William Wood was a timber merchant and mast-maker from Wapping. (In later years, when he often partnered with Surveyor of the Navy Sir William Batten, Pepys disliked their joint monopolist tendencies. Cf. Companion entries.) (THanks to Keith Wright for this information.)
24 Aug 2019, 12:21 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
William WOOD, 1611-1678, of Wapping Wall, Mdx.
bap. 2 June 1611, s. of George Woode, butcher, of Taynton, Glos.
m. 25 Oct. 1638, Jane Smith of Poplar, Mdx., 1s. 2da.
Member, Shipwrights’ Co. by 1638;
freeman, Dunwich 1658;
commr. for assessment, Mdx. 1664-d.,
j.p. Mdx. by 1669-d.;
commr. for recusants, Suff. 1675.
Although Wood was born in an inland village, he was a shipwright when he married in 1638, and Peter Pett later recommended him as a mast supplier to the Commonwealth navy.
During the Interregnum he partnered with John Wright as contractor and shipowner.
With the help of Adm. Batten he acquired a virtual monopoly in the early years of the Restoration, so he was could set his own price. Pepys succeeded in wresting at least one contract from him, to the benefit of Sir William Warren, but Wood continued to prosper, and was described as ‘very rich’ on the occasion of his son’s marriage in 1666.
William Wood Sr. stood for Dunwich at the 1671 by-election against Adm. Sir Thomas Allin. When he was called a stranger in Dunwich, his supporters said he had been a freeman since 1658 and ‘was intimately known to most of the freemen of Dunwich as having done eminent service in managing some of the affairs of the said corporation’.
Besides serving as the master of the corp. of shipwrights, he was also called a merchant of quality and dealing, and a great encourager of navigation, having freighted 30 sail of ships a year, each of at least 250 tons.
24 Aug 2019, 12:22 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
His election was disputed, but he was allowed to sit on 25 Jan., and was a moderately active MP in the Cavalier Parliament.
He was appointed to 28 committees, most on economic subjects like the preservation of naval stores, and those instructed in 1673 to look into the decay of the Muscovy, Eastland and Greenland trades, and to give local authorities powers to prevent fires.
On 19 Apr. 1675, during a debate on recalling British subjects from the service of the French, he suggested that Joseph, in time of plenty, provided for famine, and although they were in peace, [they] should think of building ships.
On 19 May 1675 Wood was appointed to the committee on the bill appropriating the customs for the use of the navy. His only speech, during a debate in committee on building war ships, gave technical info. on the size and cost of various rates.
As a Middlesex j.p. he was active against conventicles, and the danger from fire in the metropolitan areas.
In the 1677, he was appointed to the committee on the bill for the recall of British subjects from French service.
The Admiralty suggested that he, Wright with other ‘eminent merchant-builders’ be consulted about keeping a separate account for the building of the 30 new warships, on which Parliament insisted. The ledger shows payments of £940 to him between September 1677 and his death.
In A Seasonable Argument, he was described as ‘master of the King’s dock, his shipwright, and a violent man for taxes’, and his name appeared on both lists of the court party in 1678.
He was buried at Wapping on 11 Nov. 1678.
Nothing further is known of the Wood family, although his son continued to receive substantial payments from the naval treasurer during 1679.
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690 -- Author: Paula Watson
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.