Biographical Research

Over the years a significant recurring theme in Tilia research has been the strength and
importance of the influence of the individual both on the environment and within the context
of the development of a landscape. While this tends to run counter to many themes in modern views of history and archaeology, at a local scale it can be of great importance. At a national scale the vagaries of fashionable choice often inspired by one individual or a small group can be of profound significance. An obvious example of this dynamic has to be Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his followers.

Tilia’s biographical research has been carried out for clients on a range of projects such as:

Case Study

The scope of The Lichens of Jersey shifted well into the project, away from a simple verbal 'flora' toward a fully illustrated book on the lichens and history of lichenology in Jersey. This happened as a result of the significance of Charles du Bois Larbalestier, in the taxonomy and knowledge of lichens in Europe, and the impact he made on global identifications. Lichens are very significant in the Jersey landscape and in the character of Jersey habitats, particularly on the coast. Considerable biographical research was carried out into Larbalestier and his contacts, as well as other lichenologists visiting the island. It also led to research in Ireland at Kylemore Abbey (picture to the right), where he was tutor to the sons of Mitchell Henry MP, while finding new lichens to science in the surrounding hills. A surprise find was the
location of Charles du Bois Larbalestier's grave in St Brelade's churchyard.

Discovery - Charles du Bois Larbalestier was the son of a sea captain in St Aubin. He graduated from St John's College, Cambridge and was then variously a school master or tutor for the rest of his life. While he ran a small school in his mother's house in St Aubin he taught the two sons of the Seigneur of Sark, the older of whom subsequently became Siegneur himself and father to the 'Dame of Sark'.
Relevance to Project - While the relevance is not immediately obvious, when put against the fact that the mother of the two boys was a long-term friend and fellow lichenologist Louisa Collings it points to an interesting turn in their friendship. In the 1870 census the older boy is 19. This is old for schooling even if he was being groomed for Oxbridge and raises a question of 'character'.

The Lichens of Jersey was published by the Société Jersiaise in 2015 and is available to purchase through £15 plus postage and packing.




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