A valley full of Woods

Elsewhere on this page  – ‘Heritage and Harvest Beers‘ – l make reference to Swainswick Church and the fact that the Woods – John the father and John the son – lie buried beneath the church floor at St Mary the Virgin on one side of the beautiful Woolley Valley.

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St Mary the Virgin Church at Swainswick

Whilst l gave them credit for some of the city’s most iconic Georgian showpieces like The Circus and Royal Crescent, Stephen Bird MBE, who is Head of Heritage Services for B&NES reminds me of a family connection much closer to their final resting place.

He says:

‘More locally to Swainswick, Wood the Younger was also responsible for All Saints Church at Woolley – across the valley – which dates from 1761.



Equally interesting, in the church yard there is the grave of Admiral Peter Puget after whom the Puget Sound – on which Vancouver sits – is named.’


Thanks for that Stephen. Yes – the church is Grade 1 listed and – from the 1970s to the 1990s – underwent significant restoration funded by local residents and the Friends of Woolley Church.

The following information about Admiral Peter John Puget came from findagrave.com

‘Rear Admiral Peter Puget was an officer in the Royal Navy, best known for his exploration of Puget Sound.

Peter Puget married Hannah Elrington on 6 February 1797. They had seven sons and four daughters.

Their eldest son, Peter Richard Puget, went to America and became an actor. Other sons served in the British Army or Navy, one of whom (William David) retired as a captain. The daughters all married and it is throught one of them, Eleanor Catherine, became the only known descendant of Peter and Hannah Puget.

Hannah Puget never remarried. She died on 14 September 1849, and is buried next to Peter, in the church yard of Woolley, near Bath.


The original sarcophagus is heavily weather-worn, and has been supplemented by a bronze plaque donated by the Seattle Historical Society.’

Peter had moved his family to Bath for health reasons and died at his home in Grosvenor Place on October 31st 1822.


Finally, while you are inside the church, look out for a plaque giving thanks for the safe return of all 13 men from the village who fought in World War I and 15 in World War II – making it one of the country’s “Thankful villages”.

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