Wood, George (1743-1824) (DNB00)

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WOOD, Sir GEORGE (1743–1824), judge, born on 13 Feb. 1743 at Roystone, near Barnsley in Yorkshire, was the son of George Wood (1704–1781), vicar of Roystone, by his wife Jane, daughter of John Matson of Roystone. He was intended for a solicitor, and was articled to an attorney at Cawthorn, named West. At the end of his articles West, impressed by his ability and assiduity, urged him to study for the bar. Entering the Middle Temple, he commenced as a special pleader, and established such a reputation that he obtained many pupils, among whom were Edward Law (afterwards Lord Ellenborough), Thomas Erskine, and Charles Abbott (afterwards Lord Tenterden). Immediately on being called he was engaged by the crown for all the state prosecutions commencing in December 1792. He joined the northern circuit, and on 5 Nov. 1796 he was returned to parliament for Haslemere in Surrey, retaining his seat until 1806. In April 1807 he was appointed a baron of the exchequer and was knighted. As a judge he was extremely painstaking, his apprehension being rather accurate than quick. He was a supporter of prerogative and took so strong a stand against the free criticism of the executive by the press that Brougham threatened to move his impeachment. He resigned his office in February 1823, and died on 7 July 1824 at his house in Bedford Square. He was buried in the Temple church. By his wife Sarah he left no issue.

Wood printed for private circulation ‘Observations on Tithes and Tithe Laws,’ which he afterwards published in 1832 (London, 8vo).

[Foss's Judges of England, 1864, ix. 53–4; Gent. Mag. 1824, ii. 177; Official Returns of Members of Parliament; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees; Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chancellors, 1847, vi. 387, 390, viii. 279; Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, 1857, iii. 100, 101, 270.]

E. I. C.