The Ansford Family
The Ansford family descends from the Woodford(e) family of
Northamptonshire. The first member of the family to move to
Somerset was Robert (Robin) Woodforde, a younger son of Revd
Samuel Woodforde and Mary Norton (his second wife). In a
distinguished career in the Church, Robert served as Treasurer and
Canon Residentiary of Wells Cathedral.
However, the Ansford
family descends from his half-brother, Heighes Woodforde.Samuel
Woodforde's eldest son (from his first wife, Alice Beale) was Revd
Heighes Woodforde (1664-1724), some time Vicar of Epsom, and it
was his son, another Revd Samuel Woodforde (1695-1771) who
became the Rector of Ansford in Somerset.
His brother, Revd
John Woodforde, served as Rector of the nearby parish of Curry,
and a nephew, Revd Francis Woodforde (1748-1836), son of Thomas
Woodforde (1707-1800) also became Rector of Ansford.
Alexander John Woodforde
Revd Samuel Woodforde's eldest Son, also named Heighes Woodforde,
became an attorney in Ansford. Samuel's second son, Revd James
Woodforde, was the distinguished diarist.
Woodforde's eldest son was William Woodforde, the `Nephew
Bill' of Parson James's diaries. His eldest son, another William
Woodforde, became a doctor and worked in the United States.
William's youngest son, George Augustus Woodforde, married
Harriet Leir and followed his grandfather into the legal profession.
George Augustus had nine children. His son, the Revd Alexander
John Woodforde, served for many years as Rector of Locking in
Somerset. He married Elizabeth Laishley on 11 January 1870.
Elizabeth was born in Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland, on 5 February
1835. Her father was George Laishley.
Another son, George William Woodforde (born
15 December 1844) married Harriet, the daughter of Revd Robert F
Lawrence, Vicar of St Mary’s, Chalgrove, Oxford. George William died on
27 March 1892 leaving five children, namely: Oswald
William Randolph, George
Augustus (obviously named after his grandfather), Harriet May Mabel,
Helen Gwendoline Neville and Alice
The Revd Robert Lawrence was a distinguished member of the
clergy. Born in 1807, he was educated at
and was Vicar of St Mary, Chalgrove, Oxford and St Helen, Berrick,
Salome, for fifty three years until his death in 1885. He opened a
school for the villagers and taught there himself, but he is best
remembered for fighting for better cottage accommodation for
agricultural labourers. The small thatched cottages he built remain
to this day. His campaigning on behalf of the poor farm workers
brought him into conflict with the landowners (including some of the
Oxford Colleges) and he was secretary of the local agricultural
labourers' trade union. He is mentioned in Bishop Anthony Russell's The
Clerical Profession. He died in 1885.
Revd Robert Lawrence
and Henry Whalley Woodforde
In 1870, Helen, the eldest daughter of George Augustus, married
her cousin Henry Whalley Woodforde. He was a solicitor, and their
private address was in Surbiton. However, Helen appears to
have spent much time at the Ansford Lower House. She gave
Julia (William's daughter) a `nice cap' on the old lady's
eighty-third birthday, for instance.
had one child who survived only a few hours after birth, but they
adopted one of Henry's nieces, a daughter of Charles Clutterbuck
Woodforde who died young leaving his family in poor
circumstances. Her name was Rose Isabel Martin.
died in 1907. In 1909, Helen made a will in favour of Rose leaving
Ansford Lodge. Helen died in 1910 and lies with her husband in
died in 1927, and in the following year her husband Lt Col. John
Prescott-Law sold most of her family possessions, many inherited
from Helen and Henry and dating back to Dr James Woodforde MD.
Prescott-Law also sold Ansford Lodge, ending the family's two
hundred year association with the building.
Reginald Fielding Marriott Woodforde
photographed in 1943
Locking Parish Church
Woodforde family in Somerset
The Ansford (Somerset) branch of the Woodforde family is perhaps the
most well-known because of the literary fame of Revd James
Woodforde whose diaries have been published by Oxford University
Press in various editions since the 1920's. Such is the
continuing popularity of Parson Woodforde's material that a society
exists, devoted to the further exploration and understanding of his
life and times.
Locking Parish Church Lych Gate
The Lych Gate at Locking Parish Church, in memory of the Revd
Alexander John Woodforde, was constructed by local men and boys who
attended a wood-carving class held by a Miss Gimmingham, who lived
at the Manor House. Members of this group carved many other items
for the church.
(Wife of Revd Alexander John Woodforde)
At some time between 1856 and 1873 Ansford Lodge was sold to George
Augustus Woodforde (1801-1877). Of George's nine children,
five were living when he died. By his will he bequeathed the Lodge
to Helen, his eldest daughter, for her lifetime, appointing his sons
Alexander and Randolph as trustees. They were authorised to let the
house and draw the rents accruing on her behalf.
1884, four years after their father's death, the five children and
their husbands mortgaged the property for the sum of £190 in order
to finance repairs to the outbuildings. This sum was not repaid for
a further twenty five years.
youngest son of Revd Alexander John Woodforde, Reginald Fielding Marriott Woodforde
was the grandfather of the author of this site.
The ancient crest of the
Woodman (as painted in Brentingby
Chapel c.1400) still in use in the
19th Century in Somerset
contributions to this site are welcome.
Please email us
© Stephen Butt 2004-2005