Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Woods Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Woods hails from the country of England. This surname of Woods is believed to be a patronymic surname, with the suffix “s” denoting the meaning of “son of.” This surname is believed to be a topographical surname, which means that the original bearers of the surname lived on or near a distinguishable landmark within their city or town. In the case of topographical surnames, they can be used to describe someone who lived in a wood. It is also possible that the surname of Woods also hails from an occupation, meaning to describe the son of a wood cutter, or a forester. An occupational surname was given to the original bearer, meaning that he actually carried out this job. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary surnames. They only became hereditary if the son followed in his father’s footsteps for a career; then the surname became hereditary and was used by the children and spouse of the son. In the case of the surname of Woods, it is believed to have hailed from the Old English, Pre 7th Century word of “wudu” which can be translated to mean “wood.”
More common variations are: Wood, Woode, Atwood, Bywood, Attwood, Wode, Woodes, Woodus, Woodis, Wooods, Woodas, Woodys, Woodss, Woodsa, Woodso, Woodse, Wodeson, Woodison, Woodson, Woodeson,
The surname of Woods was first recorded as being spells Wode, and was recorded in the country of England. One person who was named as Walter de la Wode was mentioned and named in the Book of Fees for the county of Herefordshire in the year of 1242. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of King Henry III of England, who was commonly known as and referred to throughout the ages as one “Henry of Winchester.” King Henry III ruled from the year 1216 to the year 1272. Other mentions of the surname of Woods in the country of England included one John de Wode, who was recorded as living in the county of Yorkshire in the year of 1274, one John Atewode who was recorded as living in the county of Essex in the year of 1274, one Elias in le Wode who hailed from Cambridgeshire in the year of 1279, and one William Bythewode who came from Sussex in the year of 1296. Because this surname of Wood is so common within the country of England, there are many early recordings of this surname, especially within the church records of this country. Those who bear the surname of Woods in the country of England can be found in large concentrations in the areas of Lancashire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the areas in and around the city of London.
The country of Scotland has a high population of people who bear the surname of Woods. Many people who bear this surname of Woods can be found within the southwestern region of Scotland, and in the counties of Lanarkshire and Dumfries-shire.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Woods: United States 189, 865; England 31,018; Australia 16,886; Canada 12,597; Liberia 6,197; South Africa 5,242; Nigeria 4,738; Ireland 3,925; Scotland 3,144; New Zealand 2,883
Philip Wells Woods (1931-2015) who was a jazz bebop and alto saxophonist from America, who aslo was a clarinetist, bandleader and composer, and who is most notably recognized for his rendition of the Billy Joel song “Just the Way You Are”
Sylvia Woods (1926-2012) who was a restaurateur from America who is known for co-founding the landmark restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem which is located on Lenox Avenue, New York City
Don Woods (1927-2012) who was a meteorologist and cartoonist from America
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born in 1975) who is a professional golfer from America, who, as of now, with all of his lifetime achievements into consideration is considered as one of the most successful golfers of all time
James Woods (born in 1947) who is an actor from America
Christopher “Chris” Charles Eric Woods (born in 1959) who was a former football player from England
Margaret Louisa Woods (1856-1945) who was a writer from England
Sir Albert William Woods GVCO, KCB, KCMG, KGstJ, FSA (1816-1904) who was an officer of arms from England
Charles Arthur Woods (1929-2015) who was a rugby union player from New Zealand, was a player for Southland from the year 1951 to the year 1956, and who played for the New Zealand National Team from the year 1953 to the year 1954
Woods Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Woods blazon are the savage, lion, martlet and trefoil. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, or and gules .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms . As well as the nobility themselves, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savagesand the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban .
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.