WOOD, Sir Henry, 1st Bt. (1597-1671), of Clapton, Mdx. and Loudham Park, Ufford, Suff.
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Family and Education
bap. 17 Oct. 1597, 1st s. of Thomas Wood of Clapton by Susanna, da. of one Cranmer, merchant, of London. m. (1) c.1630, Anne (bur.9 June 1648), da. of William Webb of Ickworth, Suff., 2s. d.v.p.; (2) Nov. 1651, Mary (d. 17 Mar. 1666), da. of Sir Thomas Gardiner of Cuddesdon, Oxon., solicitor-gen. 1645-6, 1s. d.v.p. 1da. Kntd. 16 Apr. 1644; suc. fa. 1649; cr. Bt. c.1657.1
Servant to Prince Charles 1623; groom of the privy chamber by 1629; clerk of the spicery by 1639-?44; clerk-comptroller of the green cloth by 1644, clerk 1662-d.; treas. to Queen Henrietta Maria 1644-d.; member of council to Queen Catherine of Braganza 1662-d.2
Gamekeeper, Westminster 1641; j.p. Mdx. and Suff. July 1660-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Mdx. July 1660; dep. lt. Suff. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Suff. Aug. 1660-1, Mdx. and Suff. 1663-9, Kent and Westminster 1664-9.3
Wood’s family, of Lancashire origin, had a long and close association with the Court. His grandfather and father had been servants in the households of Queen Elizabeth, James I and Charles I, his father rising to the position of serjeant of the pantry and receiving a grant of arms in 1634. Wood himself had entered the household of Prince Charles, later Charles I, as a child. He was knighted at Oxford during the Civil War, when he was acting as clerk-comptroller of the green cloth and chosen to accompany the Queen to France as her treasurer and receiver-general. He apparently spent most of the Interregnum in Paris, though in 1649 he compounded for his delinquency as a Royalist with a fine of £273. He was certainly in Paris in November 1651 when he married his second wife, who was at that time a maid of honour to the queen mother. Nevertheless during the Interregnum he was able to expand his Suffolk estate. He was probably created a baronet about the same time as Sir Herbert Price, but no record survives.4
At the Restoration Wood offered Sir Edward Hyde £500 to be continued as clerk comptroller, but he was soon promoted to clerk of the green cloth, and granted the valuable manor of Tottenham Court at an annual rent of £66 13s.4d. Before the general election of 1661 the queen mother wrote in his favour to the corporation of Grantham, where she enjoyed manorial rights, and the Duke of York told Richard Arundell that assistance in his candidature at Penryn would be ‘a service to the King’. But he was returned for neither constituency, and it was not until the death of Phineas Andrews in September created a vacancy at Hythe that he succeeded in entering Parliament. There was no opposition, the corporation agreeing to return him ‘after he shall have first made his appearance at Hythe and take the oath of freeman of the town, and not before’; but they were unable to persuade Wood to visit his constituency, and finally commissioners were sent up to London to swear him in. He was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament with 33 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in six sessions. On 3 Nov. he was among those appointed to inspect the disbandment accounts, and later in the month he served on the delegation from both Houses to ask for a proclamation requiring the disbanded soldiers to remove from the London area. With his experience in the queen mother’s household, he was naturally among those selected to fetch Catherine of Braganza from Portugal, and he was given leave by the House on 4 Dec. for this purpose. On his return with the new queen consort in May 1662, Ormonde wrote to Charles II that ‘he is universally cursed and as universally curses all volunteer eaters’. His unpopularity continued. His attempts to economize in the Household provoked Sir Herbert Price to urge Ormonde to return to England ‘to defend us against this mad dog’. He was among those ordered to propose remedies for meetings of sectaries on 29 Apr. 1663, and listed as a court dependant in the next session. His appearance was odd and his conduct eccentric, and he did not often address the House. On 25 Nov. 1664, however, he was determined to present a petition from his kinsman Sir Henry Chester about the Bedfordshire election. He refused to give way to (Lord Cramond Thomas Richardson), and, according to Thomas Clifford:
the novelty of Sir Henry Wood’s standing up carried it against my lord, and he made as methodical and as rational a discourse as the matter could bear.
On 30 Oct. 1666 he was again appointed to attend the King, this time with an address for the prohibition of French commodities. Andrew Marvell described him as one of the government whips in the excise debate:
Then damning cowards ranged the vocal plain,
Wood these commands, knight of the horn and cane,
Still his hook-shoulder seems the blow to dread,
And under’s armpit he defends his head.
The posture strange men laughed at, of his poll
Hid with his elbow like the spice he stole.
Headless St. Denis so his head does bear,
And both of them alike French martyrs were.5
It was reported ironically and incorrectly in April 1667 that Wood had been dismissed for allowing the queen mother’s bills of exchange to be protested, ‘for which the Court laments deeply’. But in fact Wood remained treasurer to the queen mother for the rest of her life and indeed until his own death, two years later. On the fall of Clarendon, he was appointed to the committees to draft and consider the public accounts bill. He was listed as a court dependant by Sir Thomas Osborne in 1669, the year of his last committee appointment. He defaulted on the call of the House on 14 Feb. 1671, but his excuse was accepted a week later, and on 15 May he died ‘after long weakness and decay of strength’. He was buried at Ufford, the only member of his family to sit in the Commons. He left an estate of £3,500 p.a. to his only surviving child, Mary, for whom he had arranged a marriage with Charles, Earl (later Duke) of Southampton, the eldest of the King’s natural sons by the Duchess of Cleveland.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Basil Duke Henning
- 1. R. E. C. Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, ii. 472; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 173.
- 2. SP16/154/76; Cal. Comm. Comp. 2072; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 26.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 440; Waters, 475, 483.
- 4. Waters, 468-76; Cal. Comm. Comp. 2072; Copinger, Suff. Manors, vii. 118.
- 5. Waters, 485; CSP Dom. 1661-2, pp. 52, 166-7; Grantham corp. minute bk. 1, ff. 345-6; Adm. 2/1745, f. 39; G. Wilks, Cinque Ports Barons, 85; Cal. Cl. SP, v. 216; Bodl. Carte 32, f. 110; CJ, viii. 317, 644; Add. 32094, f. 24.
- 6. HMC 7th Rep. 485; Marvell ed. Margoliouth i. 144-5; Bulstrode Pprs. 188; Harl. 5277, f. 89.