Ellen Wood - A Chronology

Compiled by Michael Flowers ©2001-2006

                                                               Worchester Cathedral

                                                                                    Worcester Cathedral

1814

17 January. Ellen Price born. The young Ellen lives with her grandparents.

1821

April. Death of William Price, Ellen's grandfather. She is returned to the parental home.

1823

Family business begins to loose wealth because of changes in import laws.

1826

The eldest of Ellen's five brothers begins his attendance at King's School in Worcester.* The other four also attend until the last leaves in 1838. The exploits of these schoolboys provides the background for the portrayal of boys in The Channings, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles, William Allair, Lady Grace and some of the Johnny Ludlow stories.

1829

February. Death of Mary Price, Ellen's grandmother.


                                                 Whittington

                                         Whittington Church - Ellen Price became Mrs Henry Wood here in 1836.

1836

17 March. Ellen Price marries Henry Wood at Whittington Church near Worcester.** The couple live in France for about 20 years and here Ellen gives birth to at least 3 boys (Henry, Arthur Edward & Charles William) and 2 girls (Ellen and Ellen Mary). The first Ellen died from scarlet fever at a very young age.

1851

Earliest traced story published in New Monthly Magazine. 'Seven Years in the Wedded Life of a Roman Catholic' (February). More than 100 monthly contributions follow until the last in 1860. 'Gina Montani' - first known ghost story published. New Monthly Magazine (November/December).

1853

A story 'St. Martin's Eve' is published. Inspiration for much later novel.

1854

Early magazine version of chapters in Mildred Arkell are published.

1855

'War; and the Paris Mesmerists' - Wood's first contribution to Bentley's Miscellany (January). Nearly 50 monthly tales follow until the last in November 1859. Still publishing concurrently in New Monthly Magazine. Some of these will be later adapted and included in St. Martin's Eve.

1856

The Woods return to England, living in rented accommodation at Upper Norwood.

1857

Early versions of The Red Court Farm and Court Netherleigh appear in Bentley's Miscellany, and Adam Grainger and Parkwater in the New Monthly.
July. Death of Thomas Price, Wood's father at the age of 75.

1858

Early versions of The Foggy Night at Offord, and Elster's Folly appear in the New Monthly, and George Canterbury's Will in Bentley's Miscellany.

1860

Danesbury House. Wood's first published novel (March?). East Lynne begins its serialisation in the New Monthly Magazine - January.

1861

Through much of this year Wood is very ill and even considered close to death. In early September, the Wood's address is still May Bank Villa, Gipsy Hill, Upper Norwood. East Lynne published in 3 vols by Bentley in September. East Lynne went through four editions within 6 months.

1862

A Life's Secret serialised anonymously in The Leisure Hour. Rioters besiege the publisher's offices because of its anti-Trade Union stance. In September, the Woods are known to have been living at 14 Warwick Gardens East in Kensington. The Channings only major novel for which Wood parted with the copyright. First Edition of 5,000 copies. Author received 700, but publisher made 1098.
Mrs Halliburton's Troubles.

1863

The Shadow of Ashlydyat. Wood paid 1,000 guineas by Bentleys for the right to publish this novel. First edition of 2,500 copies. Bentleys only made 325 profit on this edition. First edition published 11 November. ***
Verner's Pride.

1864

Oswald Cray. Good Words (Jan - Dec). Charles Wood states his father died during the serialisation of this book, but elsewhere says he died in 1866.
May - Wood took a bazaar stall in St. James's Hall to raise funds for London's French Protestant schools and asked and received autographed donations from Anthony Trollope. Lord Oakburn's Daughters. Trevlyn Hold, or Squire Trevlyn's Heir. William Allair or Running Away to Sea. [A children's book].

1865

Mildred Arkell.

1866

Henry Wood dies. EW leaves Kensington for St. John's Wood.
St. Martin's Eve. Elster's Folly.
Death of Elizabeth Price, Wood's mother (she was over 80).

1867

Lady Adelaide's Oath. Orville College.
A Life's Secret. First 2 vol UK publication by Charles W. Wood.
EW buys Argosy. Own works begin to appear in December.

1868

'Johnny Ludlow' stories begin to appear in Argosy. 10 in first year. The Red Court Farm. Anne Hereford.

1869

Roland Yorke.

1870

Bessy Rane. George Canterbury's Will.

