The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300


The Barony of Carleby

Robert Woodforde
of Old, Northampton had two surviving sons, Samuel and John.  From Samuel is descended the Ansford family.  From John is descended the Carleby family.

John Woodford, the younger brother, died in 1694.  He is described as `John of London’ suggesting that he returned to his mother’s family home (the Haunch family) after his father’s relatively early death. 

From John was descended Matthew Woodford of Salisbury, Wilts who married Mary Pellican. The precise descent is not confirmed. From this marriage descended a family that was to produce a number of distinguished military men.

Matthew and Mary’s son was the Revd Mathew Woodford, a Sub-dean and Prebend at Chichester Cathedral.  From his son, also called Matthew, came a distinguished generation of three sons and two daughters:

1 - Sir Ralph Woodford

Baronet of Carleby, Lincs who died 26 August 1810 who had married Gertrude Reesen.  Sir Ralph has an entry in Boyle’s “Court and Country Guide and Town Visiting Directory” for 1796. His address is given as 22 New Norfolk Street in London, and is country home is given as Carleby, Lincs.  His son was Ralph James Woodford, 2nd Baronet of Carleby, (1784-1828) who served as Governor of Trinidad.

2 - Revd Matthew Woodford DD

Who followed his grandfather as a Prebend at Chichester (c.1739-1807).

3 -
Col. John Woodford

From his first marriage (to Mary Emperor), Colonel John Woodford of the Grenadier Guards had three sons.  The second son, Emperor John Alexander Woodford (fl 1791) was a Captain in the 17th Leicestershire Regiment. From his second marriage (to Susan Cosmo Gordon, eldest daughter of Cosmo George, 3rd Duke of Gordon and widow of John, 9th Earl of Westmoreland, who died 1814), he had a further two sons. Alexander John Woodford (1782-1870) and John Woodford (1785-1879). Little is known about this younger John.

Emperor John's `very valuable and elegant library' was sold at auction by Leigh and Sotheby on 11 May 1809.

Mary and Ann

Little is known about Mary, the eldest daughter of Matthew and Mary Woodford. Ann married Peter Thellusson of Plaistow in Kent in 1760. Their son, Peter Isaac Thellusson became the 1st Lord Rendelsham. 

Peter Thellusson (1st Lord Rendelsham)

Thellusson's will offers confirmation of part of the Carleby pedigree.  He is to be interred in the vault of Brodsworth Church in the County of York.  He leaves his wife, Ann, 300 guineas and his property in Kent. 

He also gives 300 guineas to both his brother-in-law, Revd Matthew Woodford, Archdeacon of Winchester, and to Emperor John Alexander Woodford.

The memorial plaque to Field Marshall Sir Alexander John Woodford in the Royal Garrison Church, Portsmouth reads:



AUG 26 1870 AGE 88.



Memorial plaque

Memorial Plaque to 
Field Marshall 
Sir Alexander John Woodford


The Europa Point Lighthouse, Malta

Europa Point is the southernmost tip of Gibraltar and the home to the Europa Point lighthouse. This lighthouse is the most southerly of all Trinity House lighthouses, being the only one outside the United Kingdom. It stands 49 metres above the High Water mark at the southernmost end of the Rock of Gibraltar. 

The foundation stone was laid by Governor Sir Alexander Woodford on the 26th April, 1838, with the assistance of the Masonic Order in Gibraltar and was opened on 1 August 1841, attracting over 2000 onlookers from the surrounding countryside. It was automated in February 1994 and its loom can be seen over a distance of 27 kilometres.


Field Marshall Sir Alexander John Woodford GCB, GCMG

Sir Alexander Woodford was born in 1782. He entered the army in 1794 as Cornet in the 14th Light Dragoons. In 1795 he was appointed a Lieutenant and in 1799 joined the 9th Foot, from Winchester School, and was present in the campaign in North Holland in 1799. 

He married Charlotte Mary Anne Fraser who died 2 April 1870.  They had at least three sons, Charles John Woodford who died in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny, John William Gordon Woodford who was born 23 November 1826 in Malta (his birth being registered by an army chaplain there in the following year), and his eldest son, the Revd Adolphus Woodford, who became a distinguished freemason based in London. 

In 1800 he was exchanged and returned to England, and promoted by purchase to a Captain-Lieutenancy in the 9th Foot in the same year and exchanged into the Coldstream Guards as Lieutenant and Captain in 1800.

