Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wood, William (1745-1808)
WOOD, WILLIAM (1745–1808), botanist and nonconformist minister, son of Benjamin Wood, a member of the Christian Society at Northampton, was born on 29 May 1745 (O.S.) at Collingtree, near Northampton. He was educated under Stephen Addington [q. v.] at Market Harborough, going thence at the age of sixteen to David Jennings's academy in London to be trained for the ministry [see Jennings, David]. After ordination he began his public services at Debenham, Suffolk, on 6 July 1766. The remainder of that year and part of the next he spent near London, but in September he settled at Stamford, Lincolnshire. He removed thence to Ipswich in November 1770, where he remained till the close of 1772. On 30 May 1773 he succeeded Joseph Priestley [q. v.] at the Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds, an appointment which he retained till his death.
In 1785 he began a series of lectures for the young, which, delivered once a fortnight, lasted for several years. These embraced a wide range of subjects; but he had paid much attention to natural history, especially botany, and became a fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1791. He contributed the botanical articles to Abraham Rees's ‘Cyclopædia’ from B to C, and articles to James Sowerby's ‘English Botany’ (Nos. 57–775), as well as to the second edition of William Withering's ‘Botanical Arrangement of the Vegetables in Great Britain,’ while he furnished some articles on natural history to the ‘Annual Review,’ and a short account of Leeds to Aikin's ‘History of Manchester.’ He died at Leeds on 1 April 1808. He married, in 1780, Louisa Ann, second daughter of George Oates of Low Hall, near Leeds, by whom he had four children.
In addition to some published sermons he was author of:
- ‘An Abridgment of Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns’ (written with B. Carpenter), [1780?], 8vo.
- ‘A brief Enquiry concerning the Dignity of the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper,’ Leeds, 1790, 8vo.
- ‘Forms of Prayer’ (for his congregation at Leeds), Leeds, 1801, 12mo.
[Memoirs by C. Wellbeloved, 1809 (with a silhouette); Rees's Cyclopædia, vol. xxxviii.; Gent. Mag. 1808, i. 372, ii. 945; Brit. Mus. Cat.]