1871

Dene Hollow.

1872

Within the Maze.

1873

Wood suffers a breakdown in health which affects her rate of output. The Master of Greylands.

1874

Johnny Ludlow: First Series.

1875

Told in the Twilight. Wood's first non-'Johnny Ludlow' collection of short stories. Seen as a failure by Bentley. They re-issue some of the tales in Parkwater the following year, but several are never reprinted. Bessy Wells.

1876

Edina. Parkwater & Other Stories. Adam Grainger. Our Children.

1878

Pomeroy Abbey.

1880

Johnny Ludlow: Second Series.

1881

Court Netherleigh.

1883

About Ourselves.

1885

Johnny Ludlow: Third Series.

1887

10 February. Mrs Henry Wood dies of heart failure, buried in Highgate cemetery. Wood's personal estate was valued at 36,393.13s5d. Compare this with Anthony Trollope (1882) who left 25,892.19s3d, and Wilkie Collins (1889) a mere 10,831.11s3d! At about this time Routledge offered the Wood family 40,000 to publish Wood's novels, but Charles Wood turned this down, as Bentley's cheap edition was expected to produce a profit of 80,000.
Charles Wood writes "Mrs. Henry Wood: In Memoriam" for Argosy. Lady Grace & Other Stories.

1888

The Story of Charles Strange.
New uniform edition of Wood's novels issued by Bentley & son at 3s6d.

1889

Featherston's Story. The only 'Johnny Ludlow' tale to be issued separately in UK.
8 March. Death of Wood's eldest son - Henry (Harry) Wood. He left an estate of 285.11s.0d.
Demolition of Danesbury House - The Price family home in Worcester.

1890

The House of Halliwell. Adam Grainger & Other Stories. The Unholy Wish & Other Stories. Johnny Ludlow: Fourth Series. Johnny Ludlow: Fifth Series.

1893

28 May. Death of Arthur Edward Wood, leaving an estate of 7953.17s.3d.

1894

Charles Wood publishes Memorials of Mrs. Henry Wood.

1897

Ashley & Other Stories.

1899

Johnny Ludlow: Sixth Series. The final new book issued by Wood family.

1902

First sixpenny paperback editions of Wood's novels issued by Macmillan.

1914

Public subscription started on the centenary of Wood's birth for a Memorial in Worcester Cathedral.

1916

20th January. Memorial to Mrs Henry Wood unveiled in Worcester Cathedral.

1919

6 January. Death of Charles William Wood, son and manager of Ellen Wood's copyrights. His estate is valued at a staggering 88,407.15s.9d.! The copyrights were inherited by the eldest son of Charles, Henry Mills Wood.

                                                     Highgate

                                        Highgate, London - as it looked when Mrs Henry Wood was buried there in 1887.

My thanks to Richard Dalby for confirming the original periodical publication dates of East Lynne, and especially for locating the value of Wood's estate; and also for obtaining the dates of death for Wood's sons including the values of their estates.

I would also like to thank Jannine Wheatley for kindly supplying her research into Wood's immediate Worcester family.


*   To learn more about the King's School in Worcester please visit their website at
     www.ksw.org.uk.
** To learn more about the church where Wood married please visit their website at
     www.whittingtonchurch.co.uk.
*** Thanks to Victor A. Berch for providing this information.


Sources:
Rolf Burgauer, Mrs. Henry Wood: Personlichkeit und Werk, Zurich: Juris-Verlag, 1950.
Malcolm Elwin, Victorian Wallflowers, London: Johnathan Cape, 1934.
Royal A. Gettman, A Victorian Publisher: A Study of the Bentley Papers, Cambridge, CUP, 1960.
Andrew Maunder (ed.), East Lynne, Ontario: Broadview Literary Texts, 2000.
Norman Page & Kamal Al-Solaylee, (eds.), East Lynne, London: Everyman, 1994.
Michael Sadleir, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Cambridge: CUP, 1951.
R.C. Terry (ed.), Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope, Oxford: OUP, 1999.
Robert Lee Wolff, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, New York: Garland, 1986.
Charles W. Wood, "Mrs. Henry Wood: In Memoriam", Argosy April - June 1887,
                                        pp.251-70, 334-53, 422-442.
Charles W. Wood, Memorials of Mrs. Henry Wood, London: Bentley, 1894.