Woodham, Mrs. (DNB00)

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WOODHAM, Mrs. (1743–1803), singer and actress, previously called Spencer, and generally known on account of the elegance of her dress and person as ‘Buck’ Spencer, was born in 1743, and was a pupil of the celebrated Dr. Arne. She played at Covent Garden Euphrosyne in ‘Comus,’ and was regarded as a rival to Miss Brent, subsequently Mrs. Pinto. She sang at Marylebone Gardens under Dr. Arnold, from whom she received further instruction. This must have been between 1769 and 1773. Thence she proceeded to Ireland, and was for many years a favourite on the Dublin stage. She married a man named Smith, and had by him a daughter, who married ‘Young’ Astley, the son and successor of Philip Astley [q. v.] On his death she married a Mr. Woodham, from whom she was divorced. In her later years she lived entirely with her daughter. On the morning of 2 Feb. 1803 Astley's amphitheatre took fire and was consumed. Mrs. Woodham heard the alarm of fire and came to the door (or the window) where means of escape were awaiting her, but returning for a dress or to secure the receipts of the house for the last two nights, which were in her charge, was suffocated and burnt, a few calcined remains alone being available for interment. Her name, which appears as Woodham in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ is given in the ‘Monthly Mirror’ as Woodman. No reference to her is to be traced under any of her names in theatrical histories.

[Gent. Mag. 1803, ii. 889; Monthly Mirror, xvi. 214–16.]

J. K.