Woods, Albert William (DNB12)

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WOODS, Sir ALBERT WILLIAM (1816–1904), Garter King of arms, born at Hampstead on 16 April 1816, was son of Sir William Woods, Garter King of arms from 1838 till his death in 1842. After private education he was appointed Fitzalan pursuivant of arms extraordinary in 1837, and entered the College of Arms as Portcullis Pursuivant in ordinary, on 3 Aug. 1838. On 28 Oct. 1841 he was appointed Norfolk Herald extraordinary, and was advanced on 9 Nov. following to the office of Lancaster Herald. In that capacity he was attached to the Garter missions for investing the Kings of Denmark (1865) and Belgium (1866) and the Emperor of Austria (1867). On 25 Oct. 1869 he succeeded Sir Charles George Young [q. v.] as Garter Principal King of arms, and was knighted on 11 Nov. in the same year. He retained that office until his death, and filled it with tact and rare courtliness of manner. As Garter he was joint plenipotentiary for investing respectively the Kings of Italy (1878), Spain (1881), and Saxony (1882) with the ensigns of the order of the Garter. He was appointed C.B. (civil division) in 1887, K.C.M.G. (1890), and K.C.B. (civil division) (1897), and was created G.C.V.O. on the occasion of King Edward VII's coronation in 1902. He was also a knight of grace and director-general of ceremonies of the order of St. John of Jerusalem in England. Woods held many other offices connected with various orders of knighthood. Appointed first, in 1841, Usher of the Scarlet Rod and Brunswick Herald, he eventually became registrar and secretary of the order of the Bath, registrar of the order of the Star of India on its establishment in 1861, registrar of the order of the Indian Empire on its foundation in 1878, King of arms of the order of St. Michael and St. George, registrar of the order of Victoria and Albert, and inspector of regimental colours. All these appointments he held at his death. He died at 69 St. George's Road, S.W., on 7 Jan. 1904, and was buried at Norwood cemetery.

Woods became a freemason in 1849, and held for an exceptionally long period high office in the craft. He was advanced to the position of a grand officer and assistant grand director of ceremonies in 1858, and was from 1860 to his death grand director of ceremonies, an office in grand lodge which his father had held before him. He received in 1875 the dignity of past grand warden. On 25 March 1847 he was elected F.S.A.

On 1 Dec. 1838 he married Caroline, eldest daughter of Robert Cole of Rotherfield, Sussex (a lady of grace of the order of St. John of Jerusalem in England), who died at 69 St. George's Road, on 19 Nov. 1911, at the age of ninety-five, and was buried with her husband. Woods had two children, a son and a daughter. The former, William Woods, died in 1869, leaving two children, an only son, Albert William Woods, who was appointed Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of arms in 1886, and died in 1893 without issue, and a surviving daughter, Frances. Sir Albert's only daughter, Caroline Marianne, married on 6 Sept. 1873 the present writer, and the only child of this marriage, Mr. Gerald Woods Wollaston (b. 2 June 1874), maintains the long connection of the family with the College of Arms, being (1912) Bluemantle Pursuivant of arms.

[The Times, 8 Jan. 1904; private information.]

A. N. W.