The surname of WOOD was derived from the Old English WODE - dweller in or near a wood. Common to every medieval register all over the country. Early records of the name mention John del Wode of Wakefield, County Yorkshire in 1274. Walter de la Wode of the County of Yorkshire was documented in 1292. Robertus del Wode of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas del Wode (smyth), ibid. Gilbert a la Wode was recorded in the year of 1488, in county Yorkshire. An eminent member of the name was Sir Andrew Wood (1455-1539) the Scottish naval commander, a native of Largo, Fife. He was associated with James IV. in his efforts to build up a Scottish navy. He was specially successful against English vessels raiding in the Firth of Forth. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. William Wood (1671-1744) was the English iron-founder in London. In 1772, he was granted a royal licence to coin half-pennies and farthings for circulation in Ireland, sharing the profits with one of King George I's mistresses. He was also granted the licence to strike coins for the American colonies. The scandal was denounced by Jonathan Swift, and the patent was withdrawn. Wood was compensated with a pension. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Joseph Wright (1734-97) painted Italian and English landscapes and portraits. His painting of 'The Wood Children', shows Robert, John and Mary, whose parents were Hugh and Sarahclood of Swanwick, Derbyshire. The painting is in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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