Revd Alexander John Woodforde
The Revd Alexander
John Woodforde was born in Ansford on 3 August 1839. He
BA degree in Divinity from Hatfield House, Durham University (now Hatfield College)
and served as vicar of
Shepton Montague, near Castle Cary, and as vicar of St
Locking, near Weston-super-Mare from 1894 until his death in
It is recorded that he also served as curate at St John's Parish Church in
Weston-super-Mare, at which time he lived in
'Chittagong Villa' in Shrubbery Walks on the town's Worlebury
He was the son of Ansford solicitor George Augustus Woodforde and Harriett Mary Leir, eldest daughter of Revd William Leir, Rector of Ditcheat, Somerset. Although being the third son in his family, he inherited the Ansford estate because his elder brothers, Charles Neville and Robert Reginald Augustus, died unmarried and without issue.
Elizabethan Ansford House, which had been in the ownership of the
Woodforde family for almost two centuries, accidentally burned down in
April 1893, but street directories for the period list the Revd Alexander
Woodforde and his brother
Randolph as the major landowners in Ansford.
He married, on 11 January 1870, Elizabeth Laishley, the only child of George New Laishley of Clarence Lodge, Shirley. Elizabeth was born in Southampton on 5 February 1835, and died at Lausanne on 5 February 1885 aged thirty-five years. She was buried at Ansford.
A small oak writing box, still in the family's possession, bears a handwritten label stating that it is the property of the Revd Alexander Woodforde in the temporary care of his brother Randolph whilst Alexander is away.
On 27 September 1886, Alexander John secondly married Agnes Marie Collett, the daughter of the Revd William Collett. They had one child, Dorothy Cecil, who was born 20 December 1888 and died 8 January 1889.
The Revd Alexander
Woodforde was an amateur watercolour painter, and several of his paintings of Locking
Church and rectory have survived.
A brief report in the Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald records that the Revd Alexander Woodforde read the lessons at an Anniversary Service in the chapel of the West of England Sanatorium on Weston-super-Mare's sea front, on 11 May 1889.
"He was a great collector of family stories and traditions (inventing not a few himself), and all existing letters, diaries and note books were very carefully kept by him. Immediately after his death all these letters, and many of the diaries, were accidentally sold as waste paper.
"My father, arriving a day or two later, found a few of these letters of these letters in the stables where they had been dropped by the man who carted the rest away, but very little has ever been recovered."
the lost papers, according to Dorothy, was 'a great deal of
material of a much earlier period which had never been
examined, probably from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries'.
The Lych Gate at Locking Parish Church, in memory of Alexander John, was constructed by local men and boys who attended a wood-carving class held by Miss Gimmingham, who lived at the Manor House. Members of this group carved many other items for the church.
Miss Gimingham lived in the Manor House in the 1890s. It is said she was a
remarkable woman who was a keen photographer of life in the village,
organised a village band, gave generously to the church and held
woodworking classes producing carved panels which can still be seen in
Miss Gimingham in the black dress and the Revd Alexander John Woodforde can be seen in this photograph from 1895 taken in the paddock (now the park) in front of the Manor house.
The children of Alexander John Woodforde and Elizabeth Laishley
Alexander George Leslie Woodforde - Born 19 September 1873. Living in Surbiton in 1901 and working as a yacht builder. Served in the Royal Medical Corp during the First World War. Left Southampton on the RMS Ionic in November 1932 for Wellington, New Zealand. Lived in Manurewa, Franklin, Auckland, and died in Auckland, on 4 August 1953.
Edmond Heighes Woodforde -
General Practitioner. Born 23 December 1874 who married Mary
Thorne. Died 2 July 1957, Weston-super-Mare.
Reginald Fielding Marriott Woodforde - Electrical Engineer. Born 30 November 1880. Died 6 November 1962, Weston-super-Mare.
Woodforde - Born 2 November
1870 who married Edmond Clarke. Died 12 September 1950.
Ethel Berkeley Woodforde - Born 8 April
1872 who married, on 31 October 1905, Revd George Frederick
Jackson MA, English Chaplain at Hyeres, France.
Died 28 April 1953.
Woodforde - Born 31 July
1876. Died 4 January 1947.
Katherine Delicia Woodforde - Born 26 April 1878. Died 13 September 1904 (suicide).