The Woodforde Family
The Northamptonshire Woodforde Family
The family can
therefore be traced back with absolute certainty and adequate
documentary evidence to Robert Woodforde who died in the
Northamptonshire village of Old in 1574 and who was married to
Elizabeth Wymond who died, also in Old, in 1576. Elizabeth
dated 20 December 1576 instructs that her body `be buried in the
churchyard of St Andrew of Old, next to my husband Robert Woodford’
and lists her son Edward and his children, Robert, Henne, Elizabeth,
Anne and Margaret. Additionally, the will of one Gregory Hoyt of
to a William Woodford as the son of Robert Woodford and Elizabeth
The earliest known Woodford diary is that of a great-grandson of
Robert and Elizabeth, namely Robert Woodforde (1606-1654) who was
born in Old, Northamptonshire, and died in Northampton. By virtue of his
occupation, this Robert is known to the family as `Robert the
The more well-known diarist, the Revd James Woodforde, Rector of Weston Longville in Norfolk was one of this Robert’s great-grandchildren.
In Northamptonshire Record Office as NRO: R(K) 470-473.
J.Bridges, History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire, ed
Whalley. 2 vols (Oxford, 1791).
contributions to this site are welcome.
© Stephen Butt 2004 - rev
However, despite the enthusiastic activity of a number of family historians, a link between this Northamptonshire branch of the family and the ancient Woodford family of Leicestershire has not been proven. Some published pedigrees include a John Woodford of Scaldwell, a village adjacent to Old, who is said to be the father of the earlier Robert Woodford (husband of Elizabeth Wymond). However, John of Scaldwell’s will, dated 8 April 1513, notes that the legatees are his brother Robert, his son Eusebius, and his daughters Katherine, Elizabeth, Mary and Alice, and his wife Agnes.
The Northamptonshire antiquarian Henry Isham Longden of Lamport devoted much
attention to the Woodforde family pedigree, but a card
in his handwriting in the Northamptonshire Record Office index for John Woodford of Scaldwell says that “(John of Scaldwell) is said to be the earliest
ancestor of the Revd James Woodforde. Of this claim I can find no
The Leicestershire-Northamptonshire Connection
There are a number of reasons for accepting the proposition that this Northamptonshire Woodforde family is a branch of the ancient Woodford family of Leicestershire.
Several editions of Burke’s Peerage suggested that Robert Woodforde
(1606-1654) was a descendant of Robert Woodford of Bucks, the son of
Ralph Woodford of Ashby Folville. The text is as follows: `His (ie:
Sir Robert Woodforde’s) great-grandson, Sir Robert Woodfoorde (sic)
married in 1489 the daughter and heir of Gate of Burnham co.
Buckingham, and was ancestor of Samuel Woodford, DD.’ Samuel was the
eldest son of Robert Woodforde, Steward of Northampton. This was
revised in later editions to become the simple and more cautious phrase, `the
descendant of an ancient family’.
It is recorded that the Woodforde family of Ansford, Somerset, had in its possession many family documents from possibly the 14th and 15th Century which were lost or destroyed after the death of the Revd Alexander Woodforde in Locking, Somerset in 1909. It is said that immediately after the death of Alexander, these documents along with many diaries and other papers were accidentally sold as waste and were carted away and destroyed.
The two families were in adjacent counties and there are manorial links between these two families. A Ralph Woodford received lands from John, Lord Zouch of Harringworth after the latter’s disgrace in 1485 following the battle of Bosworth, and, much earlier, Nichols notes that in 1230 `William la Zouch of Haringworth, co Northampton, knt,. Deceased, held Brentingby, as a member of Thorpe-Ernald.’ Harringworth is in Northamptonshire and in the vicinity of the village of Old.