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Wood, Robert (1622?-1685) (DNB00)

WOOD or WOODS, ROBERT (1622?–1685), mathematician, born at Pepperharrow, near Godalming in Surrey, in 1621 or 1622, was the son of Robert Wood (d. 1661), rector of Pepperharrow. He was educated at Eton College, and matriculated from New Inn Hall on 3 July 1640. Obtaining one of the Eton postmasterships at Herton in 1642, he graduated B, A, from that college on 18 March 1646-7, proceeded M.A. on 14 July 1649, and was elected a fellow of Lincoln College by order of the parliamentary commissioners, on 19 Sept. 1650, in the place of Thankfull Owen [q. v.], appointed president of St, John's College. After studying physic for six years he was licensed to practise by convocation on 10 April 1656. He went to Ireland and became a retainer of Henry Cromwell, who despatched him to Scotland to ascertain the state of affairs there. On his return to England he became one of the first fellows of the college founded by Oliver Cromwell at Durham on 15 May 1657. He was a prominent supporter of the Commonwealth, and a frequenter of the Rota Club formed by James Harrington (1611-1677) [q. v.] On the Restoration he was deprived of his fellowship at Lincoln College and returned to Ireland, where he made great professions of loyalty, graduated M.D., and became chancellor of the diocese of Meath. He purchased an estate in Ireland, which, he afterwards sold in order to buy one at Sherwill in Essex. On his return to England he became mathematical master at Christ's Hospital, but after some years he resigned the post and paid a third visit to Ireland, where he was made a commissioner of the revenue, and finally accountant-general. This office he retained until his death, at Dublin, on 9 April 1685. He was buried in St. Michael's Church. He married Miss Adams, by whom he had three daughters Catherine, Martha, and Frances.

Wood, who was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 6 April 1681, was the author of 'A New Al-moon-ac for Ever; or a Rectified Account of Time,' London, 1680, 8vo; and of another tract, entitled 'The Times Mended; or a Rectified Account of Time by a New Luni-Solar Year; the true way to Number our Days,' London, 1681, fol. In these treatises, which were dedicated to the order of the Garter, and sometimes accompanied by a single folio sheet entitled 'Novus Annus Luni-solaris,' he proposed to rectify the year so that the first day of the month should always be within a day of the change of the moon, while by a system of compensations the length of the year should be kept within a week of the period of rotation round the sun. Wood translated the greater part of William Oughtred's 'Clavis Mathematica' into English (Clavis Mathematica, 1652, pref.) He published two papers in the 'Philosophical Transactions' in 1681.

[Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of the University, ed. Gutch, ii. 688; Wood's Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 167-8; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 90, 121, 193; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 15001714; Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surrey, 1809, ii. 88, in. App. p. cxix; Morant's Hist of Essex, 1768, ii. 66; Register of the Visitors of the University of Oxford (Camden Soc.), pp. 176, 508.]

E. I. C.