Attwood Notables


Attwood Notables

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There have been quite a few people bearing the name Attwood or Atwood who are worthy of note in some way. To qualify for inclusion on my list the individual needs to be both dead (on the basis that if they are still living they can create their own web page!) and simply to have been "noted" in a published reference. Additions are welcome.

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Sergeant Francis Attwood DCM

Sgt Francis Attwood.jpg (10354 bytes)

Born, London 1846

Died, Plymouth 24 February 1884

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for action during the Battle of Rorke's Drift, during the Zulu Wars, 1879.

Thomas Attwood MP

attwood.jpg (13971 bytes)

Born Halesowen, Worcs., 6 October, 1783

Died Malvern, Worcestershire

Banker political reformer and Birmingham's first Member of Parliament. 

  Adobe PDF icon    The Attwood Family by John Robinson (extracts)


Charles Attwood

charlesattwood1.jpg (63892 bytes)

Born on January 25th 1791, at Halesowen, Worcestershire. Died 24th February 1875 Hollywood House, near Wolsingham. Younger brother of Thomas Attwood (above)

In 1844 he set about the production of Iron and Steel products that were to be the foundation of Tow Law. With a combination of luck and his background both in the Iron and Glass trades he developed a major industry here in the West of County Durham.

Follow link to a biography of Charles Attwood - the early history is a little suspect!

see also Charles Attwood

 Adobe PDF icon    The Attwood Family by John Robinson (extracts)

Thomas Attwood (also Atwood)

Born, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London: 23 November 1765

Died, Chelsea, London, 24 March 1838

The son of a coal merchant, who was also a noted player of the trumpet and viola. As a chorister in the Chapel Royal the young Thomas Attwood came under the notice of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) who sent him to study in Italy. Later, in Vienna, he became Mozart's only English pupil. In 1796 he was appointed to organist of St Paul's Cathedral and composer to the Chapel Royal. He was music teacher to several members of the royal family; in 1821 he became organist of George IV's private chapel at Brighton, and in 1825 musician-in-ordinary to the King. He was one of the first Professors of the Royal Academy of Music on its foundation in 1823.

He was a founder member of the Philharmonic Society in 1813, and one of the first Englishmen to recognise the genius of Mendelssohn, whose Three Preludes and Fugues for organ were dedicated to him.

In his early years he composed for the theatre, and did not write church music until fairly late in life. His church music was collected and published in 1853 by his godson Thomas Attwood Walmisley.

In addition to many songs, glees and sonatas, he wrote coronation anthems for George IV and William IV, and at the time of his death was at work on one for Queen Victoria. He is buried under the organ in St Paul's Cathedral. 

for more see  The Mozart Forum

Claire Atwood

Born, 11 May, 1866, Richmond, Surrey, England

Died, 2 August, 1962, Tenterden, Kent, England)

Painter of portraits, still life and interiors, largely in oils.

Harry Nelson Atwood

atwood01.jpg (19440 bytes)


Born 15th November 1883 in Roxbury, Massachusetts died July 14, 1967 in Murphy, North Carolina. Famously in 1911 - Harry N. Atwood landed an airplane on the lawn of the White House to accept an award from U.S. President William Taft.
For biography and some links go to Early Aviators


George Attwood (also Atwood)


Died, July, 1807, Westminster, London, England

Buried, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London, England

 From "The National Dictionary of Biography Vol. 1" Oxford University Press, 1964.

Atwood, George (1746-1807), a distinguished mathematician, was born in 1746, entered Westminster school in 1759, Trinity College Cambridge 1765. BA 1769 ... He died at his house in Westminster in July 1769 aged 61, and is buried at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. Invented Atwood's Machine."

From "Haydn's Dictionary Of Dates", by Benjamin Vincent, Edward Moxon and Co, Dover Street, London, 1868:

"ATTWOOD'S MACHINE, for proving the laws of accelerated motion by the falling of weights, invented by George Attwood; described 1784: he died 11 July, 1807".

