The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300


Samuel Woodforde and the Execution of Charles I

Samuel Woodforde DD


A further diary of Samuel Woodforde is in the library of New College Oxford. Historically, this is an extremely valuable document in that it is written in the form of an autobiography and covers the years 1636-1700. There are references to the Great Plague and the Fire of London. One particularly moving passage records the effect that the news of the death of Charles I had on Samuel's maternal grandfather, who was at that time already mourning the loss of his son:

`My Uncle Samuel Haunch dyed of a Consumption at London Wall and lys buryed there in the Church so called All Hallows in the Wall … 

My grandfather and Grandmother Haunch had taken great care in his Education at Katharin Hall in Cambridg and after Grays Inn; and till his dying day never left off greiving for him, who had he lived would have abundantly answered their expectation. 

But hee dyed in the midst of their hope about the 22 yeare of his Age; a young man of excellent endowments both of body and mind; and of understanding in the best learning Xtian and Heathen to almost a Miracle beyond his yeares. 

It greaves me every time I think of it, that my relations entrusted me with his Collection in an age too green to value them, by whc Shift they have been long since lost both to them and myself. 

The loss of this son of his, together with the Public Calamitys and of them all the greatest, the Murder of Our Late Gracious Sovereign so siesed upon my good Grandfather that he scarce ever after enjoyed himself, and about the 23 July following 1649 dyed in a good old age tho' had he not been thus broken his Constitution promised many more yeares. 

Concerning the Late Our Gracious Soverign to this day I remember that I came at night as I was wont from St Pauls Schole I found the good Old Man all in tears as who truly thought the Glory was departed from Our Israel, wondering at it, tho’ myself was concerned only as I saw my fellowes he so related it to me and so impressed it by his tears and laments and most ardent prayers whc thereupon heeputt up that an abhorence was generated in me young as I was (about 13 yeares old) at the Party in whose anvils so great a wickedness was forged whc blessed be God has to this day continued…’

The Heighes-Woodford Family Connection
(by John Heighes)

For many generations, the Woodforde family has used Heighes as a forename. The earliest known record of this is in the parish register of West Worldham, where it is recorded under Marriages: 

9 October 1690.  Heighes Woodford  Rector of Elvetham  eldest son of Dr. Samuel Woodford Curate of this parish and Mistress Mary Lamport of Anstey. Licence.

Susan Heighes, one of the six daughters of Henry Heighes, 1549–1595, of Binsted,  married Robert Haunch and one of their daughters Hannah Haunch, 1617–1698, married Robert Woodforde, 1606–1654.  Their eldest son was Samuel Woodforde, 1636–1701 and it was to Samuel, that Edward Heighes, d.1661,  left, ‘to my sister’s, daughter’s eldest son’, considerable property in Binsted, which included South Hay House and Westcote Farm.

Samuel became Rector of the parishes of Hartley Mauditt and Shalden. He was also presented to the Rectory of Alton, and became a  Prebendary of Winchester. Through his first marriage, to Alice Beale, d.1664, there was a daughter, Alice and one son, Heighes Woodforde, 1664–1724, who became Rector of Elvetham and in 1704, Vicar of Epsom.  His eldest son, Samuel,  born at Elvetham in 1695, became Rector of Ansford, in Somerset and was the father of the Revd. James Woodforde.  In the diary, Parson Woodforde refers to ‘Brother Heighes’, the second member of the family to be given this name.

Samuel Woodforde left South Hay to Heighes Woodforde and Westcote Farm to the eldest son of his second marriage, Samuel Woodforde.  Records of the Poor Law of 1713, show that Heighes Woodforde paid £3.1s. 3d for the manor of South Hay and Samuel Woodforde paid £2. 10s. 0d for the manor of Westcote.  The Hearth Tax for Hampshire of 1665, shows South Hay taxed at 16 hearths.

Latin Primer signed Samuel Woodforde

Late 14th Century Primer
 with Samuel Woodforde's signature
 dated 1682 (Glasgow University)

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© Stephen Butt 2004 - rev 18/01/06


Samuel Woodforde DD (1635-1700)

Samuel Woodforde
was the eldest son of Robert and Hannah Woodforde of Northampton. He was born in London on 15 April 1636 in the parish of All Hallows in the Wall, London. He was educated at St Paul’s School and matriculated as a commoner at Wadham College, Oxford on 21 July 1654 where he graduated as a B.A. on 6 February 1657.

In 1659 he became a student at the Inner Temple where his chamber-fellow was the poet Thomas Flatman. In 1661 Samuel inherited the manor of Westcotte near Binstead in Hampshire from his great-uncle Edmund Heighes. Samuel’s mother, Hannah was the daughter of Robert Haunch of London, by Hannah his wife, daughter of Edward Heighes and niece of Sir Nicholas Heighes of Heighes House, Binstead, Hants. A condition of the inheritance was that he should be obedient to his grandmother and aunt, especially in the choice of a wife, or he might be disinherited. For many years he was much troubled by lawsuits brought against him by the Heighes family. The Westcotte property finally passed to Samuel’s grandson, Samuel. He was forced to mortgage it and by 1725 it had passed out of the family into the possession of the chief mortgagee, Thomas Ridge of Portsmouth.

