The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300


The family research of Adolphus Woodford

It is reported in several versions of the Ansford Woodforde Family Book that Adolphus Woodford commissioned research into the family’s history which proved a descent from a Nicholas Woodford buried at Idmaston, Co.Wilts. Idmiston is in the same area of Wiltshire as the parish of Woodford. 

According to the Family Book, this research offered `conclusive proof’. It is not known whether this pedigree or a copy of it, is still in existence.


The Revd Adolphus Woodford

The Revd Adolphus Frederick Alexander Woodford was born ion 9 July 1821, the eldest son of Field Marshall Sir Alexander Woodford.  He served as a commissioned officer in the Coldstream Guards from 1838 to 1841 and then studied at University College, Durham, gaining a BA degree in 1846 and LTh degree in Theology in 1847.  He was immediately inducted as Rector of Swillington in Leeds and served in that living until 1872.

His first Masonic association was in Gibraltar when his father was governor of the fortress there. He was first initiated into the Royal Lodge of Friendship (then No 345) on the island in 1842. 

He later joined the Lodge of Antiquity, and from that point his Masonic career flourished, becoming Deputy Master of Antiquity in 1878 under the Duke of Albany, and Masonic Grand Chaplain of England in 1863 to which he was appointed by the Earl of Zetland.  He preached his initial oration as Grand Chaplain on “The Dignity of the Order and the Principles of Freemasonry” at the laying of the foundation stone of the new Freemasons Hall in the same year.

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© Stephen Butt 2004 - rev 15/05/06



The Revd Adolphus Woodford was a frequent contributor to the Masonic press under the non-de-plume of `Masonic Student’.  An enthusiastic writer, he edited both `The Freemason’ (1879-1885) and `The Masonic Magazine’ (1873-1882). His essay on "The Connection of York with the History of Freemasonry in England," published in Brother Hughan's Unpublished Records of the Craft, was written in 1871.

He compiled Kenning’s Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry in 1878, edited the Sloane Mss No.3329 (1879) and wrote `A Defence of Masonry’ in 1874. He was a founder-member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1886 and gave an oration at its consecration, but died in the following year.

He died on 23 December 1887. It would seem that despite his high standing as a Masonic thinker and writer he had fallen on hard times as his estate was valued at only approximately £30.00.  His library of Masonic literature was bequeathed to the freemasons. He was buried at the South Metropolitan Cemetery in West Norwood. He was succeeded by his sons, though little is known about them.


John Seed, “Woodford-Progenitor of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076” in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, The Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076, pp 118-128, 1980.

I wish to record my gratitude to the late Stan Vaughan, a former member of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, for verifying much of this information regarding Revd Adolphus Woodford.

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