Harrison Henry Attwood

1863 - 1954 Representative from Massachusetts; born at the home of his grandmother in North Londonderry, Vt., August 26, 1863; attended the public schools of Boston, Mass.; studied architecture and engaged in that profession in Boston, Mass.; member of the Massachusetts house of representatives 1887-1889; city architect of Boston in 1889 and 1890; member of the Republican State committee 1887-1889; member and secretary of the Boston Republican city committee 1888-1894; delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1888 and 1892; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1895-March 3, 1897); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1896 to the Fifty-fifth Congress; resumed his former profession in Boston; again a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives in 1915, 1917, 1918, 1923, 1924, 1927, and 1928; was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1918 to the Sixty-sixth Congress; resumed his profession as an architect in Boston, Mass.; moved to Wellesley Hills, Mass., in April 1938; died in Boston, Mass., October 22, 1954; interment in Forest Hills Cemetery.

John (Peter) Atwood

Born 1643, Warwickshire, England

died 1712, London, England

Dominican Friar. Sentenced to death for his "Sacerdotal character", reprieved by Charles 11.

Atwood, John [name in religion Peter] (1643-1712), Dominican friar, was born in Warwickshire. His mother's maiden name was Pitts, a name he adopted later as an alias. He was a pupil at St Omer in the Spanish Netherlands, in the Jesuit college founded by Father Robert Persons for the education of English Catholic youths. He entered the Dominican order and was professed at the English Dominican priory at Bornhem, near Antwerp, on 4 February 1664. Having completed his studies in philosophy he went on to Louvain to study theology in 1666. He was ordained priest in May 1669 and returned to Bornhem until 1673. In that year he was working in London, where he remained for most of his active priestly life. On 23 October 1680 he was arrested on the evidence of Thomas Dangerfield, an associate of Titus Oates, and imprisoned on the grounds of involvement in the Popish Plot. Atwood was tried before the king's bench on 8 February 1681 and condemned for his priesthood on the testimony of Dangerfield and Oates. On 10 February he was sentenced to death for treason, a judgment which he received ‘very contentedly’ (Luttrell, 1.67). He was one of eleven English Dominicans cited as conspirators by Oates and his confederates. On 15 February 1681 Atwood was reprieved by Charles II, allegedly as he was about to step onto the hurdle which was to draw him to Tyburn. It is reported that he felt his failure to suffer martyrdom to be a great misfortune. He was once more arrested in 1697 and condemned to death but was released in 1698. He acted as vicar of the English Dominican provincial from 1697 to 1708. He died in London on 12 August 1712 and was buried in the churchyard of St Giles-in-the-Fields, London, next to Father Albert Anderson, who had also been accused and tried for association with the Popish Plot in 1681.

Allan White


C. F. R. Palmer, Obituary notices of the friary preachers, or Dominicans, of the English province, from … 1650 (1884), 9 · W. Gumbley, Obituary notices of the English Dominicans from 1555 to 1952 (1955), 50–51 · Dominicana, Catholic RS, 25 (1925), 108, 110, 129, 138, 146, 174 [incl. ‘Letters of Philip, Cardinal Howard’, and ‘English Dominican books and papers’] · N. Luttrell, A brief historical relation of state affairs from September 1678 to April 1714, 1 (1857), 57, 67 · J. W. Willis-Bund, A selection of cases from the state trials, 2 vols. (1879–82), 2.1156 · R. Challoner, Memoirs of missionary priests, ed. J. H. Pollen, rev. edn (1924), 583

Thomas Atwood

Born, ?

Died 1793, in The King's Bench Prison, in reduced circumstances.

Chief Justice of the Island of Dominica.

William Atwood

Born in England

Died 1705

Political Writer and Chief Justice of New York.

Charles B. Atwood

Born, 18 May 1849, Charlestown, Mass.

