This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Hudleston was born at York on 2 June 1828. He was the eldest son of John Simpson of Knaresborough (the third in succession to practise medicine) and Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ward of Dore House, near Handsworth. His mother was an heiress through her mother, Eleanor Hudleston (died 1856), of the family of Hudleston of Hutton John, Cumberland. Wilfred, who with the rest of his family assumed the surname of Hudleston by royal licence in 1867, was educated first at St Peter's School, York, and afterwards at Uppingham, proceeding to St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1850 and M.A. in 1853.
At Cambridge, he was interested chiefly in ornithology, which he had begun to study at school. In 1855 he spent a summer in Lapland, collecting with Alfred Newton and John Woolley. After visiting Algeria and the eastern Atlas with Henry Baker Tristram and Osbert Salvin, he spent more than a year in Greece and Turkey adding to his collections. From 1862 to 1867, he systematically studied natural history and chemistry, attending courses of lectures at the University of Edinburgh, and afterwards at the Royal College of Chemistry in London. Undecided at first whether to make chemistry or geology his chief subject, he was drawn to the latter by the influence of John Morris.
Settling in London, although he lived part of the year on property at West Holme, Dorset, and at Knaresborough, he began his career as a geologist. Engaging actively in the work of the Geologists' Association, he served as secretary from 1874 to 1877, and supplied many reports of their excursions. He was president of the association (1881–83). He became a fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1867, was secretary (1886–90), and president from 1892 to 1894. He contributed to the society's Journal, among others, a paper (with the Rev. J. F. Blake) on the Corallian rocks of England. Other papers on the Jurassic system appeared in the Geological Magazine, and in 1887 he began to publish in the Palæontographical Society's volumes a monograph on the inferior oolite gastropods, which, when completed in 1896, comprised 514 pages of letterpress and 44 plates. It was largely founded on his own collection of these fossils, which he bequeathed to the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge.
In 1884, Hudleston was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1886 and the following year he undertook some dredging in the English Channel for mollusca, and aided the foundation of a marine laboratory at Cullercoats, Northumberland. Early in 1895 he made a journey in India, travelling from Bombay as far as Srinagar. Hudleston, who received the Geological Society's Wollaston Medal in 1897, presided over the geological section of the British Association in 1898. He received, with the other three original members, a gold medal at the jubilee of the British Ornithologists' Union in December 1908. He was also a president of the Devonshire Association and other local societies.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Bonney, Thomas George (1912). "Hudleston, Wilfred Hudleston". Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.