Archive for the ‘Capt. William Wood’ Category

Shrewsbury School

Now part of the Shrewsbury School, the large building overlooking the Severn River was once the House of Industry, with which Isaac Wood was closely connected. (Courtesy, Carmel Hazan)

Shrewsbury School

Gerard Benjamin and Mike Morrogh, in front of the Shrewsbury School’s building overlooking the River Severn.

HANGING on the wall of the study at Marche Manor was this modern sketch (pictured above) of the main building of the Shrewsbury School situated high on the riverbank overlooking the school’s rowing sheds and the River Severn.

This sketch was an unobtrusive reminder that the Woods – in particular Isaac Wood (1705-1801) – were connected to that particular building. Isaac Wood (brother of Capt Wood and uncle of the diarist JC Wood) was a prominent Shrewsbury citizen: watchmaker, editor of the “Salopian Journal”, and enthusiastic promoter of the Shrewsbury House of Industry.
The building was originally Dr Coram’s foundlings’ hospital, and later housed Dutch prisoners of war, before its incarnation as the Shrewsbury House of Industry in the 1790s, a literate protagonist of which was Isaac Wood.
Salop Fire Office

Salop Fire Office in Shrewsbury’s High Street. Isaac Wood was once secretary.

Salop Fire Office

A detail from the facade of the Salop Fire Office, established in 1780.

Unitarian Church

Also in the High Street is Shrewsbury’s Unitarian Church. As an aspiring preacher, Coleridge corresponded with church secretary, Isaac Wood.

Wood was also secretary to the Salop Fire Office, subscriber to the rebuilding of the town’s English bridge in 1765, and secretary to the Unitarian Church in Shrewsbury’s High Street. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s letter to him of 1798, declining a preaching position at the church, has been preserved.

On 15 September 2012, I was kindly given a tour of Shrewsbury School by Dr Mike Morrogh, archivist and school historian.
The tour included a look at the old House of Industry and the magnificent view of the town and river that it commanded.
A copy of A Shropshire Squire is now part of the school library collection.
It’s worth noting that though the school only moved to its current site in 1882, the diarist’s nephew, novelist John Clavering Wood (1837-1910) was clearly familiar with the school’s reputation. Why else would he make it the alma mater of two key characters in his 1865 novel Tom Hurstbourne or a Squatter’s Life?
To learn more about Isaac Wood, see A Shropshire Squire.

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Booka Launch LineupMORE photos have come to light which show what a colourful affair was the Launch of A Shropshire Squire at Booka Bookshop in June. You’ll remember from the earlier report that it was a truly co-operative effort from a great team (some of whom are pictured above), which included Mrs Lyn O’Connor, her daughter Kirsten Nicholas, Irene Milhench, Derrick & Gwyneth Winter, Jessie Hanson and Patricia Mabe.

Needless to say, the scene was set by the superlative ambience of Carrie and Tim’s Booka Bookshop in Oswestry.

Launch ContributorAs with any history book, publication doesn’t stop more facts coming to light, such as the identity of Mr Houlbrooke (mentioned in the Diary for 1818) or the Liverpool anti-slavery connections of the diarist’s father Capt Wood. In fact, an eagle-eyed researcher named Julie from Bundaberg in Queensland has turned up a particularly detailed newspaper advertisement listing the Marsh Estate for sale in 1834! More about that in a future posting. Meanwhile thanks to Carrie @ Booka for these first-rate photos of the launch.

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Queensland University of Technology "Links Alumni Magazine" Aug10SPRING’S arrival has given Gloria pause to recall her start at Kelvin Grove Teachers’ College 65 years ago, a milestone marked in the latest QUT Alumni Magazine with an interesting story and superb photo. (Thanks to Sandi Hutchinson and Erika Fish).

August 28 was the day for book launches, including the very handsome volume Brisbane: Houses, Gardens, Suburbs and Congregations, edited by Rod Fisher. We contributed Chapter 9: “Reflecting the suburb… New Farm”. Also on the day’s program at the Merthyr Road Uniting Church Centre, was Gerard’s talk which sketched our approach to writing the continuing local best-seller, Reflections on New Farm.

Patrick Leslie BookletAt the same time, further up the peninsula at Newstead House, a booklet entitled Patrick Leslie Started Something Great, was enjoying its debut. Helen Gregory’s text and historic photos portray Newstead House’s first owner, as well as the remarkable social network surrounding subsequent residents of Brisbane’s oldest remaining home. Our job was to typeset, design and produce the booklet for Friends of Newstead.

Research never quite stops even once the book is published. You’ll note from recent posts (below) that intriguing links have been established between John Clavering Wood, the diarist of A Shropshire Squire, and the prominent Quaker, anti-slavery Rathbone family of Liverpool.

This connection in turn leads back to Shropshire and the ironmasters of Coalbrookdale, a spot on the Severn River which played such a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution.

Family features...

Family resemblance after 5 generations?