He married Alicia, the youngest daughter of Theodore Beale of Bucks and by her had one son, Heighes, and a daughter, Alicia. Alicia (Samuel’s wife) died 14 January 1664 at the birth their daughter. He married secondly, on 5 February 1666, Mary Norton, the daughter of John Norton of Benstead, by whom he had four more sons, namely Samuel, John, Robert and William. In November 1664 Samuel was elected to the Royal Society, which had received its royal charter only three years previously. In January 1669 he took holy orders and in 1673 was presented by Sir Nicholas Stuart to the benefice of Hartley-Maudit in Hampshire.

His career within the church continued with his appointment as a canon at Winchester on 27 May 1676 and of Winchester on 8 November 1680. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity by diploma from Archbishop Sancroft in 1677. Samuel was a prolific poet and writer.

His chief works were `The Paraphrase upon the Psalms’ and `The Paraphrase upon the Canticles’. Copies of several of his works are lodged in the Bodleian Library as follows:

A Paraphrase on Psalms of David (Ps CXlX Pt12 lacking), which has a couplet from his brother Robert. 588pp.

Precem Privatarum Horarium – Breviary adapted for Anglican use by Samuel. 280pp.

Diary (17 October 1663 to 5 February 1604 (purchased by the library in 1963. 239pp. This diary covers the death of his first wife and records the depression, loneliness and despair that Samuel suffered following her death. It is inscribed `Liber Dolorosus’

The Woodforde papers at New College Oxford include a copy of "A Paraphrase upon the Psalms of David" by Samuel Woodforde, he eldest son of Robert Woodforde. This document is said to contain 28 pages of autobiographical information which may relate in part to his childhood in Northamptonshire.

Samuel Woodforde died at Winchester on 11 January 1700. Samuel’s eldest son Heighes Woodforde (1664-1724) also became an ordained minister. He served as vicar of Epsom and as a canon at Chichester. It was Heighes’ eldest son, the Revd Samuel Woodforde (1695-1771) who married Jane Collins and established the family in Ansford, Somerset. Their second son, was the well-known diarist, the Revd James Woodforde.


A Tribute by Samuel Woodforde

To his very Worthy and much
Honoured Friend Mr
. Izaak Walton
upon his Excellent Life of Mr
G E O R G E   H E R B E R T.

Heav'ns youngest Son, its Benjamin,
Divinity's next Brother, Sacred Poesie,
No longer shall a Virgin reckoned be,
(What ere with others 'tis) by me,
A Female Muse, as were the Nine:
But (full of Vigor Masculine)
An Essence Male, with Angels his Companions shine.
With Angels first the heavenly youth was bred;
And, when a Child, instructed them to sing,
The praises of th' Immortal King,
Who Lucifer in Triumph led:
For, as in Chains the Monster sank to Hell,
And tumbling headlong down the precipice fell,
By him first taught, How art thou fallen thou morning star? they said
Too fondly then, we have fancy'd him a Maid:
We, the vain Brethren of the rhyming trade;
A femal Angel less would Urbins* skill upbraid.

[* Raphael Urbin, the famous painter ]


Thus 'twas in Heaven: This, Poesy's Sex and Age;
And, when he thence t'our lower world came down,
He chose a form more like his own,
And Jesse's youngest Son inspir'd with holy rage,
The sprightly Shepherd felt unusual Fire,
And up he took his tuneful Lyre;
He took it up, and struck't, and his own soft touches did admire.
Thou, Poesie, on him didst bestow
Thy choicest gift, an honor shew'd before to none;
And, to prepare his way to th' Hebrew Throne,
Gav'st him thy Empire, and Dominion;
The happy Land of Verse
, where flow
Rivers of Milk, and Woods of Laurel grow;
Wherewith thou didst adorn his brow,
And mad'st his first, more flourishing, and triumphant Crown.
Assis me thy great Prophets praise to sing,
, the Poets, and bless'd Israels King;
And, with the dancing Echo, let the mountains ring!
Then, on the wings of some auspicious wind,
Let his great name from earth be rais'd on high,
And in the starry volume of the Sky,
A lasting Record find:
Be with his mighty Psaltery join'd;
Which, taken long since up into the Air,
And call'd the Harp, makes a bright Constellation there.


Worthy it was to be translated hence,
And. there, in view of all, exalted hang:
To which so oft the Princely Prophet sang,
And mystick Oracles did dispence.
Though, had it still remain'd below,
More wonders of it we had seen,
How great the mighty Herberts skill had been;
, who could so much without it do;
, who did its Chords distinctly know,
More perfectly, than any Child of Verse below.
O! Had we known him half so well!
But then, my friend, there had been left for you
Nothing so fair, and worthy praise to do;
Who so exactly all his Story tell,
That, though he did not want his Bays,
Nor all the Monuments vertue can raise,
Your hand, he did, to Eternize his Praise.
, and Donne, again are join'd,
Now here below, as they're above;
These friends are in their old embraces twin'd;
And, since by you the Enterview's design'd,
Too weak, to part them, death does prove;
For in this book they meet again: as in one Heav'n they love. 

Sam. Woodforde D.D. Bensted, Apr. 3. 1670.

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