Died 19 December 1895, Chicago

 American Architect. Designer in Chief, 1891-93, Chicago World's Fair.

Isaac Morgan Atwood

 Born, 24 march 1838, Pembroke, NY

Died, 26 October 1917, Washington

 American Universalist Clergyman, Editor and Teacher.

Wallace Walter Atwood

Born, 1 October 1872, Chicago

Died, 24 July 1949

 American geologist and geographer.

Julius Walter Atwood

 Born, 27 June 1857. Salisbury, Vt.

Died, 10 April 1945, Washington DC.

 American Episcopal Clergyman. A friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Peter Attwood, S.J

18th Century, Maryland

18th century Jesuit. Studied at the English Jesuit College at Liège. Wrote ten school treatises, ca. 1710, on scientific, mathematical, and theological subjects, and the draft of an essay entitled "Liberty and Property" dating from about 1717-1720.

William Atwood


Mayor of Worcester in 1719 (Nash's Worcestershire)

 Adobe PDF icon  Attwood "The Crusader" 

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 c14th Century, Wolverly, Worcestershire, England


"There is an ancient legend of Wolverley which has been transmitted for centuries. For a long time the Lord of this Manor was a Norman 'De Bois', in Latin 'de Bosco', and in English 'Attwood' from whom were descended the Attwood's of Trimpley and Wolverley, whose name is preserved in the name Park Attwood." For more see "The Legend of the Swan"

"He was taken by the Saracens and kept so long in a dungeon that his lady at home, supposing him to be dead, was about to marry again, when the Knight, having made a vow to the Virgin to present a large portion of his lands to the Church of Worcester, was supernaturally liberated from his cell, whisked through the air, and deposited near his old home, now called Park Attwood, when, of course, he lost no time in forbidding the banns. The prisoner’s fetters are still preserved in the Court, as also the sculptured figure of the warrior which formerly lay in the old Church" From "Rambles in Worcestershire", by Noakes:

Frederick Lyndon Attwood MRCS died 10 April 1879 1865, Resident medical officer Royal Free Hospital, London. House surgeon Lock Hospital, London. Surgeon of National Aid Society in Servo-Turkish (sic) war 1876, carried on hospital at Belgrade chiefly at his own expense from 1 Dec 1876 to about 1 April 1877; surgeon with Turkish ambulance service in Russo-Turkish war 1877, when he was captured by the Russian cavalry; resided at Carlton Chambers, 8 Regent Street London died 10 April 1879. (from Modern English Biography, Netherton and Worth, Truro, 1908)
Mathias Wolverley Attwood born 1807 or 1808 died Dulwich Hill, Near London 17th September 1865 (Only son of Mathias Attwood 1780-1851, MP for Whitehaven 1832-47) a merchant in London. Partner in Bank of Spooner, Attwoods and Co., 27 Gracechurch Street, London, November 1851-1863, when the business of the firm was taken over by Messrs Barclay, Bevan, Tritton and Co. Contested Greenwich 10 January 1835, MP for Greenwich 27 July 1837 to 23 June 1842; contested City of London 28 June 1841, Kinsale 9 July 1841 and Sunderland 17 September 1841; chairman of Steam Navigation Co. died at his residence, Dulwich Hill near London 17th Sept. 1865. (from Modern English Biography, Netherton and Worth, Truro, 1908)

  Adobe PDF icon    The Attwood Family by John Robinson (extracts)

Thomas Attwood died Newington Infirmary, London 17 June 1893 Swam 1,000 yards in the Serpentine, Hyde park, London for a gold medal presented by The London Swimming Club against 16 other young men, 7 August 1865, came in third; assisted Beckwith as a teacher of swimming at Lambeth Baths, 156 Westminster Bridge Road, London, for many years. A tank performer and professional swimmer known as the man-fish; he was well known on the continent. Died at Newington Infirmary, London 17 june 1893 (articles in London Illustrated News 12 August 1865, p 147, Era 24 June 1893.  (from Modern English Biography, Netherton and Worth, Truro, 1908)
Robin Hood (an early Attwood?) A'Oode, A'Wood, A'Ud 

