The study of latest Neoproterozoic fossils that comprise the Ediacara biota is a relatively new frontier of palaeontology. That it started when it did is due, in no small measure, to the discovery of macrofossils in Charnwood Forest in 1957, and their description in a paper to the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society by Trevor Ford in 1958. There is a prequel to this, however. We reveal newly found correspondence showing that as long ago as 1848 enterprising naturalists had seen these macrofossils and recognized them as such. The subsequent rejection of those finds by others mirrors the experiences of geologists elsewhere in the world, and is attributed to a previously received wisdom that macrofossils only occurred in Cambrian or younger strata.