Wood, Andrew (DNB00)

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WOOD, Sir ANDREW (d. 1515), sea-captain and merchant in Leith, held the lands of Largo in Fife by lease from the crown dated 28 July 1477. On 18 March 1483 these lands were granted to himself and heirs, in consideration of his unpaid and faithful services by land and by sea, especially against the English. In January 1488, when James III was obliged to fly before the rebel lords, Wood received him on board his ship, and carried him across the Forth, a service probably referred to in the confirmation of the grant of Largo on 21 March 1488. He was still in the Forth, in command of two of the king's ships, Flower and Yellow Caravel, at the date of the battle of Sauchie-burn (11 June 1488), and it is suggested that the king was flying to take refuge on board them when he was thrown from his horse, and so fell into the hands of his pursuers. Wood was afterwards summoned before the lords, and is said to have told them they were traitors, whom he hoped to see hanged; but the details are altogether apocryphal. What is certain is that Wood very soon accepted the revolution, and a confirmation of the grant of Largo on 27 July 1488.

Early in 1490 he is said to have captured five English pirates, and later on in the same year to have captured three others under the command of Stephen Bull. Bull is an historic character, and was knighted by Sir Edward Howard in Brittany on 8 June 1512; but nothing is known of the ships which he commanded in 1490 except that they were neither king's ships nor in the king's service. For merchant ships to be guilty of piracy and to be captured by some of those they offended was an ordinary incident of fifteenth-century navigation. The details of Wood's service as related by Pitscottie and embroidered by Pinkerton are for the most part imaginary; but that some such service was actually rendered appears from the confirmation of Largo, with considerable additions, to Wood, his wife Elizabeth Lundy, and his heirs, on 11 March and 18 May 1491. The grant of 18 May was made not only as a confirmation of former grants, but also in consideration of Wood's services and losses, and of the fact that at great expense he had employed his English prisoners to build defensive works at Largo so as better to resist the pirates who invaded the kingdom. In these grants Wood is styled armiger; in a further grant (18 Feb. 1495) he is miles; we may therefore assume that between these dates he was knighted.

He seems to have been frequently in attendance on the king, and to have combined the public and private functions of overseer of public works and vendor of stores for the public service. In 1497 he superintended the building of Dunbar Castle; he is said later to have superintended the building of the Great Michael, and to have been her principal captain, with Robert Barton as her skipper. The only recorded service of this ship is when she went to France in 1513, and then she was commanded by the Earl of Arran as admiral of Scotland. Robert Barton commanded the Lion in the same fleet. The story—which appears to belong to this time—that Wood was sent out to supersede Arran, but could not find the fleet (Burton, iii. 71), which was actually on the coast of Brittany, is more than doubtful. That Wood was a man of good service, the tried servant and trusted adviser of the king, is proved by the grants already quoted and many incidental notices in the official papers; but the exploits by which he is now chiefly known rest solely on the narrative of Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie [q. v.], whose statements can seldom be accepted without corroboration. Later writers than Pitscottie have added to his story till it has been exaggerated out of all possibility, so that the desire to condemn the whole as fiction has necessarily followed. As already shown, this is unjust. The story has a certain basis of fact. Wood died in the summer or autumn of 1515—between Whitsuntide and Martinmas. By his wife, Elizabeth Lundy of that ilk, he left issue. His eldest son, Andrew, has been sometimes confused with his father, with the result that Sir Andrew has been represented as living to an extreme old age. His second son, John Wood (d. 1570) [q. v.], is separately noticed.

[Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. i. (see Index); Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, 1424–1513 (see Index); J. Hill Burton's Hist. of Scotland (cab. edit.), iii. 35–7, 67, 69–71, where the stories from Pitscottie are quoted at length; Southey's Lives of the British Admirals, ii. 162–3. See also Hume Brown's Hist. of Scotland, i. 299 n., and Spont's War with France, 1512–13 (Navy Records Soc.), Index, s.nn. ‘Barton, Robert,’ and ‘Arran, Earl of;’ James Grant's novel, The Yellow Frigate, is founded on the legendary story.]

J. K. L.