Hidden Treasure: 170-Year-Old Jurassic Fossil Discovered in Victorian Family’s Home

The discovery of a 90-million-year-old ichthyosaurus fossil, which was hidden by Victorian ancestors due to religious beliefs, has finally come to light in a family’s home in Thorney, Somerset, after being Ьᴜгіed for 170 years.

Julian Temperley, a cider brandy maker, knew about the existence of this Jurassic period fossil but was unable to display it due to concerns that flashing it around would be seen as “denying God,” according to his god-fearing ancestors. The fossil was initially discovered in 1850 but remained hidden.

Recent flooding forced Julian to unearth the fossil for good, and he spent £3,000 to have it cleaned. Now, he is planning to use its image on his cider brandy bottles.

Julian mentioned that as a child, he and his siblings used to dig it up and be amazed by it whenever they visited Somerset.

The ichthyosaurus was a marine reptile that lived around 200 million years ago. After the flooding in 2013-14, the decision was made to ensure the proper care of this remarkable relic, and it was subsequently cleaned by professional fossil collector Chris Moore in Lyme Regis.

Julian shared, “The teeth are still there in the enamel form after 90 million years, which is pretty good. We will now keep it on the wall of our cider brandy bond where it will be part of the family history.

An image of the Temperley ichthyosaurus will also go on the label of our next 20-year-old cider brandy. Putting it with aging ѕрігіtѕ seems like the right thing to do.”

The fossil was first discovered around 1850 by Julian’s ancestors, likely by either his great-great-grandfather William Philosophus Bradford or his father John Wesley Bradford, in their lime quarry at Pitsbury near Langport.

The Bradfords were not only founders of the well-known Bradford’s builders’ merchants but were also devout Christians in an era when Charles Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” was not widely accepted.

They found the ichthyosaurus while digging in the quarry, took it home, and eventually Ьᴜгіed it. The fossil is now valued at over £15,000.


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