William Woodford

(baptised 16 February 1679, died 13 November 1758),
Regius professor of Physic at Oxford,
sometime resident in Epsom.

The family background

Samuel Woodforde
The Rev. Samuel Woodforde, by Thomas Flatman
Image Source Fitzwilliam Museum

"Samuel Woodford, D.D. F.R.S. prebendary of Winchester, and rector of Hartley Mauduit and Shaldon, in Hampshire, born in London, 15 April, 1636, became a commoner of Wadham College, 1653, took one degree in arts in 1656, and in 1658, retired to the Inner Temple, where he studied for several years, with the intention of becoming a barrister. He lived first at Albrook, afterwards at Heighes House, Bensted, Hants, was elected fellow of the Royal Society, 14th January, 1669, took orders from his cousin, Bishop Morley, and was soon afterwards presented by Sir Nicholas Stuart, to the rectory of Hartley Mauduit, Hants, to which place he then removed, 1672. In 1673, he was presented by his majesty King Charles II. to the rectory of Shaldon, in the same county, and appointed chaplain to Lord Maynard, comptroller of his majesty's household. In 1674, by the fiat of Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, he was made doctor of divinity; May 18th, 1676, prebendary of Chichester and in 1680, prebendary of Winchester, by Morley, Bishop of Winchester, his special friend and relative, to whom he dedicated his Psalms."
He married Alicia, the youngest daughter of Theodore Beale of Bucks and by her had a daughter, Alicia, and one son, Heighes. Alicia, Samuel's wife, died on14 January 1664 following the birth their son. He married secondly, on 5 February 1666, Mary Norton, the daughter of John Norton of Benstead, by whom he had four more sons, namely Samuel, John, Robert and William.

The following is an extract from one of his jourmals: -
"I, Samuel, eldest son of Robert, grandson of Robert, and great grandson of Edward, of Old, being about 25 years of age, was married to Alicia, youngest daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Beale, widow of Theodore Beale, B.D. of the county of Bucks, (a zealous adherent of the royal family of Stuart,) of the ancient family of the Beales of Beverly, in Yorkshire, aged about 27, at St. Christopher's, behind the Exchange, London, upon Thursday, 10th of October, 1661, by my cousin Tillotson, (the celebrated Archbishop of Canterbury,) and by her, through the blessing of God, have had issue, Alicia, born in London (married to the Rev. Alexander Dalgress, rector of Farringdon, Hants); Heighes, born at Bensted, in the county of Southampton, but then though I became the joyful father of a son, I was in a few days deprived of my dearest wife, whom my God was pleased, by a violent fever, to take out of this miserable life unto himself, upon Thursday, January 14th; we had lived by His infinite mercy, in the bands of holy wedlock, 2 years, 3 months, and 4 days, in the opinion of all, I believe even our enemies, as happy and loving a pair as ever came together, blessed be our good God: she was the Saturday following buried in Heighes chancel, in the very place where my great grandmother, my Lady Heighes, about 37 years before was buried, whose silk stockings (all else but the bones in them being quite wasted) remained entire and without the least rottenness, as many in my parish said who saw them. Oh my God, sanctify this so great visitation to me I humbly beseech thee, for my Saviour's Sake Christ Jesus, Amen."
In May 1685 the family went to live in Winchester, where Samuel died on 11 January 1700/1. William attended Winchester College, as did his half-brother Heighes and brothers John and Robert.

Heighes Woodford had been Rector of Eveltham, 1690/1, and became Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral on 26 July1700, a post he retained until 31 March 1725. He was also appointed Vicar of Epsom on 20 November 1704 and stayed in charge of our parish until 1725. As Mr Woodforde, Minister of this parish, he was buried at St Martin's on 9 January 1725. His wife was Mary, only daughter of Captain Thomas Lamport, of Alton, Hants, who appears to have survived him by eighteen years, was buried St Martin's on 24 January 1743.

