] 375-383  


V 2 Ob: FAVSTINA AVG I [line illeg.] Re: FELICITAS   [sketch of 2 coins]
VI 1 Ob: CRISPUS NOBCAES Son of Constantine I, 306-337 Re: BEATA TRANQVILLITAS   [sketch of 2 coins]
VII 5 Ob: [illeg.] TETRICVS PP AVG One of the Thirty Tyrants; ruled in Gaul; defeated by Aurelian. Re: VIRTVS   [sketch of 2 coins] 267-273  
VIII 1 Ob:            VICTORINVS Also one of the Thirty Tyrants; ruled in Gaul during reign of Gallienus. Murdered 268. Re:       [sketch of 2 coins] 267-267.
IX 1 Ob: CONSTANTINVSNOBPP AVG [line illeg.] Re: GLORIA [illeg.]   [sketch of 2 coins]

X Ob: CONSTANS PP AVG Son of Constantine I (the Great): Emp: of Italy, Africa & <?>lyrieum Brother of Constantine II, & Constanius 7 Re: VIRTORIAE DD AVG 2 erect winged fig holding garlands 4 Re: [illeg.] EXE [illeg.] 2 erect figs holding a standard   [sketch of 2 coins] 337-350
XI Ob: ON VALENS PF AVG   14 Re: SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE Re. GLOR[illeg.] [few words illeg.]     [sketch of 2 coins]      
XII 1 Ob. OMNo CONTANTIVS PP AVG.   Re: FL TEMP REPARATIO   [sketch of 2 coins]  
XIII 1 Ob: THEODOSIVS PP AVG. The Great. After death of Valens was invested by Gratianus as his colleague w. govmt. [government] of Eastn. Empire. Defeated Maximus (in Gaul); contemp of Valentinian II (Italy). [sketch of 2 coins] Re: 1 Ob: DN THEODOSIVS PP AVG Re: CONCORDIA AVGGG Seated fig w crown & sceptre..   [sketch of 2 coins] 379-395.         [sketch of 2 coins]    


XIV 1 Ob: GALLIENVS AVG Son of the Emp. Valerian; reigned 7 yrs conjointly w. his Father; ascended throne as sole Emp when Valern. was taken prisr [prisoner] by Persians. “Thirty Tyrants” began in his reign. Re:   [sketch of 2 coins] 253-268
XV British copy of a Roman Coin (see Records p 15) [slip of paper paster over texts]ing letters? Late <Barborrows> mutation of Roman coin Re: 2 erect wings [5 words illeg.] ? VICTORIAE DD AVG??   [sketch of 4 coins]  
XVI 1 Ob: FL: VL HELENA AVG. Mother of Constantine I The Great wife of Constantius Chlorus: he d. [died] at York 306.   [sketch of 2 coins]    
XVII 1 Ob: CLAVDIO Marcus Aurelius Claudius, succeeded Gallienus: distd. his brief reign of 2 yrs by defeat of Germans on lake Benacus. Re: CONSECRATIO   [sketch of 2 coins] 268-270

XVIII Ob: TETRICVS I (see p. 7) 5 specimens small Re:   [sketch of 2 coins]  
XIX 1 Ob: JVLIA MAESA AVG Grandmother of Ela-or-Helio-gabalus (218-222.) ARG. [sketch of 2 coins]  
XX 4 British [several words illeg.]   see Record p 15 ARG [sketch of 3 coins] convex concave concave weight 12 grs
XXI 1 British uninscribed   weight 80 grs See Evans p 101 & pl. F.1.   [sketch of 2 coins] convex concave weight 80 grns. [grains]


XXII 3 Ob: TETRICVS CAES. Son of Tetricus I? Re:   [sketch of 2 coins]  
XXIII Ob: ON VALENS 10 Re: GLORIA ROMANORVM   [sketch of 2 coins]  
XXIV 3 [illeg.] Ob: FL IVL CONSTANTINVS 1 Re: GLORIA EXERCITVS 2 erect helmeted figs. each holding a standard (conf w. No IX p 7) 2 Re: 2 erect helmeted figs holding one standard between them.   [sketch of 2 coins]  
XXV. 2 Ob: IMP C CARAVSIVS PP AVG   Re: PAX AVG GG MLXXI Type 134 in Acherman   [sketch of 2 coins] 287-293.  

XXVII 1 Ob. CONTANTINOPOLIS [line illeg.]   CONTANTINOPOLIS Prince of Constantine the Great Struck at Treves 36 [illeg.]
XXVIII. 1 Ob. VRMS ROMA [2 words illeg.] [line illeg.] URMS ROMA Time of Constantine the Great Struck at Treves.
XXIX Ob ANTONINVS. PIVS.   [sketch of 2 coins]  

Chronological list of Mint
Vespasian 69-79
Trajan 98-117
Fáustina about 116
Jana maesa — gd. mother of Heliogabalus who reigned 218-222
Gallienus 253-267
Victornus (“Thirty Tyrants”) 265-267
Tetricus [“Thirty Tyrants”] 267-273
Tetricus II son of above  
Claudius 268-270
Carausius 287-293
Fl. Jul Helena mother of Constantine the Gt. who reigned [Flavia Julia Helena Augusta] 306-337
Constantine I 306-337
Crispus son of Const I  
Constantius [son of Const I]  
Constans [son of Const I]  
Constantius [son of Const I]  
Valens 375?
Gratianus 375-383
Theodaesius 379-395

May 1900

Mond 7th W & E spent the aftnn at Badbury: O & B cycled our to meet them in the evening — Six more coins.

