The Darwin -- Wedgwood family was a prominent English family, descended from Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood, the most notable member of which was Charles Darwin. The family contained at least ten Fellows of the Royal Society and several artists and poets. Presented below are brief biographical sketches and genealogical information with links to articles on the members. The individuals are listed by year of birth and grouped into generations. The relationship to Francis Galton and his immediate ancestors is also given.
The first generation
Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) was a noted potter and a friend of Erasmus Darwin; in 1780 on the death of Josiah Wedgwood's long-time business partner Thomas Bentley , Wedgwood turned to his friend Erasmus Darwin for help in running the business. As a result of the close association that grew up between the Wedgwood and Darwin families, one of Josiah's daughters later married Erasmus' son. One of the children of that marriage, Charles Darwin, also married a Wedgwood — Emma, Josiah's granddaughter. Essentially, this double-barrelled inheritance of Josiah's money permitted Charles Darwin the life of leisure that eventually led to the formulation of his theory of evolution.
Josiah Wedgwood married Sarah Wedgwood (1734-1815), and they had two children, Josiah Wedgwood II (See below) and Susannah Wedgwood (later Darwin; see below)
Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was a physician, botanist and poet from Birmingham. He married twice, first to Mary Howard 1757, who died in 1770 from alcohol-induced liver failure, aged 31. She gave birth to:
He then had an extra-marital affair with a Miss Parker, producing two daughters:
He then became smitten with Elizabeth Collier Sacheveral-Pole, who was married to Colonel Sacheveral-Pole. Sacheveral-Pole died shortly afterwards, and Erasmus married her and they bore an additional seven children:
Samuel "John" Galton FRS (1753-1832) was an arms manufacturer from Birmingham.
The second generation
The son of Erasmus Darwin, Robert Darwin was a noted physician from Shrewsbury. He married Susannah Wedgwood, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood (see above), and they had the following children.
Josiah Wedgewood II (1769-1843) was the son of Josiah Wedgwood, and Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent. He married Elizabeth Allen (1764-1846) and they had six children:
- Henry Allen Wedgwood
- Francis Wedgwood
- Hensleigh Wedgwood
- Charlotte Wedgwood; married Charles Langton
- Josiah Wedgwood III; (1795-1880) married Caroline Darwin, daughter of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood.
- Emma Wedgwood; married Charles Darwin, son of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood.
Married Frances Anne Violetta Darwin, (1783-1874). They had three sons and four daughters:
- Elizabeth Anne (1808-1906), married Edward Wheler
- Lucy Harriot (1809-1848), married James Moilliet in 1832 and had children
- Millicent Adele (1810-1883), married the Rev. Robert Shirley Bunbury in 1845 and had a daughter Emma
- Emma Sophia (1811-1904), did not marry
- Darwin Galton (1814-1903), married three times, but his only child, a son by his first wife, died when he was nine months old
- Erasmus Galton (1815-1909), Lord of the Manor of Loxton
- Francis Galton (1822-1911) (see below)
The third generation
The most prominent member of the family, Charles Darwin, proposed the first coherent theory of evolution by means of natural and sexual selection.
Charles Robert Darwin was a son of Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood. He married Emma Wedgwood, a daughter of Josiah Wedgwood II and Elizabeth Allen. Charles's mother, Susannah, was a sister to Emma's father, Josiah II. Thus, Charles and Emma were first cousins. Because of intermarriages in earlier generations, they were also related in other ways.
The Darwins had several children, three of whom died before reaching maturity.
- Henrietta Emma "Etty" Darwin (25 September, 1843 - 1929); although she married Richard Litchfield in 1871, the couple never had any children. Etty Darwin edited her mother's private papers (published in 1904) and assisted her father with his work.
Sir Francis Galton FRS (1822–1911) made important contributions to statistics and is known as the father of eugenics. He married Louisa Jane Butler, but they had no children.
Other notables from the same period
The Rev. William Darwin Fox (1805-1880) was a second cousin of Charles Darwin and an entomologist, who was a friend of Charles Darwin at Cambridge.
The fourth generation
George Howard Darwin (1845–1912) was a astronomer and mathematician. He married Martha (Maud) du Puy of Philadelphia. They had four children:
Leonard Darwin (1850-1943) was variously an army officer, Member of Parliament and eugenicist who corresponded with Ronald Fisher, thus being the link between the two great evolutionary biologists.
Francis Darwin (1848–1925 was the botanist son of Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin (nee Wedgwood). Francis Darwin married Amy Ruck in 1874, who died in 1876 after the birth of their son Bernard Darwin, an author on golf - see below. Francis married Ellen Crofts in 1874 and they had a daughter Frances Crofts, who married and became known as the poet Frances Cornford (see below).
Horace Darwin (1851-1928) had the following children:
Josiah Wedgwood (1872-1943), great-grandson of Josiah Wedgwood I, was a Liberal and Labour MP, and served in the military during the Boer War and the First World War. He was rasied to the peerage in 1942.
The fifth generation
Charles Galton Darwin 1887-1962 was the son of George Howard Darwin (see above) and was a noted physicist.
Gwen Raveret (1885-1957) was the daughter of George Howard Darwin and was an artist. She married the French artist Jacques Raverat in 1911.
Elizabeth Keynes (nee Darwin)
Elizabeth Keynes was the daughter of George Howard Darwin (see above). She married Geoffrey Keynes and had sons Richard Keynes and Quentin Keynes (see below).
Bernard Darwin (1876–1961) was a golf writer. He married Elinor Monsell (died 1954) in 1906, and they had a son Robert Vere Darwin (see below .
Nora Barlow (nee Darwin)
Nora Darwin (1885-1989), the daughter of Horace Darwin (see above), married Sir Alan Barlow. She also edited the Autobiography of Charles Darwin (ISBN 0393310698 (hardback) and ISBN 0393004872 (paperback)). They had the following children:
The sixth generation
Professor Richard Keynes FRS (b. 1919) is a British physiologist.
Quentin Keynes (1921-2003) was a bibliophile and explorer.
Robert Vere "Robin" Darwin (1910–1974) was an artist.
Horace Barlow (b. 1921) was Professor of Physiology, Berkeley, California, USA; Royal Society Research Professor, Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge (1973-87).
John Cornford was a poet.
There was considerable history of intermarriage within the family. In the time span mentioned, Josiah Wedgwood married his third cousin Sarah Wedgwood; Charles Darwin married his half-cousin Emma Wedgwood; Josiah Wedgwood III, grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, married Caroline Darwin, the daughter of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood. In addition, there may have been more instances of cousin marriage further up the family tree. It is interesting to note that Charles Darwin and his children suffered from various illnesses that could be partially the result of inbreeding. Intermarriage in the days of lower population and poor communications was quite common.