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Woodd, Basil (DNB00)


WOODD, BASIL (1760–1831), hymn-writer, born at Richmond in Surrey on 5 Aug. 1760, was the only son of Basil Woodd (1730–1760) of that town, by his wife Hannah (d. 12 Nov. 1784), daughter of William Price of Richmond. He was educated by Thomas Clarke, rector of Chesham Bois in Buckinghamshire, and matriculated from Trinity College, Oxford, on 7 May 1778, graduating B.A. in February 1782 and M.A. in 1785. On 16 March 1783 he was ordained deacon, and in 1784 priest. On 10 Aug. 1784 he was chosen lecturer of St. Peter's, Cornhill, a post which he retained until 1808. In February 1785 he was appointed morning preacher at Bentinck Chapel, Marylebone, and soon after entering on his duties established evening preaching, an innovation which at first provoked opposition and afterwards imitation. Bentinck being a proprietary chapel, he purchased the lease in 1793. On 5 April 1808 he was instituted rector of Drayton Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire.

Woodd exerted himself successfully in establishing schools. Under his superintendence at least three thousand children passed through the schools connected with Bentinck Chapel. He was an active member of many religious societies, including the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Church Missionary Society, and the British and Foreign Bible Society. He died at Paddington Green, near London, on 12 April 1831. He was twice married: first, on 8 Feb. 1785, to Ann (d. 23 April 1791), daughter of Colonel Wood (d. 1775); and, secondly, on 3 July 1792, to Sophia Sarah (d. 15 Aug. 1829), daughter of William Jupp of Wandsworth, an architect. By his first wife he had a son, Basil Owen (d. 1811), and two daughters—Anne Louisa (d. 1824), married to John Mortlock; and Anna Sophia (d. 1817), married to Thomas Cahusac—and by his second wife two sons and a daughter.

Woodd was the author of many publications, among which may be mentioned:

  1. ‘Memoirs of Mrs. Hannah Woodd’ [his mother], London, 1793, 8vo; republished in 1815 in George Jerment's edition of Thomas Gibbons's ‘Memoirs of Eminently Pious Women.’
  2. ‘The Duties of the Married State,’ London, 1807, 12mo.
  3. ‘A New Metrical Version of the Psalms of David, with an Appendice of Select Psalms and Hymns,’ London, 1821, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1822.

A few of Woodd's hymns are still in common use, the best known being ‘Hail, Thou Source of every Blessing.’

[Henry Woodd's Records of the Family of Woodd, 1886; Christian Observer, 1831, pp. 249–55, 298–314; A Family Record or Memoirs of Basil Woodd, 1834; Gent. Mag. 1831, i. 472; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Burke's Landed Gentry; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Foster's Index Eccles.; Biogr. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees; Julian's Dict. of Hymnology, 1892.]

E. I. C.