Wood, James
1751-1840; e.m.1773

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WM itinerant, born at West Buckland, Som., on 18 July 1751 (O.S.) He was convinced of sin at the age of 12 under the local clergyman, Mr. Jesse (a personal friend of John Wesley), became the leader of the local WM society and found peace with God through a sermon by a local preacher, John Smith. He began to preach when called on to do so in the absence of a local preacher in 1771. His first appointment as an itinerant was to the Norwich Circuit, where, as in Kent and Sussex, he faced hostile mobs. He spent 53 years in the ministry, 'preaching the Gospel with great fidelity, earnestness, diligence and success ... and exercising the pastoral charge to the edification of all the societies that were placed under his care'. He published a Dictionary of the Bible in 1804. Despite being modest and unassuming by nature, he was considered to be 'a model Methodist preacher, cultured, and saintly, earnest and practical', and was twice elected President of the Conference, in 1800 and 1808. He died on 17 June 1840.

His son Robert Wood (1787-1851; e.m. 1811) followed him into the WM ministry. Robert's friendship with James Montgomery and James Everett influenced the intellectual development of his daughter Mary Anne Everett Green (1818-1895), who wrote his biography. Despite little formal education, she developed formidable historical and archival skills and, in addition to writing a number of royal biographies, made a sustained contribution to the editing of the Calendar of State Papers, being responsible for as many as forty-one of the volumes. It was at her insistant suggestion that prefaces were added to each volume. In 1845 she married the artist George Pycock Green. One of her daughters, Evelyn Ward Everett Green (1856-1932), baptized at Great Queen Street WM chapel, London, became a prolific author, mainly of romantic fiction and books for children, using Cecil Adair, Evelyn Ward and Evelyn Dare among her pseudonyms. She died in Madeira on 23 April 1932.

  • Robert A. West, Sketches of Wesleyan Preachers (1849) pp. 162-67
  • Mary A.E. Green, Memorial of the Rev. Robert Wood, Wesleyan Minister (privately printed, 1854)
  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number 1892, pp.29-33
  • Wesley and his Successors (1895) pp. 54-55
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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