WOOD, Nicholas (d. 1742), of Exeter, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1710

Family and Education

s. of Nicholas Wood, merchant and member of Cutlers’ Co., of Exeter.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Exeter 1696, alderman by 1705, sheriff 1705–6, mayor 1706–7; jt. receiver-gen. Devon and Exeter 1701–5.2


Wood was one of Exeter’s prosperous merchant-shopkeepers, a cutler by trade who also sold muskets, bayonets, swords and gloves. A Churchman, he was a prominent member of the aldermanic body, and enjoyed the patronage and friendship of Lord Poulet, a sometime lord lieutenant of the county. Poulet described Wood as having ‘an absolute interest in the chamber of Exeter and by his great trade and generous living has a mighty sway in that city’. He had, none the less, fallen foul of Bishop Trelawny of Exeter who had him turned out as receiver and contrived to ‘persecute him in all the vexatious disturbances of his trade by partial directions to the little officers of the customs there who are all his [Trelawny’s] creatures’. In June 1707 Poulet was keen that Wood should stand for the city at the next election, and assured Robert Harley* that his interest was sufficient to enable him ‘to be chosen on his own credit’, and that he could be expected to ‘be entirely at my Lord Treasurer’s [Sidney Godolphin†] devotion’. At the by-election in April 1708 occasioned by the death of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt.*, Wood put up but was marginally defeated by his Whig opponent. At the general election a month later, however, he was returned without challenge, and in an analysis of the new Parliament was duly classed as a Tory. He voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710, but did not stand at the autumn election. He appears to have died in 1742.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxii. 211; Exeter Freemen (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. ex. ser. i), 200.
  • 2. Exeter Freemen, 200; Trans. Devon Assoc. 211; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvi. 294; xix. 459; xxii. 87.
  • 3. R. Newton, Eighteenth Cent. Exeter, 23; HMC Portland, iv. 420–1, 426; Add. 70252, Poulett to Harley, 24 Apr. [1708]; C. Worthy, Devonshire Wills, 209.