[Picture - Pyle: Robin Hood Meeteth the tall Stranger at the Bridge]

When discussing the mythical origins of Robin Hood, Peter J. Neville Havens, in his book "The Forests of England", (Robert Hale and Co, 1976) suggests that:

 "It is also pointed out that in certain West-Midland shires words prefixed by a "w" often lose it in pronunciation. Woden - the old Norse god - would thus have been pronounced in those parts as 'oden' or 'ooden' ... if we stay with the West-Midland pronunciation it would be well to remember that 'wood' is pronounced as 'ood' even to this day. Robin Hood could thus be simply 'Robin of the wood' via Robin a 'ood to Robin Hood." (Robin or Robert atte Wood).

He does point out however that speculation could be endless, but it is an interesting suggestion nonetheless. 

Thomas Attwode,   15th-16th Century Prior of Studley Priory  1493-1520 From: 'Houses of Austin canons: Priory of Studley', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 94-7.

On 8 November, 1513, Prior Itchington resigned his office. In consequence of some irregularity Bishop Silvester de Gigliis committed the administration and custody of the house, on 4 February, 1514, to Thomas Atwode, prior of Studley, for the term of six months. From: 'Houses of Austin canons: St Sepulchre, Warwick', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 97-9.  from British History Online

William de Boys, (AtteWode) 14th Century Abbot of Evesham 1345-1367  Abbey from: 'Houses of Benedictine monks: Abbey of Evesham', A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 2 (1971), pp. 112-27.
Sir William AtteWode c1300 – c. 1346 Captain of the King's Guard at the Palace of Westminster under King Edward III of England.

This is taken from "" its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

He was probably born sometime before 1300 in Coulsdon, Surrey, England. He was the son of Peter Atte Wode and Alice, who owned both Hooley House and Wood Place in Surrey. Sir William married a woman named Juliana, and they had at least three children: Geoffrey Atte Wode, Richard Atte Wode, and William Atte Wode.

While we do not know when he was knighted, it was at least by 1341, because by that time he is referred to as Sir William and is Captain of the King's Guard at the Palace of Westminster, the King's royal residence in London; members of parliament also met at Westminster Palace at this time. As a Sergeant at Arms, Sir William was part of the royal body guard that was composed of about thirty men at that time. It is not known what events occurred to bring William to King Edward III's attention for this position, but he must have had some connection through either friendship or family relations to the royal family.

An interesting anecdote about Sir William's life is recorded in John Heneage Jesse's Memorials of London (1341):

"In the 14th year of the reign of Edward III, John Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury, with a great number of London bishops, clergy, soldiers, came to the gate of Westminster Palace and demanded admittance to the chamber where Parliament was assembled. He was forbidden to enter in the King's name by Sir William Atwood, Captain of the King's Guard. TheArchbishop was stopped because the followers were not members. The Archbishop was a member, but the King commended Sir William."

The Atte Wode lineage can be traced back to about 1204 when Peter de Wyckhurst (an older form of the name Atte Wode) purchased 'Hooley House' from the Bertan Marten, the Abbot of Chertsey Abbey. Over the next hundred years, the family added to its land holdings in Surrey and his father, Peter Atte Wode, purchased the 220 acre estate known as 'Wood Place' in 1279. The Atte Wode's emerged as one of the new influential class of yeomen who were becoming substantial land owners in England. In 1318 Sir William and Juliana added to the family's fortune by purchasing another estate known as 'Beckenham' in Kent.

Two of Sir William's sons, Geoffrey and Richard, also became Sergeants at Arms to the King. Richard is mentioned in the London Letter Books for his role in moving the fleet being assembled at London down the Thames to invade France during the 1346 campaign in the Hundred Years' War.

