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Brentford Families - Jonah Wood

Lorraine Dicksee wrote in August 2020 about her Wood family, who settled in New Brentford in the 1770s. Jonah Wood is of interest as he had the same occupation as Lorraine's family, draper, and lived near to them. Was he related to her family? Her research suggests not. He had no children and therefore no direct descendants, so his story might have remained untold, had it not been for Lorraine's sterling efforts.

Jonah WOOD 1792-1852

Jonah Wood was baptised at St Alkmund, Shrewsbury in 1792, the son of John and Mary Wood.

In 1809 he joined the 25th Regiment of Foot, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, at Dundee in Scotland. How he came to be in Scotland after starting life in Shropshire is not known. His occupation was 'labourer' when he joined up and it can be imagined that a life in the army would be attractive.

Shortly after joining up his battalion was sent to the West Indies. The following notes are from The King's Own Scottish Borderers website:
The 1st battalion spent the most part of the Napoleonic Wars in the West Indies. Martinique was taken in 1809, and Guadeloupe in 1811. During this campaign the Battalion lost more men through disease than as a result of enemy action.

Jonah's active service came to an end in 1818 when he dislocated his ankle and was discharged at Chatham in Kent. From that point he received an army pension until his death in 1852.

Presumably he stayed in the London area as the next sighting of him is at his marriage in St Andrew Holborn to widow Charlotte HORSTED in 1834. There is no evidence they had any children.

In 1834 a review of the Militia took place. Jonah is one of 29 men recorded in the Westminster Militia, age 46, and was classed 'unfit' due to his ankle injury. In all, ten out of the 29 men were unfit, and around a half were aged over 45 (Jonah was 42). His address at the time was 'Headquarters', which may have been at Horse Guards, and some men were living up to 9 miles away from the HQ (** see note below). Jonah was recorded as a labourer, his occupation when he joined up. He must have moved to New Brentford shortly after, as in 1836 he was living a few doors along from the Black Boy and Still, near Catherine Wheel Yard.

[** note from webmaster: there were links between the Westminster Militia and Brentford in the early 1800s, see research into the Perrott family.]

New Brentford tithe 1838: Jonah Wood was a tenant of plots 68a, 69a, 70a and 71a (TheGenealogist) The tithe enumeration of 1838 shows he was also the tenant of four small garden areas that ran behind the property he lived in; plots numbered 68a, 69a, 70a and 71a. George Clark was the proprietor.

The following year the 1839 Pigot directory shows Jonah's occupation: clothier, draper and tailor. His ankle injury must have ruled out labouring and he had learned a less physical occupation.

In 1841 he was recorded in the census of New Brentford as a tailor with his wife and three non-family members, including a 25-year-old journeyman tailor, location as in 1836, near Catherine Wheel Yard (probably at 92 High Street).

In 1842 his landlord, John Clarke, made his will and refers to his five properties near the Catherine Wheel public house; he mentioned Jonah Wood as one of his tenants and made bequests to sons Samuel and George: presumably the latter is the individual recorded in the tithe as proprietor of the four small gardens.

Possibly as a consequence of the death of his landlord, Jonah moved back to London and the army pension records for 1846 and 1847 record him as an out pensioner (ie living independently). His health must have failed at around this time as he was admitted to the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 1848 and was still here in 1851. He died the following year.

His wife has not been found after 1841, although a note was made in 1848 that she would be provided for following Jonah's admission to the Royal Hospital.


1836 Poor Rate of Brentford

1838 New Brentford tithe (TheGenealogist)

1839 Pigot's Directory

Will of John Clarke (Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Ancestry); view abstract of will

London Land Tax Records (Ancestry)

WO 22 Records (TNA, Findmypast)

WO 23 Records (TNA, Findmypast)


Page published February 2022