Woodford was appointed to the staff as Aide-de-Camp to Major General The Honourable James Forbes, afterwards Lord Forbes, and was stationed at Ashford and Dover forming part of the army assembled on the coast to repel the threatened invasion of 1803.
In 1807, Sir Alexander rejoined the Coldstream for the Expedition to the Baltic, and was present at the capture of Copenhagen. In 1808 he resumed the staff appointment as Aide-de-Camp to Lord Forbes and served with him in Sicily in 1808, 1809 and 1810. In that year he was promoted by purchase to be Captain and Lieutenant Colonel Coldstream Guards, and joined the second battalion the same year. 

In 1811, he joined the 1st Battalion serving under the Duke of Wellington in Portugal, and was present at the siege and capture of Cuidad Rodrigo, and with the corps covering the siege of Badjoz

He commanded the light companies of the Guards at the battle of Salamanca, in defence of the Arapiles, and was present at the capture of Madrid and the siege of Burgos. Commanded the rearguard of the army in the retreat from Burgos.
In 1813 Woodford succeeded to the command of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and was present at the battle of Vittoria, and during the operations before San Sebastian, and in the Pyrenees. He was present at the passage of the Bidassoa, and entry into France, and at the crossing of the Nive and Nivelle, and at the affair before Biarritz in December 1813.
In 1814 he embarked in the Gironde for England and was promoted to 2nd Major Coldstream Guards, having been previously appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Prince Regent. In 1815 he took command of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards at Brussels and was present at the action at Quartre Bras, 16th June, and at the battle of Waterloo. 

He was engaged as Senior Officer in the defence of Hougomont by the Duke of Wellington's special order, from midday until night and entered France a second time at the head of the Coldstream, at Malplaquet, as well as being present at the capture of Paris. He served with the army of occupation for three years at Cambray and embarked for England from Calais in 1818.
In 1820, Sir Alexander was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel Coldstream Guards. In 1825, he was made Major-General and appointed Lieut-Governor of Malta in that year, and as Major-General on the staff in the Ionian Islands in 1827 and second in command, Acting Lord High Commissioner in 1832. He was appointed Lieut Governor of Gibraltar in 1835 and succeeded Lord Chatham as Governor in 1836 and remained in command until 1842. 

Woodford was furthermore appointed Colonel of the 40th Regiment and was President of the Clothing Board for several years. He was President of the Crimean Enquiry and wasas appointed Lieut-Governor of Chelsea in 1856 and Governor in 1868,  Colonel of the Scots Fusilier Guards in 1863 and Field Marshall in the army in 1868.
He received the Peninsular and Waterloo medals, the gold medal for Salamanca, Vittoria and the Nive, as well as the cross of Maria Theresa, and St George of Russia, and was Knight Grand Cross of the Military order of the Bath, and of St Michael and St George.

William Seymour in "Decisive Factors in Twenty Great Battles of the World" (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1988) writes "so close was the fighting that Bull's guns were no longer able to give support, but the arrival of Colonel Woodford with his Coldstream battalion - less two companies - drove the French away from the gate."

A daughter, name unknown at this time, was born on 8 January 1832 in Corfu. Sir Alexander was appointed Lord High Commissioner of Corfu in 1832, but served in that role for just one year. The death, in Corfu, of Cosmo George Woodford, aged three years `son of Major General Woodford' is recorded in the Bridgwater Advertiser (Somerset) on 5 August 1833.  

Sir Alexander died in 1870 and lies buried in Kensal Green cemetery in London.


Major Charles John Woodford

The photograph below is from the Roger Fenton Crimean War Collection in the Library of Congress in Washington, and shows Charles John Woodford standing next to his horse in 1855, just two years before his death. The photographer was Fenton. Woodford is in the uniform of the Rifle Brigade.

Charles John Woodford was killed in action at Cawnpore on 28 November 1857 aged 34 years. A memorial at All Souls Church, Cawpore reads:

 "Sacred to the memory of Major C.J. Woodford 2nd Batt Rifle Brigade killed in action before Cawnpore Nov. 28th 1857. This stone was erected to his memory by his brother officers."


Charles John Woodford

Major Charles John Woodford (1855)


A pedigree of Woodford of Carleby
 can be download as an MS Word document
 from here

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© Stephen Butt 2004-2005   Rev 15/05/06

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