to King William the Lion in 1168, he is the first recorded Scot of
the name. He is also mentioned in charters of King Alexander II relating to
Sir Andrew Wood (1st Chief)
around the middle of the 15th century in Largo, Fife, Andrew Wood was the
eldest son of William Wood, merchant, who was almost certainly a
scion of one of the notable Wood families who held lands in Bonnytoun in Angus. They had a long history of owning lands
throughout that district, Kincardineshire and elsewhere. Those areas still
held around the time of James VI are shown in the map 'Scotland of Old', by
Wood, too, was a successful merchant, and owner of the frigate Flower.
He became a master of fighting off Dutch, English and Portuguese
pirates. His fame reached James III, who asked him to captain his ship, the
Yellow Caravel. Sailing out of Leith, Andrew triumphed in many major
skirmishes with privateers and squadrons sent by the English government, was
made Admiral of Scotland and a feudal baron. He built a castle at his barony
of Largo, a tower of which still stands. Sir Andrew Wood died probably in
1515. Enjoying the friendship of successive Stewart monarchs, his
significance to Scottish history, and that of his descendants, is far
greater than some people realise or can be gone into here.
Electric Scotland Note:
I was reading an old book, "The Constable of France; and other Military
Historiettes" by James Grant (1866) when I discovered an account of Sir
Andrew Wood. The pdf was in a terrible condition so I extracted the pages
and tried to clean up the pages and have gathered them together into a new
pdf file which you can read here. Sir Andrew
However we have had a critic
on it which we include here...
It saddens me, therefore,
to tell you that that is one of the narratives that have led to a great
deal of misinformation being published over the past century or so about
the family. Let me give you just a few examples of what I mean.
Very early on,
he concludes that the Admiral came from a family so undistinguished
(nothing wrong with that in itself) that nothing is known about his
forebears. Later on, he picks up references in various places
to charters for properties granted to Andrew Wod, such as Balbegno and
Fettercairn. If he and his like had sniffed around a little more, they
would have considered the possibility that there might just have been
more than one Andrew Wod: they later even go so far as to confuse the
Admiral with his own son and surmise that he must have died in extreme
old age, when we know that he was dead by 1517!! Balbegno, Fettercairn
and Craig were all castle estates far removed from Largo in the counties
of Angus, Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire, and yes, Andrew was a
favourite name of all of those (unknown?) Wood families, some of whom
were also knights. He then compounds the myth about the Admiral laying
seige to Aberdeen in his own claim for the Royal Forest of Stockett and
the castle. Not only is such an action wildly out of character of
everything else we know about the Admiral, but for the king to have made
such a grant to the seaman simply does not make sense. What is more
likely is that James III granted those lands to Sir Andrew Wod of
Overblairton and Belhelvie, merely a few leagues north of Aberdeen, and
the Admiral went in support of his kinsman in opposing the burgesses of
city. (It transpired that the burgesses were legally in the right, and
the claimant was therefore awarded a different grant, presumably to his
satisfaction.) Incidentally, the Wood lands of Belhelvie include
a famous wildlife habitat, the sand dunes that Donald Trump has
notoriously been allowed to bulldoze to build his new golf course.
Among the further
objections that can be levelled at him, the writer speculates that the
home of Elizabeth Lundie, before she married the Admiral prior
to 1487, might have been Balgonie near Glenrothes. However, Balgonie
was not in Lundie hands until her brother, Sir Robert, married the
heiress, Elspeth Sibbald, in 1493. He also asserts that the fourth
laird married Janed Balfour. He actually married Jean Drummond, dtr. of
James Drummond, 1st. Lord Madderty. He did not have a son named James:
he left no male heir. It may have been one of the other Andrew Woods
who wedded Janet Balfour. Much more research is needed.
So you see, the
well-meaning wider publication of these proven inaccuracies that raised
numerous obstacles for modern historians actually does no favours.
Wood (6th Chief)
Secretary of State for Scotland 1705-26 - during the traumatic years that
included the 1707 Act of Union and the 1715 Uprising.
of Largo (7th Chief)
of the Isle of Man 1761-77.
at Gourock, he became Consul of Maryland (which then included Washington),
and later Commissary-General of Accounts for the Caribbean, the
Mediterranean and then of Canada - the most important army position abroad.
He died in 1845. From one of his legacies, Sir Gabriel Wood's Mariners'
Home was founded in Greenock five years after his death and is still serving
the purpose for which it was intended.
1817, he was appointed to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He
is most remembered for developing and introducing the hypodermic syringe in
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an
account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or
Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these
companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All
comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator
has approved your comment.