William Woodford, M.D

Samuel's youngest son, William, had been born in Hampshire and was baptised at Hartley Mauduit on 19 February 1679. Dorothy Heighes Woodforde's 'Woodforde Diaries and Papers', Peter Davies, 1932, reported that Willam was sent away to be educated early in his life On 14 January 1687, his mother diarised 'My Dear little Willy went to Winton to board at Mr Wallace's, to go to school.' On 6 December, Mary further wrote 'Willy came home from Winton very well, blesed be God. But of late he has been guilty of some great faults which he confesses, and seems to be very sorry for, and promises never to commit the same again …'

Having been admitted to Winchester College as a scholar in 1693, aged 12 , he was subscribed at New College, Oxford on 10 August 1699, where he became a Fellow, 6 August 1701, and obtained his BCL 22 May, 1706. He proceeded to M.B. and M.D. 26 November, 1724.

William is reported to have espoused Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rev. George Smyth, of Binderton, Sussex, by Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Robert Peckham, esq. of Little Green, and they had one son and three daughters: -
William, who died at sea,
Elizabeth, m. Thomas Wright, esq. (brother of Judge Sir Martin Wright, later of Holcrofts, Fulham),
Anna-Maria, m. - Wotton, esq. &
Mary Anne, died unmarried at Bicester, Oxfordshire.
The West Sussex Record Office holds, under reference SAS-B502, a deed of assignment by way of settlement by 'William Woodford of Chichester, gent., one of the fellows of New College, Oxford, and Elizabeth his wife (one of the daughters of George Smith of Binderton, clerk) to Richard Peckham of Lordington, esq., uncle of the said Elizabeth, and Thomas Smith of Binderton, brother of the said Elizabeth - in consideration of the marriage between the said William Woodford and Elizabeth his wife...' dated 13 August 1711. This accords with a Smyth Family Tree - County Genealogies: Pedigrees of the Families in the County of Sussex, William Berry , 1830 and above report that William had married Elizabeth, a daughter of the Rev. George Smyth, of Binderton, Sussex, by Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Robert Peckham of Little Green.

George Smyth, Clerk, of Binderton, had died seized of Apuldram manor, Chichester, Sussex, during 1711. Upon the demise of his son, Thomas Smyth, Esq., unmarried, in 1720, the estates devolved to Elizabeth and Mary, daughters of William Woodford, M.D., of Epsom, in Surrey, [by his deceased wife Elizabeth, sister of Thomas Smyth] of the whole blood, and Barbara, wife of Walter Bartelot, clerk, of Stopham, and Hannah & Mary Smyth, of the half blood.

The Will of Ann Lamport of Epsom, Surrey widow, dated 4 May 1716, bequeathed her East India bonds to Trustees William Chamberlain of Charterhouse Yard, London, gent., and William Woodford of Chichester, Doctor of Physick. Her daughter, Mary Woodford was the wife of Rev Heighes Woodford, Vicar of Epsom.

Between 1716 and 1718 William Woodford had been resident in Chichester. It appears that Dr. William Woodford had married Elizabeth Smyth in 1711, consistent with resignation of his Fellowship of New College during the following year (in accordance with statutes then in force), but she had died before 1718 leaving daughters Elizabeth (b. 1715) and Mary (b 1717) as her only children. [National Archives C11/2367/62 & 2377/56]

The Calendar of Sussex Marriage Licences then includes:-
'Nov. 25 [1718], William Woodford of Chichester, M.D., & Mary Yate of S. Peter the Great alias Subdeanery, Chichester, maiden : sureties, said W. W. and John Doe (S. Peter the Great alias Subdeanery, Chichester).'
to indicate that William, junior, and Anna Maria issued from a second marriage.

The younger William is then found baptised at St Martin of Tours, Epsom, 11 December 1719.