Tues 8th Four members rambled to Boscombe in the aftnn to search for Nipadites in the cliff. Only one impression was found.

Thurs 10th The President, W & E & Mrs W. spent the day at Badbury. Grubbing was rewarded with three bronze & one silver A.B.C. [Ancient British Coins]

Frid 11th Five Ramblers spent a delightful afternoon at Badbury. O & B. by train to Wimborne, but all rode home together. Four more coins.

Sat 12th. W, E & M fifteenth grubbing expedition in the afterns. Returned w. a large silver A.B.C. & 3 bronze Romans.



Sund 13th The three diggers to Young Sloden via Fording bridge.

Found heaps of pottery, bot no “mint”.

Record a “Cow-beetle” seen.

In the evening W. & M came up to Lantosca, & the photographers developed 17 negatives.

Tues 14th. W.M. B & O took a ten mile cycle run in the aftern & explored a lovely lane off the Wimborne Road. Photod the Rambles in characteristic attitudes. We propose the name of “Plover’s Lane” for this place.

Found Trifolium subterraneum in flower: brought in also Tillaea muscosa.

Ramblers all retd. to Lantosca for tea, after which they played a grand Quoits tournament.

May 1900

Frid 18th. Seventeenth excavating expedition! W. M. E & B. spent the afternoon at the Rings — Three bronze Romans.

Sat 19th W, M & E to Badbury in the afternoon. Nine Roman coins.

Mon 21st. Four Ramblers (W. M, O & B) with the President & Mrs. W. left Parkstone Stn by the early train (7.28) for Glastonbury, where they spent a most enjoyable day. We first walked out to see the site of the ancient Lake Dwelling which is now covered by a few mounds. These have been excavated, & the contents including a canoe, removed to the Museum. We next visited the Abbey, a lovely ruin, & our photographers took several photos.

Leaving the Ladies sketching in the Abbey, the four Ramblers climbed the Tor. While on the summit we heard the Corn crake.

In the ditches Hottonia palustris was common; also Ranunculus sceleratus, & an Umbellate (Cicuta virosa.)



Tues 22nd In the afternoon the photographers developed the plates exposed yesterday: & in the evening the Ramblers played Quoits.

Wed. 25 The Ramblers all left Lantosca at noon cycling to Badbury via Canford & Sturminster-Newton. After dinner W. M. & E. excavated & found eight Roman bronze coins. O & B photod the Rings & then we had tea. We returned through Wimborne & all came to Lantosca for supper.

Sanicula europaea was found in abundance inside the Rings.

May. 1900

Mond 28. Four Ramblers with their President & Mrs. W.1 spent the day at Warbarrow Bay where they were joined in the aftnn by E. After lunch the members climbed about on the sea-rocks searching for fossils. Then they watched the eclipse of the sun through the focussing glass of the Camera which they had previously smoked with a cycle lamp. The day though threatening at first, proved real Ramblers’ weather. The cyclists rode to Worbarrow via Corfe but returned over Purbeck Hill to Wareham. All returned to Corfe View for supper.

Allium ursinum was seen in great quantities near Warbarrow. On the N. slope of Purbeck Hill we gathered Lamium Galeobdolon, Asperula adorate, Sanicula europaea & many other plants. Caught a young Lark on the hill top.

Tues 29. In the morning W. O. & B toned & fixed prints at Lantosca — over 160 — In the afternoon the boys


May. 1900

made their 20th. & final expedition of the season to Badbury. The girls rode out to meet them on the Wimborne Rd. after tea. The finds were one green glass headed lion & thirteen Roman bronze coins, bringing the total number up to 104.

Wed 30. Ramblers O & B. with the President breakfasted at Corfe View. Spent the morning there & experimented to make a photographic enlarging apparatus.

In the afternoon short club run to Canford Cliffs, then all returned to tea at Lantosca.

Thurs 31st. The girls w. W. & M. left Parkstone Stn by the 9.7. am train for Wareham whence they rode to Purbeck Hill. After lunch they climbed the monument & sat watching for. R.R. E. & enjoying the lovely view. E. arrd. at about 4. pm & at 7. pm all rode home together via Wareham. This outing is the last of this season’s many pleasant Rambles, for R. Rs W. & M. depart on Sat. next. Lathraea squamaria was gathered.

[code] ——

June 1900

Sund. 17. Rambler W. writes (June 14) that the British Museum does not possess the small A.B. (Arg), & suggests presenting the National Collection with one of the Club specimens. The coin is figured in the supplement to Evans’ book (on Plate M no 14, weight 12 3/4 grains) & the specimen is in Sir John Evans’1 own collection; but the place of finding is uncertain, but he thinks it came from Devon or Dorset. It is connected w. the Gold coin fig. on Plate E. 9 of his big book. The B. Museum man thought Sir J. Evans wd. be interested to know about our small A.B. as it is not common; so W. suggests sending him the photo with a few details & locality.

The B.M. man also recognised the “Beast w. the Big Ear” at once (from the Photo) as a British copy of a Roman coin, & said it was a very good & interesting specimen of its kind.

W. also enquired about the “Pimply Pin” & was told it was not a coin but might be a ticket.

On June 11th the secretary received the following


1. Evans, Sir John (1823-1908). British antiquarian, numismatist, and a founder of prehistoric archaeology.


Many thanks to Dr. George Beccaloni, Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project for his comments and the photograph of the boys at Badbury.

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