E. F. Atwood asserts that Sir William and both of his sons accompanied the army on their invasion of France, however, his source for this information is not given. It does seem likely, however, given their positions as body guards to King Edward. Based on subsequent land transactions in England, it appears possible that both Sir William and his son Geoffrey were killed in the French campaign in 1346, (possibly at the Battle of Crecy), however, this is not certain.

Sir William's grandson, Peter Atte Wode, continued to expand both the family’s land holdings and its influence by being appointed a Justice in Eyre; Peter's association with William of Wykeham who became the Bishop of Winchester and the Chancellor of England undoubtedly also helped to increase the family's influence.

The Atte Wode family name underwent a number of changes through the centuries with numerous variations in spelling: in the earliest records they are known as de Wyckhurst, by about 1300 they were commonly known as Atte Wode, a name that evolved into the modern version, Atwood, and finally, some (though not all) family members adopted the surname Wood in the 1500's.


Atwood, Elijah Francis, Ye Atte Wode Annals, Sisseton, SD: Atwood publishing Co., June 1928

Jesse, John Heneage, Literary and Historical Memorials of London, London: R. Bentley, 1847, 2 vols.

Malden, H. E. (Editor), The Victoria History of the County of Surrey, Victoria County History: 1912, 4 vols. (View online at 

Manning, Owen & Bray, William, The history and antiquities of the county of Surrey; compiled from the best and most authentic historians, valuable records, and manuscripts in the public offices and libraries, and in private hands. With a fac simile copy of Domesday, engraved on thirteen plates. By the late Rev. Owen Manning ... Continued to the present time by William Bray, London: Printed for J. White, by J. Nichols and son, 1804-14

Sharpe, Reginald (Editor), Calendar of letter-books of the city of London: 1337-1352, London: Center for Metropolitan History, 1904

Peter Atte Wode c. 1325 - bef 1382 A Justice in Eyre for England south of the Trent from 1360-1367.

This is taken from "" its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

He was probably born in Coulsdon in Surrey (now Greater London) according to Manning and Bray's History of Surrey. The precise date of his birth is not known, but it is presumed to have been sometime before 1325. His father was Geoffrey Atte Wode (Abt 1297-1346), a Sergeant at Arms to Edward III and his mother was Anisia. Peter and his wife, Laurencia, had at least one son who was also named Peter Atte Wode (Bef 1363-aft 1384) who was a Knight of the Shire and married Petronilla.

On 15 Mar 1351 Peter Atte Wode and John De Roulegh along with seven others were appointed as "keepers" to the "joint commission for the peace and for labourers" in Surrey. This commission was formed in several counties in England to provide an enforcement enforcement for new laws that had been enacted to regulate labor and provide for peace after the Black Death decimated the population in 1348-49. On 15 Sep 1351 de Roulegh and Peter Atte Wode were removed from their positions on the commission as a result of complaints of impropriety by fellow commissioners. They were both tried and Peter Atte Wode was found to be innocent of the charges. De Rouglegh, however, was found guilty of extorting money from laborers, sent to prison and fined heavily.

Peter became associated with William of Wykeham (1320-1404). His association with Wykeham undoubtedly enhanced his stature and helped increase his wealth. Jean Froissart (1337-1405), the famed chronicler of medieval England and France, says in his Chronicles (1395):

"At this time reigned a priest called William of Wykeham. This William of Wykeham was so much in favor with the King of England, that everything was done by him, and nothing was done without him." 
Peter was jointly appointed a Justice in Eyre south of the Trent along with Wykeham on 13 Jul 1361, a position he held until about 1367. The Eyre Court was created to hear cases involving forest law in the Royal Forests of England. Wykeham eventually became the Bishop of Winchester, and was also the Chancellor of England under both Edward III and Richard II.

