Ellen Wood - A Chronology

Compiled by Michael Flowers ©2001-2006

                                                               Worchester Cathedral

                                                                                    Worcester Cathedral


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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).


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


Early magazine version of chapters in Mildred Arkell are published.


'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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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].


Mildred Arkell.


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).


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.


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


Roland Yorke.


Bessy Rane. George Canterbury's Will.


Dene Hollow.


Within the Maze.


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


Johnny Ludlow: First Series.


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.


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


Pomeroy Abbey.


Johnny Ludlow: Second Series.


Court Netherleigh.


About Ourselves.


Johnny Ludlow: Third Series.


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.


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


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.


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


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


Charles Wood publishes Memorials of Mrs. Henry Wood.


Ashley & Other Stories.


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


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


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


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


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, 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
** To learn more about the church where Wood married please visit their website at
*** Thanks to Victor A. Berch for providing this information.

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.