Having been privileged to find this moth in my garden, I became intrigued by the origin of its name. It was first described in this country by Benjamin Wilkes as the Cleifden Nonpareil in his book 'British Butterflies and Moths' (1749), in the following words:
“This curious fly was found by Mr.Davenport, sticking against the body of an ash tree, near Cleifden in Buckinghamshire. It was taken in the month of July: is at present in the possession of Charles Lockyer, Esq., and is the only one of the sort that I have yet seen or heard of.”
Cleifden or Clifden is the modern Cliveden, an estate on the edge of the Thames near Maidenhead now owned by the National Trust. Curiously, while it seems clear from maps that Cliveden is in Buckinghamshire (on the east of the River Thames, which provides the county boundary), the Wikipedia entry for the moth refers to the 'Cliveden estate in Berkshire', and the address of Cliveden House is also given as Berkshire. So which county has the record?
John Thacker, Harwell