August also saw us signing books at Angus & Robertson, Carindale in Brisbane, ably assisted not only by Boolarong Press publisher, Dan Kelly, but also by another kinswoman in the Wood family, Pam Cosgrove of Brisbane. In fact, Pam’s daughter Janice was particularly struck by the photo of her ggg-grandmother, Emilia Horsman (1809-61). Is it our imagination or is there a resemblance there?

Another happy encounter at Carindale was meeting Peter Collins of Garrison Communications, the well-known Brisbane Family History research service. Peter’s enthusiasm for the genealogical quest is truly infectious. In fact, his forebear and Tom Hurstbourne’s author are likely to have rubbed shoulders in the colonial outpost of early 1860s Brisbane. With Peter’s encouragement, we’ve taken the plunge into the Twitterosphere, as per <twitter.com/GGBooks>. The brave new world of Facebook is the next challenge…

New Farm Village News article - September 2010

Thanks to "New Farm Village News", as well as Anna Stewart's 'Village Voice', for great local support.

We also signed books at Angus & Robertson Victoria Point, where there was no shortage of people wishing to talk history. Another happenstantial encounter had us chatting to the descendant of Mabel Forrest (1872-1935), a Queensland poet who lived in Bowen Terrace, New Farm in 1902. Her most successful work was The Wild Moth (London, 1924), filmed by Charles Chauvel as The Moth of Moonbi. Chauvel chose for one of his locations, Teneriffe House in Brisbane.

Who can forget 21 August, Australia’s hung-parliament Election Day? We were on duty at the Merthyr Road polling booth, where lots preferred to talk books and history, rather than discuss their ballot paper. There was no shortage of appreciative feedback about Reflections on New Farm, plus we were kept busy signing copies and taking note of fresh stories…

On the subject of fresh stories, there are some intriguing epilogic notes to be offered on Tom Hurstbourne, including a detailed physical description of the author, but let’s leave them for another time…
Our next exciting project is to plumb the mysteries of Gloria’s Nonmus forebears which even take in a slave-ship captain and privateering on the high seas…

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NAMING their first daughter ‘Maria Helena Rathbone’ suggests that Capt William and Esther Wood were honouring a maternal ancestor, but who?

The noted Rathbone family of Liverpool were certainly acquaintances. William Rathbone IV (1757-1809) was a founding member of the Liverpool Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and a Quaker for most of his life. He married Hannah Mary (1761-1839), daughter of Richard Reynolds of Bristol and Hannah (née Darby), at the Friends Meeting House, Shrewsbury.

In this way, the Rathbones were a link to the Coalbrookdale ironmasters who paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.

Hannah Rathbone’s diary shows that Captain Wood often visited their family home, Greenbank, Liverpool, between 1798 and 1805. Indeed, Maria Wood and Miss Kewley were guests at Sunday dinner on 3 November 1805.

After one such visit, William Rathbone sent this letter to Captain Wood at his home in Hanwood, Shropshire:

My dear friend,

We partook in your feelings on your return home of finding Mrs Wood so very much indisposed, and we shall with great pleasure receive the account that you have less cause for anxiety on her account, if it be in your power to send us such a one.

Be pleased to give our affectionate remembrance to her and your family. Could our wishes avail for your relief, your portion of suffering would be of short continuance. But we know not what is best even for ourselves and still less so for others. Happily there is One who does know what is for one’s good, and administers that and that only to us, tho’ it is sometimes very hard to turn it to its appointed effect.

My Book is at length finished and I send you a copy, not expecting however that you will have time to peruse much of it, and indeed fully sensible that it cannot excite much interest out of the limits of one’s own society. You will accept it however as a token of the remembrance and good wishes of  Yours very sincerely,

W. Rathbone, G’bank [Greenbank, Liverpool], 10 April 1804

Rathbone Papers, University of Liverpool, RPII.1.168 pg 196

It seems that the Woods were very likely related to the Rathbones, but the direct link has yet to be established. Can you help us to make it?

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Three Letters from LiverpoolA TIP kindly provided by London researcher Janet Freeman inspired an enquiry to the Liverpool Record Office’s Roscoe collection. The happy result was finding three letters from Capt. William Wood, the father of diarist J. C. Wood of Marche Hall, addressed to William Roscoe (1753–1831) of Liverpool.

An historian, writer and parliamentarian, Roscoe actively denounced the African slave trade upon which so much of Liverpool’s wealth was sustained.

While the full text of the letters is yet to be received, the brief summaries indicate that Capt. Wood was discussing politics with Roscoe, as well as wishing to introduce a ‘young friend’ who wrote poetry (1812). This would have been none other than his son’s close friend, John F.M. Dovaston (1782-1854) of West Felton near Oswestry.

The letters will provide further facets to the intriguing slice of Salopian life depicted in A Shropshire Squire. No doubt there are many more letters of Capt. W. Wood and his son John Clavering Wood in library collections elsewhere… How wonderful it would be to discover them!!!

Read the Roscoe family story here.

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