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Not Brentford

Wood and Towe families

Peter Wood wrote initially in 2010 then provided an update in June 2015, having taken his family research back 150 years.

Wood family

My five times great grandfather was Samuel Wood, from his age at death he was born about 1683. I have no knowledge as to his first wife and mother of his only son, also called Samuel. Both Samuels were ministers in the non-conformist church. Samuel senior in Wivenhoe, Lavenham, Bishops Stortford and lastly Woodbridge. Samuel junior married Mary MEADOWS the youngest daughter of John Meadows, a wealthy and well known non-conformist minister. They had seven children, all born in Framlingham where Samuel junior was minister. Their fifth child was Philip, born in 1750. It is believed that Samuel later left Mary for another woman, went to London to study medicine but died of smallpox shortly afterwards. (No details).

After Samuel left, Mary took the family to Diss where she had close family. Sixteen year old Philip was firstly apprentice and later proprietor of a haberdashery shop in Norwich where he clearly made a good living as he seems to have retired in about 1784 when he was 35. He must have moved to Walsham le Willows because in 1799 he had to pay £100 to the local parish to indemnify them against raising an illegitimate daughter but in 1800 married the lady; nine months later in August 1801 his eldest son Samuel was born in Wattisfield, near Bury St Edmonds. Philip died in 1809 and is buried at St Margarets in Wattisfield. I have all the above wills.

I have no further knowledge of Samuel until he appeared in Brentford in 1832 when he married Mary Ann MARRINER in the church of St Mary, Ealing, he signed the certificate but Mary Ann only put her mark. In 1841 the couple and 2 daughters were living in Old Brentford High Street, Cage Square, where he was a hairdresser.

Over the next 22 years they had 11 children, the first born was John in 1833, probably named after his brother, and the last born was Samuel, my great grandfather, born 11 March and baptised 9th April 1854. All were baptised in St Georges, Brentford.

In 1851 the family were living at 41 High Street Old Brentford and Samuel was still a hairdresser. By this time the family comprised wife Mary Ann, daughters Maria (16), Catherine (11) Edward (7) Caroline (4) and Julia (6 months).

In 1861 they were living at 15 High Street, New Brentford. Samuel died in 1863 and Mary Ann in 1866.

Catherine had an illegitimate son Philip in 1861 and another son followed in 1866. In the 1871 census she was living with her brother, yet another Samuel (my g/grandfather) and her two sons in Catherine Wheel Yard. Also in the Yard that year was Avery THATCHER who was born in Long Whitting in Berkshire, he was a general labourer, they married in 1876.

The TOWE family, James and Martha, were also living in Catherine Wheel Yard, James was a labourer; in 1881 he was a dock labourer. They had 4 children, daughters Martha Alice, Emily and Florence and son William. James and Martha continued to live in the Yard after the children had left home; in 1891 they were at number 13. James died in 1897 and Martha in 1900.


Two Wood/Towe marriages

In 1881 census Martha Alice was working for undertaker and builder James and Frances BARNES at 95 High Street, next to the Yard. In 1886 she married Philip Wood. In the 1891 census they had moved to Isleworth and in 1901 the family were living at 9 South Western Terrace, Brentford, Philip was a foreman packer. He later worked at Pears soap factory where he was credited with starting the canteen.

A year later in 1887 Philip's younger brother James, a GW railway shunter, married Martha Alice's younger sister Florence, in 1891 they were living at 26 Catherine Wheel Yard, with their two sons James and Albert. In 1901 they had moved to number 41 with three more children and Florence's single sister Emily also living with them. In 1890 Samuel married Elizabeth LEAR and they moved to Distillery road, Twyford Abbey, Ealing, Brentford. In the first quarter of 1892 their only child, Edward James Wood, was born.

The 1901 census shows them at the same address with only Samuel in employment but they had an 86 year old lodger, Sarah SHEPPARD.

In 1911 Samuel was living at 23 Starnage road, West Brentford with Elizabeth, he was a carman, Elizabeth a laundry hand and the 19 year old Edward was a pastry cook assistant.

Edward married Amelia HARRIS in 1914, by now he was an insurance agent and in 1917 he was a worker at Pears Soap factory. Later, in 1939 he was a gatekeeper for the water board. They had four children, Mary born 1915, Ernest Edward (my father) born 21/3/1917 at 67 Mafeking road, Robert Samuel and Margaret.

Ernest married Joan Vera BOTT on October 7th 1939 at St Georges Church, Brentford; at the time he was living with his parents at 22 Clayponds Avenue. I clearly recall visiting my grandparents here in the 1950's and early 60's.

I was born in 1944 and have two younger brothers. I would be delighted to contact any of Samuel Wood's offspring.
If you are a descendant of Samuel Wood please get in touch and I will forward your email to Peter.



Catherine Wheel Yard was home to several people mentioned above. Since 2015 more information about it has been added: read more.

Some of the names noted above feature on the website, Bott and Marriner for example. Search on the home page for more information. There are photos of places mentioned too, such as Cage Square, Distillery Road - the search facility should locate them.

Page first published 2010; last updated June 2023