Phil's Family History - Wood


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A WOOD family in  Buckinghamshire

My father was born in Twyford, Bucks, fifth of eight children to Walter Fred WOOD and Lily HARPER. Fred was a successful tenant farmer with some 400 acres of land leased from a local brick company. He took over the tenancy from his father Walter WOOD who came to Twyford in the late 1880s from Middle Claydon where he had been farming with his elder brother Philip.

Fred married Lily in Launton, Oxon, in 1907, (report) though the HARPER line soon returns to Twyford where generations of the family had farmed.  In 1851 members of the family were farming over 2000 acres in Twyford alone, including the farm to which Walter came in the 1880s.

Fred's father Walter married Catherine PARROTT in 1883 at the Wesleyan Chapel in Whitchurch, Bucks. They had four children of whom Walter was the third. The PARROTTs are a line of farmers and butchers from the Oving/Whitchurch area while Walter came from nearby North Marston.

Walter's father William is the key player in the rise in fortunes of this particular WOOD family.  Born in 1830 the son of Samuel, a cattle drover, and Deborah SYROTT, his early life was marred by the death of his father before he reached his fifth birthday. Deborah married again in the 1840s, to agricultural labourer John DAVIS who took on the care of the WOOD children. Soon more children arrived from Deborah's second marriage. In 1851 we find William, still living with John and Deborah and working in his father's trade as a cattle drover. By 1861 William has married (in 1852 to Martha CLARKE) and has moved into a cottage in Portway, North Marston, and has become a Cattle Dealer. In Kelly's Directory of 1869 he is trading as a Dealer - cattle still I'm sure.  Then in the 1870s he takes over a small farm in North Marston, Potter's Farm on the Hogshaw road. From poverty to relative affluence in a rural community was no mean feat in Victorian Britain where rapid industrialisation tempted the ambitious away from the countryside.

Before William the story of the WOODs is one of agricultural labour - his father Samuel was born 1809 the son of another William and Ann BUTCHER (married in 1798), in turn this William was born 1763, son of William and Ann BRANDUM (married 1760).  In turn William was born 1738 third of five children to Thomas and Elizabeth. All these events are chronicled in the Parish Registers of North Marston, which made the tracing of this family a simple affair - until we get back to the christening of Thomas's daughter Anstis in 1731. Before this there are plenty of records in the PR - but no WOODs. Someone tracing this line before me has left a patron entry in the IGI suggesting that Thomas was born in 1698 son of another William and his wife Elizabeth.  One day I hope to discover the records that led to this conclusion, but such common names and a lack of any alternative documentation does not make it easy!