William Wood

From MarineLives
Jump to: navigation, search

William Wood
Person William Wood
First name William
Middle name(s)
Last name Wood
Spouse of
Widow of
Occupation Shipwright
Secondary shorebased occupation
Mariner occupation
Associated with ship(s)
Training Not apprentice
Is apprentice of
Was apprentice of
Had apprentice(s)
Citizen Unknown
Literacy Signature
Has opening text William Wood
Has signoff text William Wood
Signoff image (Invalid transcription image)
Language skills English language
Has interpreter
Birth street
Birth parish
Birth town
Birth county
Birth province
Birth country
Res street Wapping
Res parish Stepney
Res town
Res county Middlesex
Res province
Res country England
Birth year 1611
Marriage year
Death year 1678
Probate date November 18, 1678
First deposition age 45
Primary sources
Act book start page(s)
Personal answer start page(s)
Allegation start page(s)
Interrogatories page(s)
Deposition start page(s) HCA 13/70 f.486r Annotate
Chancery start page(s)
Letter start page(s)
Miscellaneous start page(s)
Act book date(s)
Personal answer date(s)
Allegation date(s)
Interrogatories date(s)
Deposition date(s) Sep 29 1655
How complete is this biography?
Has infobox completed Yes
Has synthesis completed No
Has HCA evidence completed No
Has source comment completed No
Ship classification
Type of ship Shore based trade
Silver Ship litigation in 1650s
Role in Silver Ship litigation None

Biographical synthesis

William Wood (b. 1611; d. 1678). Shipwright.

Described himself as a shipwright, but refers in his 1655 Admiralty Court deposition to freighting ships with a partner to import timber from Norway.[1]

Resident in 1650 and in 1655 in Wapping in Middlesex, "where he hath lived about nine years past" (so since ca. 1646). A Wapping shipwright, Thomas Twinney, mentioned "the yard of William Wood mast maker in Wapping" in a deposition from July 1650.[2]

His servant and bookkeper was the Wapping shipwright Mark Cronzy [alt. Croney] (1655-1658).[3] Croney appears in Admiralty and State Paper records from the 1670s and 1680s engaged in naval ship building.

The will of William Wood of Wapping was proved on November 18th 1678.[4]

Evidence from High Court of Admiralty

July 1650

Thomas Twinney, a forty-five year old shipwright of Wapping, deposed on July 15th 1650 in the English High Court of Admiralty. He stated that he had often seen a mast which was now lying in "the yard of William Wood mast maker in Wapping". The mast belonged to the Mary of Greenwich (Master: James Kendall), and was the ship's main mast. The mast had been stored there following the casting away of the ship the previous winter whilst carrying a lading of coals from Newcastle to London.[5]

September 1655

Forty-five year old William Wood deposed on September 29th 1655 in the High Court of Admiralty.[6]

The case concerned the importing of timber from Norway.

William Wood stated that "He the deponent and his partner this present yeare freighted severall shipps to Norway and hath used that trade many yeares, and he saith that it is the custome of the deponents certaine knowledge and experience [?XXX] the said trade for merchants to receive and allowe upon account with the masters a long halfe deale for a whole deale, and alsoe two peices for a whole deale and most especially he saith it is allowed unto Swinsound deales in regard that they are the most slabby and ill conditioned deales that come out of the whole Countrey"[7]

Paula Watson in B.D. Henning (1982) identifies William Wood's partner in the interregnum as John Wright, a contractor and shipowner. According to Paula Watson, aided by Sir William Batten, William Wood acquired a virtual monopoly of the supply of ship masts in the early years of the Restoration. In 1670 he entered into partnership with (Sir) Mathew Anderson to build an East Indiaman at Wivenhoe.[8]

August 1658

Twenty-seven year old Wapping shipwright Marke Cronzy [alt. ?Croney] deposed on August 11th 1658 in the High Court of Admiralty.He was examined regarding the ship the Pilgrim (Master: James Watkins), which in June 1655 had received a new boltspritt from the mast maker William Wood. Cronzy described himself as then and now a servant and bookkepper of Wood.[9]

Comment on sources


SP 46/137/702 Tenders: Name of Contractor: Mark Croney Commodity: Deals, spars, masts. 20 June 1671


ADM 106/340/24 Sir William Warren, Sir John Shorter, William Wood and Gregory Haye, Timber Merchants, Wapping. They have hired the Black Cock, Captain Michael Pack, and the King Solomon, Commander Gabriel Morgen, to go to New England to import the masts that have been contracted for. They have protection for the seamen but the ships have been stopped by the Customs at Gravesend because of the general embargo. Asks for a warrant to enable them to sail and for a convoy out of the Soundings to protect them from any enemies. 1678 Nov 6

PROB 11/358/297 Will of William Wood of Wapping, Middlesex 18 November 1678.

