Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Workday Wednesday - John "the Clothier" Wood (1520-1577), My Paternal 12th Great-Grandfather

Today's post, based on the +Genea Bloggers prompt of Workday Wednesday, focuses on John "the Clothier" Wood, my paternal 12th great-grandfather.

How I descend from John "the Clothier" Wood.
My father (living) and I would be listed below John Egbert Wood.

John Wood lived in Dedham, Essex, England in the 1500s and worked as a clothier - someone engaged in the production and sale of cloth.  Men dominated the clothier occupation in 16th-century England; and, typically, they became quite wealthy given the high cost of cloth during that time.

British History Online offers this information about 16th-century Dedham clothiers:

"Many tenements had tainter fields and woadhouses (dyehouses) attached, and clothiers, shearmen, and weavers had 'shops', either workshops or commercial premises. Dedham was among the Essex villages exempted from the provisions of the 1557 Act regulating the rural cloth industry. Although a decline in trade was cited by the inhabitants when they petitioned for a reduction in subsidy in 1562-3, export figures suggest that the trade remained prosperous in the later 16th century."*

Luckily for those working as clothiers in Tudor era England, the wealthy desired extravagant clothing made from luxurious materials.  The pictures below of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, give the reader an idea of the lavish fabrics favored by16th-century England's elite:
The "Darnley Portrait" of Queen Elizabeth I of England, circa 1575.
(This picture is in the public domain.)
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, circa 1558-1565.
(This photo is in the public domain.)

From Genealogical Gleanings in England, Vol. 2 by Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, John Wood's 08 March 1577 will (proved on 02 April 1577) shows that he earned an excellent living as a clothier.  John left significant assets, including multiple land holdings in England, to his heirs.

*‘Dedham: Economic history,' in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe, ed. Janet Cooper (London: Victoria County History, 2001), 169-177, accessed March 3, 2015,

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.