Anna-Maria, christened at Epsom 28 May 1721, married Rev. John Wotton of Inglebourne , Devon, at Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, on 19 February 1744. He survived only until 5 November 1746, having devised Inglebourne, with his other manors and lands in the parishes of Holne, Widecombe, Totnes, Staverton, Dartington, and Ashburton, to three trustees for a term of 99 years, for the purpose of raising 2,000 as a portion for his only child, Anna Maria, then an infant a few months old. The estates almost immediately became the subject of proceedings in Chancery, which lasted until 1769. Miss Anna Maria Wotton grew up to become, in 1771, the wife of Estcourt Cresswell, Esq., of Bibury, in Gloucestershire, eldest son and heir-apparent of Thomas Estcourt Cresswell, Esq., of Pinkney, in Wilts. Mrs. Anna Maria Cresswell's married life extended over the brief space of only fifteen months, for she died on the 30th September, 1772, having given birth to a daughter, who was named Anne.

The National Archives hold a Bill and Answer in the 1726 case of Woodford v Bartellott, under reference C 11/2399/36: -
'Plaintiff; William Woodford, Doctor of Physic, of Epsom, Surrey, Elizabeth Woodford aged 10 years and Mary Woodford aged 9 years (his daughters) , infants (by William Woodford, their father)
Defendants; Walter Bartelott and Barbara Bartelott, his wife, [with members of the Smith and Peckham families]'.
William was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 23rd December, 1728, made a Fellow 22 December, 1729 and was Censor in 1733. Dr. Woodford had been appointed Regius professor of Physic at Oxford 2 April, 1730 with a salary of £ 40 p.a.

On the 2 August, 1734, he announced to the College his intention of leaving London and settling in Oxford The family came however to live in Hylands House, Epsom until this property was sold on 4 December 1734. [Lehmann 3B2] Before 1745, they had occupied ' a messuage, coach house, washhouse, brew house, and stables, forecourt and garden, 1 acre , abutting on Church Street on the south-west part…' [Lehmann 9B15] and prior to 1 October 1746 a house and stable near to Woodcote Green House.

The wedding of Thomas Wright [Merchant and Druggist] to Elizabeth Woodford had been celebrated at Ashtead, Surrey, on 12 February 1739. A marriage settlement dated 8 February 1739 [West Sussex Record Office Add Mss 2305] involved:-
  • a) spinsters Elizabeth and Mary Woodford of Epsom
  • b) Thomas Wright of London, citizen and salter,
  • c) William Woodford of Epsom, doctor in physic, &
  • d) Henry Wright of London, citizen and draper.
Sussex Manors, Advowsons, etc., recorded in the feet of fines include: -
"Henry Wright, gent., plaintiff, and Thomas Wright, gent., and Elizabeth his wife, Mary Woodford, spr., William Woodford, Doctor in Physic, and Joseph Ashton, gent., deforciants Manor of Bracklesham and tenements in East Wittering, also prebend and rectory of Bracklesham, granted to plaintiff and heirs during lives of said Mary and Elizabeth, and Mary, wife of William Hamilton, esq., and the longest liver of them (Mich., 18 Geo. II. [1744]).

The Will of Thomas Wright of Laurence Lane, Salter, made 25 March 1741, taken to probate on 3 March 1745/6 [ PROB 11/746/11], mentions his wife Elizabeth, Dr William Woodford and brothers Martin, John, Henry and William.
Dr Woodford had moved on to Bath by 1748, retaining the regius professorship, and position as Master of Ewelme Hospital, Oxford, until his death, which occurred there, 'after a lingering illness', on the 13 November, 1758. William Woodford of Ebbisham, Doctor of Physick, had executed his Will in favour of 'my Dear Wife Mary Woodford' on 27th July, 1743. Probate was granted on 27 January 1759 at London to Mary Woodford, Widow, the Relict of the Deceased and Sole Executrix, [National Archives PROB 11/843/415]. She may have been Mary Woodford, Widow of Bath, Somerset, whose Will was proved 15 January 1770 [National Archives PROB 11/954/139].

Doctor William Woodford was interred at Walcot, St Swithin, Bath, on 16 December 1758.

Brian Bouchard, 2018
With thanks to Stephen Butt (a Woodforde descendant) for helpful conrtrbutions.