Reverend B K Woodd

Basil Kilvington WOODD married Esther Harriett HOLLOND in Paddington, London, in April 1867 and their first child was born a year later. In1868 Basil accepted a curacy in Scarborough and three children were born during his ministry there. In 1873 the family made the short journey down the coast road so that Basil could serve as the Vicar of Filey.

Two WOODD girls were born in the town, Dorothy Eugenia in April 1875 and Edith Isabella in the summer of the following year.


In January 1880 the family of eight was preparing to leave Filey. An account of two events reported in the 17th of January edition of The Scarborough Mercury show what this separation meant to the senior Woodds and the townsfolk.


On Sunday the Rev. B. K. Woodd preached two farewell sermons to his parishioners in the parish church. Towards the conclusion of the morning sermon he said his time in that parish was fast drawing to a close, and he prayed that God’s blessing might remain amongst them. In the evening the church was crowded to overflowing, and at the end of the sermon the vicar said:-My dear parishoners and friends, I beg to call your attention to the close of my ministry here to-night. Such a time cannot be referred to without a certain amount of feeling. I have not sought the new living I am going to, neither have I had any selfish motives in accepting it. If my preaching in this parish has been the means of sowing good seeds I hope they will take root and bear fruit. Many sermons have been preached within these grand old walls, that have stood for 700 years. God grant that many have been blessed by them. I go forward with this consolation, that I have tried to do my duty, and trust that you will follow me with your prayers to carry out my mission of love for which Jesus died. I trust that God’s blessing may rest with you, brightening your paths, and filling you with His heavenly love and grace until this life is over.

A few days later…


A meeting was held in the School-room, on Friday evening, chiefly composed of the Sunday-school children, their parents and friends. The Rev. B. K. Woodd, the late vicar, said when he came to Filey six years ago there was no Sunday-school, but he was glad to say that so far his efforts, assisted by his wife, who had gone all over the parish seeking up the children, had been crowned with success, and he hoped that the good work they had begun would be carried forward by his successor, and that all children would attend school as usual. He thanked the many friends who had so ably assisted in the school, for if it had not been for their kind assistance his efforts would have been to no avail. Recitations, scripture passages, songs, &c., were then given by the children in capital style. Mrs. Woodd then distributed prizes to the children, according to merit, for attendance, behaviour, and intelligence. The Benediction was then pronounced by Mr. Woodd, whereupon Mr. R. Cammish ascended the platform accompanied by Mr. Harrison, and uncovered a beautiful encased clock with elaborate ornaments and also a silver ink-stand, which he said had been subscribed for by the parishioners of Filey, as a token of their esteem for the vicar and his wife. Mr. Harrison then made the presentation, remarking that during the six years Mr. Woodd had officiated at Filey he had made most praiseworthy progress in the arrangements at the church and all local matters that he had to do with. Mr. Woodd responded, saying that they had acknowledged their humble services far more than they deserved. He and his family would ever remember the kindness they had been shown to them during their short stay among them, and would value their handsome gifts as long as they lived…

A journey of about 70 miles due west took the WOODDs to Harrogate and Reverend Basil’s new living. His time as Vicar of Bilton was short. He buried his firstborn, Agnes Esther, in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist in June 1882. She was 14 years old. Two years later, ill-health forced his early retirement and the family made a longer journey, about 280 miles, to St Leonard’s on Sea, Sussex. In the summer of 1885, nine years after the birth of Edith Isabella in Filey, a sister, Gertrude Frances, made her appearance. I hope she was a great joy to her ailing father. He died aged just 43 before her first birthday.


The Filey-born WOODD girls had very different life experiences. The elder, Dorothy Eugenia, married in 1900, had three children and died aged 84 in 1959. Edith Isabella remained single and died, aged just 30, in February 1907.

Six months later, Gertrude Frances married Thomas Walter BREEDS.

Photographer: H. Walter Barnett, Knightsbridge, n.d.

This portrait, undated, was possibly made in her late teens. She was 22 when she married, 23 when she gave birth to her first child – and 25 when she died. Michael FRASER-ALLEN, who kindly gave me permission to share the photograph, is Gertrude’s grandson and he has put his family on Wiki Tree. I suggest you look first at the portrait of Reverend Basil and navigate to the pedigree from there.

There is a similarly extensive pedigree of the WOODDs on the FamilySearch Tree.

Note: I have taken the liberty of adjusting the tones of Gertrude’s portrait so that the image is closer in appearance to the original. Henry Walter BARNETT is, by the way, “arguably Australia’s first world-class portrait photographer”. The first subject in the collection of his photographs held by the National Portrait Gallery is Mark TWAIN. The photographer isn’t represented on FST but, not surprisingly, the writer is there – with 7th-century Y-line forebears.

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