Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wood, Mark

WOOD, Sir MARK (1747–1829), bart., colonel Bengal engineers, born in 1747, was the eldest son of Alexander Wood of Perth, descended from the family of the Woods of Largo [see Wood, Sir Andrew], to the estates of which Alexander succeeded on the death of his cousin, John Wood, sometime governor of the Isle of Man. Mark became a cadet of the East India Company's army in 1770, and went to India with his brother George (afterwards a major-general of the Indian army and K.C.B.), who died in 1824. Another brother was Sir James Athol Wood [q. v.] He received his first commission on 7 July 1772 in the Bengal engineers, and rose to be colonel 26 Feb. 1795. After a distinguished career in India, culminating in his appointment as surveyor-general in 1787 and chief engineer of Bengal in 1790, he returned to England on account of ill-health in 1793, and purchased the estate of Piercefield on the banks of the Wye. Wood entered the House of Commons for Milborne Port, Somerset, in 1794; he was returned for Newark in 1796, after a severe contest with Sir William Paxton. In 1795 he was brought into the king's service as a colonel, and in an audience he had that year with George III to present a model in ivory of Fort William, Calcutta, the king expressed to him a desire for the union of the East India Company and the royal services. In 1802 he was unsuccessful in a contest with Robert Hurst for the representation of Shaftesbury, and was in consequence returned for his pocket borough of Gatton, Surrey, the domain of which (Gatton Park) he had recently purchased. He was created a baronet on 3 Oct. 1808. He continued to represent Gatton until the dissolution in 1818, when he retired from public life, having given a uniform support to the measures of Pitt and subsequently of Lord Liverpool. He died on 6 Feb. 1829 at his house in Pall Mall, London. He was buried on 13 Feb. in Gatton church, where there is a tablet to his memory.

Wood married at Calcutta, on 17 May 1786, Rachel (d. 1802), daughter of Robert Dashwood, and by her had two sons—Alexander (d. 1805), cornet 11th dragoons; and Mark, who succeeded him and was also member of parliament for Gatton; he married, in 1833, Elizabeth Rachel, daughter of William Newton, but died in 1837, when the title became extinct. The estates passed to George, eldest son of Sir Mark's second brother, Sir George Wood.

Wood was the author of: 1. ‘A Review of the Origin, Progress, and Results of the late War with Tippoo Sultaun,’ 1800, 4to. 2. ‘The Importance of Malta considered in the Years 1796 and 1798, with Remarks during a Journey from England to India through Egypt in 1779,’ with maps, London, 1803, 4to. 3. ‘Remarks during a Journey to the East Indies by way of Holland and Germany to Venice, and from thence by Alexandria … to Fort St. George undertaken by Captain M. Wood … Reprinted by … Mr. Montagu’ (privately printed, Lichfield, 1875, 4to). There are in the king's library at the British Museum three different surveys by Wood of Calcutta and the country on the banks of the Hugli River to its mouth, between the dates 1780 and 1785.

[India Office Records; Royal Military Calendar, 1820; Conolly Papers; Gent. Mag. 1829; Ann. Reg. 1829; Burke's Landed Gentry; Brayley's Hist. of Surrey.]

R. H. V.