ADM 106/333/304 Francis Barham, John Greaves, Abraham Greaves, Richard Boys, John Longe, Mark Croney, Company of Shipwrights. Report of 3rd Rates being built at Henry Johnson's and Robert Castell's shipyards at Blackwall and Deptford. 1678 June 26

ADM 106/333/308 Francis Barham, John Greaves, Richard Boys, John Longe, Mark Croney, John Yarwood, Jonas Shish junior, Company of Shipwrights, Shipwrights Hall. Report of 3rd Rates being built at Henry Johnson's and Robert Castell's [this could be the same as Captain Castle?] shipyards. 1678 Sept 20


C 6/369/26 Short title: Ashley v Smith. Plaintiffs: Nicholas Ashley ship's master, of Woodbridge, Suffolk. Defendants: Nathaniel Smyth mariner, of Southwark, Surrey, John Worrell mariner, John Wooley merchant, of London, Thomas Higgins shipwright, of Rotherhithe, Surrey, Robert Davis ship's chandler, of Wapping, Middlesex, Mark Croney mast maker, of Rotherhithe, Surrey, Richard Isles, of London, [unknown] Loosley, William Stevens merchant, of Rotherhithe, Surrey, Edward Bartlett rope maker, of Ratcliffe, Middlesex, Edward Jew blacksmith, of Rotherhithe, Surrey, Thomas Munday, of Southwark, Surrey and Thomas Merryfield. Subject: The sale of the ship the Frances and Elizabeth with its tackle and furniture by the plaintiff its former master and owner of 7/16ths: St Tooley, Southwark, Surrey.
Document type: bill, answer, affidavit.


"WOOD, William (1611-78), of Wapping Wall, Mdx.

Family and Education
bap. 2 June 1611, s. of George Woode, butcher, of Taynton, Glos. m. 25 Oct. 1638, Jane Smith of Poplar, Mdx., 1s. 2da.2

Offices Held
Member, Shipwrights’ Co. ?by 1638; freeman, Dunwich 1658; commr. for assessment, Mdx. 1664-d., Suff. 1673-d., Dunwich 1677-d.; j.p. Mdx. by 1669-d.; commr. for recusants, Suff. 1675.3

Although Wood was born in an inland village, he was already a shipwright at the time of his marriage, and was later recommended by Peter Pett as a supplier of masts to the Commonwealth navy. During the Interregnum he was in partnership with John Wright as contractor and shipowner. With the help of Sir William Batten he acquired a virtual monopoly in the early years of the Restoration, so that he was able to ‘set and command his own price’. Although Samuel Pepys succeeded in wresting at least one contract from him, to the benefit of Sir William Warren, he continued to prosper, and was described as ‘very rich’ on the occasion of his son’s marriage in 1666. In 1670 he entered into partnership with (Sir) Matthew Andrews to build an East Indiaman at Wivenhoe.4

Wood stood for Dunwich at a by-election early in 1671 against Admiral Sir Thomas Allin. When it was objected that he was a stranger in Dunwich his supporters claimed that he had been a freeman since September 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 ‘three several years’ master of the corporation of shipwrights’, he was also a merchant of very considerable quality and dealing, and a great encourager of navigation, having freighted thirty sail of ships a year, each to measure at least the burthen of 250 tons. His election was disputed, but he was allowed to sit on 25 Jan. on the merits of the return, and became a moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 28 committees, most on economic subjects, such as the preservation of naval stores (14 Apr. 1671), and those instructed in 1673 to inquire into the decay of the Muscovy, Eastland and Greenland trades and to give local authorities powers to prevent the spread of fire. On 19 Apr. 1675 during a debate on a motion to recall British subjects in the service of the French King, he desired that a passage in my lord keeper’s speech may be remembered, that Joseph, in time of plenty, provided for famine, and though we are in peace, [he] would think of building ships. On 19 May 1675 he was appointed to the committee on the bill appropriating the customs for the use of the navy. His only other speech was in October, during a debate in committee on building war ships, when he gave some technical information on the size and cost of various rates. His name appeared on the working lists and on Wiseman’s account of government supporters. As a Middlesex j.p. he was active against conventicles, and he was also much concerned about the danger from fire in the metropolitan area. In the 1677 session, he was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, and appointed to the committee on the bill for the recall of British subjects from the French service. The Admiralty suggested that he and Wright with other ‘eminent merchant-builders’ should be consulted about the practicability of maintaining the separate account for the building of the 30 new warships, on which Parliament had insisted. The ledger that was accordingly kept 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. His last committee was on the bill for fixing the measurements of colliers on 3 June, and he was buried at Wapping on 11 Nov. Nothing further is known of his family, although his son continued to receive substantial payments from the treasurer of the navy during 1679.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson

1. New writ.
2. J. Smith, Glos. Men and Armour, 65; Taynton par. reg.; Stepney Par. Reg. i. 264; PCC 135 Reeve.
3. SP29/287/50; CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 497; 1668-9, p. 491.
4.CSP Dom. 1648-9, p. 577; 1652-3, p. 508; 1663-4, p. 270; Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, iv. 86; viii. 352; Pepys Further Corresp. 8; Pepys Diary, 5 Jan. 1664, 10 Aug. 1666.
5. SP29/287/50; Grey, iii. 6, 326; HMC 11th Rep. VII, 17; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 173; Cat. Pepysian Mss. (Navy Rec. Soc. lvii), 429; Adm. 20/23; Greater London RO, Wapping par. reg."[10]

"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.)"[11]
  1. HCA 13/70 f.486v
  2. HCA 13/62 unfol. 131D3300_DSC_0041
  3. HCA 13/72 f.448v
  4. PROB 11/358/297 Will of William Wood of Wapping, Middlesex 18 November 1678
  5. HCA 13/62 unfol. 131D3300_DSC_0041
  6. HCA 13/70 f.486r
  7. HCA 13/70 f.486v
  8. 'WOOD, William (1611-78), of Wapping Wall, Mdx.' in online version of B.D. Henning (ed.), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690(1983)
  9. HCA 13/72 f.448v
  10. 'WOOD, William (1611-78), of Wapping Wall, Mdx.' in online version of B.D. Henning (ed.), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690(1983)
  11. William Wood (sen.), entry by Alan Bedford, 14 Feb 2004, The online Diary of Samuel Pepys, viewed 25/10/2016