Wodenoth, Arthur (DNB00)

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WODENOTH or WOODNOTH, ARTHUR (1590?–1650?), colonial pioneer, born about 1590, was descended from the Wodenoths or Woodnoths of Savington, Cheshire (Two Lives of Ferrar, ed. Mayor, p. 339; Visitation of Cheshire, pp. 254-6; Addit. MSS. 6529 f. 72, 6032 f. 132; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 448, 483-4). He was second son of John Wodenoth of Savington, by his second wife, Jane, daughter of John Touchet of Whitley. Mary Wodenoth, the mother of Nicholas Ferrar [q. v.], was his father's sister; and his father's brother Thomas, who settled at Linkinhorne, Cornwall, and spelt the name Wodenote, was father of Theophilus Wodenote [q. v.] (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 5524, 157).

At one time Arthur thought of taking holy orders, but was dissuaded by Ferrar, and returned to his business, which was that of a goldsmith in Foster Lane, London. His intimacy with the Ferrars is shown by the numerous letters to him from Ferrar's sister, Mrs. Collet, printed by Mayor; it was he who arranged the purchase of Little Gidding by Mrs. Ferrar, and supervised the restoration of the neighouring church at Leighton, to which Ferrar's friend George Herbert [q. v.] had been presented in 1626; with Herbert Wodenoth became as intimate as he was with the Ferrars. He witnessed Mrs. Ferrar's will in 1628, was present at Herbert's death in 1633, and was executor of his will (Walton, Lives, ed. 1827, pp. 271, 279, 281, 283, 287, 312-13). He was also well known to Izaak Walton [q. v.], whom he supplied with details of Herbert's life (Herbert, County Parson, ed. Beeching, pp. xix-xxvi). It was probably through Ferrar and Mrs. Ferrar's second husband, Sir John Danvers [q. v.], that Wodenoth became interested in the Virginia Company. He was not a member till some time after 1612, but he took an active part in the affairs of the company till the revocation of its charter, siding, like Ferrar, with the party of Sir Edwin Sandys [q. v.] against that of Sir Thomas Smith (1558?-1625) [q. v.] In 1644 he was deputy governor of the Somers Islands Company, and before his death he drew up a 'Short Collection of the most Remarkable Passages from the Originall to the Dissolution of the Virginia Company,' London, 1651, 4to; it is in the main a defence of Sandys, Ferrar, and Danvers, and has been often quoted by the historians of Virginia. Wodenoth was dead before the publication, and in the preface by 'A. P.' is said to have been 'a true friend and servant to . . .the parliament interest.' He was married, and had a son Ralph.

[Two Lives of Ferrar, ed. Mayor, passim; Herbert's Country Parson, ed. Beeching; Izaak Walton's Lives; Brown's Genesis of the United States; authorities cited.]

A. F. P.