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Robert Were FoxFRS (26 April 1789 - 25 July 1877) was a British geologist, natural philosopher and inventor. He is known mainly for his work on the temperature of the earth and his construction of a compass to measure magnetic dip at sea.
In 1814, Fox the Younger married Maria Barclay (1785-1858), daughter of Robert and Rachel Barclay of Bury Hill, near Dorking, Surrey. Maria's sister, Lucy, married Fox's cousin, George Croker Fox (1784-1850).
Robert Were Fox the Younger and his wife had three children, Anna Maria (1816-1897), Barclay (1817-1855) and Caroline (1819-1871). Both Caroline and Barclay Fox's journals have been published.
Robert Were Fox the Younger died on 25 July 1877 and was buried at the Quaker Burial Ground at Budock.[b]
Fox was involved in many aspects of his family's businesses, along with several of his brothers. He also served as Honorary Consul of the USA in Falmouth from 1819 to 1854.
Fox and Joel Lean were granted a patent in 1812 for their modifications of steam engines. The grant of patent was described thus: Specification of the Patent granted to Robert Were Fox and Joel Lean, of Budock, near Falmouth; for certain Improvements on Steam Engines, and the Apparatus needful or expedient to be used with the same.
Fox's gardens at Rosehill and Penjerrick, near Falmouth, became noted for the number of exotic plants which he and his son, Barclay, had naturalised. Both are now both open to the public.
Fox's work was in what today would be referred to as geophysics. He was distinguished for his researches on the internal temperature of the earth, contributing papers to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, and being the first to prove that temperature definitely increases with depth (the geothermal gradient), his observations being conducted in Cornish mines from 1815 for a period of forty years. In 1829 he began a set of experiments on the artificial production of miniature metalliferous veins by means of the long-continued influence of electric currents, and his main results were published in 1836.
A Catalogue of the Works of Robert Were Fox, F.R.S., with a Sketch of his Life (1878), by J. H. Collins, Truro, Lake & Lake.
^Fox and his father (1754-1818) had the same name. The father also merited an entry in ODNB: Payton 2004
^R. W. Fox was buried at the Quaker Burial Ground, Budock, along with his daughters, Anna Maria and Caroline, according to a Burial Plan at the Cornwall Record Office. However, no gravestones for them remain: the Burial Ground was vandalised in the 1970s and many gravestones broken.
"Barclay, Perkins & Co". Westcott Local History Group Annual Report for 2004: 17-22.. This unsigned article tells the history of the family of Robert Barclay (1751-1830), the Anchor Brewery, Southwark, which brought them wealth and their home, Bury Hill, Westcott, a village to the West of Dorking.