Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


Dr Thomas-Wood lived in Bures until his death in 1950.
He was a great benefactor presenting the village with many items for community use.

He was a well known composer and known world wide as "THE MAN WHO ARRANGED THE MUSIC TO AUSSIES 'NATIONAL ANTHEM'' - Waltzing Matilda which he wrote during 1941.

A small part of his life history is reproduced below

Dr Thomas Wood

Thomas Wood was born in Chorley Lancashire in 1892, the son of a mariner.
He moved to live in Parsonage Hall along the Colne Road, Bures in 1924.

In 1920 he became a Doctor of Music at Oxford then in 1947 became chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Chairman of the Arts Council's Music Panel in 1949 and then a member of the BBC's Music Advisory Committee.

press cutting
May 1951
He died of coronary thrombosis on Sun 19th November 1950, aged 58 at his home.

A funeral service was held at St Mary`s Church, Bures and then he was taken to Ipswich for cremation. The service and burial date was possibly Thurs 30th November.
His ashes were later spread at Parsonage Hall.
His estate was worth £118,868 at probate.
Osyth paid approx £57,500 death duty when Thomas died.

He was married to St Osyth Mahala Eustace-Smith OBE on 2 July 1924 in the lovely old church in Wormingford overlooking the Stour valley.

He wrote the music to two hymns one dedicated to his wife and the other to the Village School (see below)

parsonage hall

Parsonage Hall dates back to the 13th century where records indicate Monks owned land in Bures Hamlet including the Hall, which enabled them to administer their lands.

Parsonage Hall 1940/1950

parsonage Hall

Parsonage Hall circa 2000


Local Village Notes:-

Dr Wood had a keen interest in the village and bequeathed many gifts, some of them still in use today.
Mrs Phyllis Frost was the housekeeper at Parsonage Hall during the mid 1920 to the 1930`s
(acknowledgment to Janet Brunswick, daughter)

Dr Wood with his Daschund (dog) which he named "Hitler"
signed book
Later Mrs Dorothy Eaves took over as Housekeeper.
Dr Wood presented her with this 1947 signed copy of his book "Cobbers"
>>>>> see right

Acknowledgment to Mrs Jean Howe for the image























Dr Wood was noted for his poor eyesight by the local residents, but few cannot have known the full facts. He was born with congenital cataracts in both eyes. In plain terms his right eye was blind except that he could see flashes of colours and tell light from dark. His left eye with powerful lens gave him about one-tenth normal vision.
In the late 1800`s doctors could offer him no treatment whatsoever.

During the war he was the Commanding Officer of the Home Guard. His eye sight was so poor he used to get his adjutant to read the Standing Orders and letters.
Dr and Mrs.Wood presented the village with an up-to-date fire engine and appliances in order to protect the village during WW11.

Together with Col Probert, Mr and Mrs Wood were instrumental in purchasing land known as Vicarage Field for the community, during the mid 1940`s. Together with the existing Nayland Road Recreation Ground this would make a combined sports field of some 5.5 acres.
The purchase of the land was still on the agenda of the Parish Council during 1945, so it must have been sometime after that date.
The portion of land known as Vicarage Field is now the site of the Bures Cricket Pitch.
During the 1953 Coronation Celebrations the Sports Field was then known as the "St Osyth Playing Fields". (see St Osyth Wood page)

During the late 1940`s Dr Thomas Wood donated a sum of money to the village for the erection of a new hall, to replace the dilapidated Victory Hall.
Unfortunately he died in 1950, before the project got under way, but his wife kindly carried on with the legacy.
Mrs Wood opened the Village Hall in 1961, a plaque commemorating this event still stands inside the main entrance doors.

During 1949, Thomas and St Osyth opened the Wormingford Village Hall.

Alfred Hume was his chauffeur, gardener and general handyman. Alfred did not live at the Hall but travelled to work each day from the village. When Thomas dies Mrs Wood asked Alfred if you would move into Parsonage Hall as she couldn't manage this large house on her own. Unfortunately Alfred has long since passed away, but he leaves two surviving sons one living at Sutton Coldfield and the other at Gt Cornard.

Mrs Phyliss Frost and Alfred Hume by the horse.

Arthur Bitten who previously worked at the Maltings, commenced working for Dr Wood on 19th July 1947. He was only assurred of work until Christmas of 1947 then the situation would be reviewed.
However, this date passed and he was still employed at least until July 1954 according to his diaries.
Arthur wrote in his diary for the 19th Nov 1950:- Gov died at 10.00am, Cremated on the 23rd

Thomas Wood, (front) talking to farm workers

He excelled organising local events such as the 1944 Carol Concert in the Victory Hall, where he invited the Americans from the Wormingford Air Base which attended with great enthusiasm. Residents can still recall the sound of "Silent Night" echoing down Nayland Road.
He also organised the Carols Concerts each year at the Victory Hall.

The initial Bures Scouts Group existed from 1910 to 1925, then from 1923 to 1925.
The person responsible for re-starting the Scout Group after WW2 had ended was Dr Thomas Wood.
He attended the Sudbury & District Association in 1950 and after a meeting with the Vicar decided to start a Scout Group in the village. The Scout Troop actually re-started in 1953 by the Reverend Cyril Sharp and the Wolf Cub Pack in 1952 by Mrs Mary Hynard

He was the president of the Bures British Legion and a member of the Parish Council for many years, always taking a great interest in the appearance of the village
He was a generous subscriber to any useful local scheme, such as presenting a new flag of St. George to St Mary`s church.

The National Portrait Gallery in London has a large photographic display of Dr Wood taken circa 1935.

There appears to be no family connection with other "Wood" composers such as "Henry Wood" who was famous for having been the conductor of the Promenade Concert now called the BBC Proms.

Conveyance records seem to indicate when St Osyth`s father,Thomas Eustace Smith died in 1936 the Woods inherited some of his property namely:- a piece of land with three cottages (formerly five tenements) thereon, known as the Old Workhouse, situate next to the Queen's [Head] Inn in Bures Road, Wormingford, in occupations of [blank] Cook, Farnham Smith and Mrs. Tilley.
Coincidentally, the Workhouse was closed one year later in 1937


Hymns associated with St Osyth

`O Son of Man, our hero strong and tender` text written by Sir Frank Fletcher (c. 1924).
Included in the "Book of Common Praise"
Music by Thomas Wood with the tune name "St Osyth"

`This Is the Day When Light Was First Created` text written by Frederik Herman Kaan (c.1929)
Included in the "The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada"
Music by Thomas Wood with the tune name "St Osyth School"


Other hymns which appears also has the tune St Osyth associated with it include:-

Father, we come, with youth and vigor pressing,
gladly to serve, our loyalty to own;

Words: Edith Clayton, 1922
Music by Thomas Wood with the tune name "St Osyth"
Ref:- http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/f/f120.html

O Son of God, our Captain of salvation,
thyself by suffering schooled to human grief,

Words John Elleton
Music by Thomas Wood with the tune name "St Osyth"
Ref:- http://hymnal.oremus.org/hwiki/index.php/O_Son_of_God%2C_our_Captain_of_Salvation


The composer Bernard Barrell wrote:
....................................................The masterly ‘St. Osyth’ appeared in 1925 - its beautifully planned climax is thrown away for the want of a slight adjustment to avoid faulty accentuation in A.F. Bayly’s dignified verses (no. 78 in 100 HFT) - Parry’s beautiful ‘Intercessor’ would fit perfectly, but ‘St. Osyth’ must rank among the finest unison tunes ever.


Updated 03/02/2017