The Woodforde Family

A History of the Woodforde Family from 1300




Many members of the Woodforde family have written about their history, from Robert Woodforde in Leicestershire in the 15th Century to the owner of this website in the 21st Century, constituting over five hundred year's of literary work. 

This page highlights and celebrates the breadth of the family's contribution to written history.

The earliest known writings of the family consists of the collection of deeds and other legal documents that make up the Woodford Cartulary which is archived in the British Library as Cotton Claudius XIII.  We know that this compilation was created in the mid-15th Century. The last contributor was Robert Woodford of Bucks who died in the mid-16th Century.


Almost every generation has left diaries. These include Robert Woodforde, the 17th Century puritan of Northamptonshire. his son Dr Samuel Woodforde the Divine and founder of the Royal Society, and of course the Revd James Woodforde.

James Woodforde's niece, Nancy, left diaries, as did his nephew, Samuel Woodforde the artist, and the daughters of his nephew William Woodforde.

More recently, the Revd Alexander John Woodforde (1839-1939) was a great documenter of the family's history as well as being a competent watercolour artist. 

His son, Robert Edmond Heighes Woodforde preserved much of the family's history and made available the diaries of Revd James Woodforde to the wider public.


The original Cartulary of John Woodford of Brentingby. This compilation of family deeds and documents began in the time of John Woodford (1358-1401). The last contributor was Robert Woodford (born 1481), John's great-great grandson.

The date of 1670 written on the cover page relates to the year in which this manuscript was acquired by Samuel Roper of Heanor, Derbyshire.


The front page of the diary of Robert Woodforde of Old, Northamptonshire (1604-1654). This small diary covers the period 20 August 1637 to 3 August 1641. 

As a devout puritan in an occupation that enabled him to travel remarkably widely, Robert was able to record some of the dramatic political and religious events, both local and national, which led ultimately to the English Civil War.


Dorothy Heighes Woodforde' compilation of diaries and letters from members of the Woodforde family - from Robert Woodforde (1604-1654) to the early 20th Century. 

Dorothy (1901-1981) was the daughter of Dr Robert Edmond Heighes Woodforde who first made available the diaries of Revd James Woodforde to the public. He was a great grandson of Parson James' `Nephew Bill'.


This copy is signed by the author in the year following the publication of her book.
Volume III of John Beresford's edition of the diaries of Revd James Woodforde. Beresford `discovered' these diaries during a visit to the home of Dr Robert Edmond Heighes Woodforde. 

They were first published between 1921 and 1926 by Oxford University Press in five volumes and frequently republished in various forms and compilations.  They are still in print today.


One of several authoritative works on English stained glass by the Revd Dr Christopher Woodforde (1907-1962).  

Dr Woodforde was the eldest son of Dr Robert Edmond Heighes Woodforde, elder brother to Dorothy Heighes Woodforde.


The diaries of Revd James Woodforde of Ansford, Somerset and Weston Longville, Norfolk, have been published in many forms.  This is a brief compilation in paperback from Oxford University Press. A further treatment of Parson Woodforde's diaries, this time placing his writings in the context of art and society in Norfolk. The foreword is by John Julius Norwich with an introduction by Ronald Blythe. Published by Tiger Books in 1991



The Revd Dr Christopher Woodforde's first published novel, an intense fictional account of a few months in the life of a sixteen year old schoolboy known as `John'.  It was published by J.M.Dent in 1962. This copy is a first edition numbered 343. Possibly the latest `Woodford' publication, the owner of this website's compilation of images old and new of the city of Leicester published in 2009

Comments and contributions to this site are welcome.
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Text and design Stephen Butt 2004 -2009
Revised 10/12/09

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