William of Wykeham was appointed the King's Commissioner in charge of rebuilding Windsor Castle and Clerk of all the King's Works in his Manors of Henley-on-Thames (Oxfordshire) and Easthampstead (Berkshire). E. F. Atwood has found a reference in the Rotulorum to Peter acquiring a commission to rebuild a portion of Windsor Castle during this period (there is no indication which Rotulorum records were used by Atwood during his research).

The Atte Wode's had been in the employ of King Edward III since at least 1341. By 1346 three members of the Atte Wode family were serving in his royal bodyguard as Sergeants-at-Arms, including his father Geoffrey Atte Wode, his grand father Sir William Atte Wode (who had been knighted by the king), and his uncle Richard Atte Wode. Jesse's Memorials of London describes his grandfather's service to Edward III as Captain of the Guard, and The London Letter Books describe Richard's role in moving the invasion fleet down the Thames in 1345 during the Hundred Years' War with France. Based on Peter's land transactions after the successful campaign in 1346, the Atte Wode's seem to have acquired a considerable amount of wealth during this time. E. F. Atwood speculates that this family's treasure was gained as a result of the English success during the war. Froissart makes this observation in his Chronicles:

After the battle of Caen "...the Englishmen were lords of the town three days and won great riches, the which they sent by barks and barges to Saint-Saviour by the river of Austrehem, two leagues thence, whereas all their navy lay."

In 1346 Peter Atte Wode and his wife Laurencia recorded the first of many land transactions in Sanderstead in Surrey (now Greater London) and surrounding counties. This would begin a long association with the Atwood family in Sanderstead. While he owned land in several locations (including Woodmansterne acquired in 1360 and Chipstead Manor acquired in 1364), it seems likely that Peter lived at Wood Place in Coulsdon, the ancestral home; in 1350, he was licensed by the Bishop to maintain an oratory (a private chapel) at Wood Place.

The precise date of his death is not known, but on 20 Dec 1382 Laurencia, now a widow, founded a chantry at Newark Priory (which was dissolved in 1538) and endowed a mass for the soul of Peter Atte Wode.

Peter amassed a sizeable estate during his lifetime as the scattered records demonstrate, and he stands an example of the emerging new class of wealthy land owners in England who were not members of the aristocracy but grew wealthy through their association with the royal family. His ancestors would continue to acquire land, particularly in Surrey, construct the large manor house known as Sanderstead Court which is depicted in Neal’s Views, continue serve the royal family in a variety of positions, and also become elected as Knights of the Shire.

Atwood, Elijah Francis, Ye Atte Wode Annals, Sisseton, SD: Atwood publishing Co., June 1928 
Froissart, Jean, The Chronicles of Froissart, translated by Lord Berners, NY: P. F. Collier & Son, Harvard Classics, 1904-14 
Jesse, John Heneage, Literary and Historical Memorials of London, London: R. Bentley, 1847, 2 vols. 
Malden, H. E. (Editor), The Victoria History of the County of Surrey, Victoria County History: 1912, 4 vols. 
Manning, Owen & Bray, William, The history and antiquities of the county of Surrey; compiled from the best and most authentic historians, valuable records, and manuscripts in the public offices and libraries, and in private hands. With a fac simile copy of Domesday, engraved on thirteen plates. By the late Rev. Owen Manning ... Continued to the present time by William Bray, London: Printed for J. White, by J. Nichols and son, 1804-14 
Neal, John Preston, Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, London, W. H. Reid, 1818-1823, 6 vols. 
Putnam, Bertha Haven, The Enforcement of the Statute of Labourers, During the First Decade After the Black Death, 1349-1359, New York: Columbia University, 1908, 480 p. 
Sharpe, Reginald (Editor), Calendar of letter-books of the city of London: 1337-1352, London: Center for Metropolitan History, 1904 
Turner, G. J., "The Justices of the Forest South of Trent," The English Historical Review, vol. 18: pp. 112–116, 1903]] 
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