(1716–93), English landscape designer, surveyor, and architect who from the 1750s designed parks and pleasure grounds for several English estates, with particular concentrations in Yorkshire (in his early career) and Essex (at the end of his career). Woods was a Catholic and worked on the grounds of such Catholics as the Arundells of Wardour Castle (Wiltshire), the Giffards at Chillington (Staffordshire), Edward Weld of Lulworth (Dorset), and Lord Petre at Thorndon Hall (Essex). He practised in a generally Brownian fashion but had a particular fondness for more intimate flowery walks, and almost all his commissions included the laying out of pleasure grounds. One of Woods's most attractive designs was for the Elysium at Audley End (1780) in which Placido Columbani (b. c.1744) also had a hand. Here was a flowery pleasure ground with winding walks and a cascade whose layout, if not the original detailed planting, survives. Of his architecture very little survives—there are the ruins of a Gothic temple at Wardour, and a bridge and a windowless pinery at Cannon Hall (Yorkshire). Fiona Cowell remarks that he was especially skilful in laying out grounds of modest size and quotes J. C. Loudon's opinion of Cusworth (Yorkshire)—‘the grounds are everything that could be desired in a moderate space’.
From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.