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Philip Woodfield (1758-1815)


Philip Henry Woodfield was baptised on 5 March 1758 at St. Mary Magdalene, Woolwich, the son of Henry and Jane Woodfield.  Henry Woodfield was a bricklayer at Deptford dockyard and his father, John Woodfield, worked at Deptford for 50 years.  Henry Woodfield married Jane Cook at St. Alphege, Greenwich, on 4 December 1756. 


Philip Woodfield joined Discovery for Cook’s Third Voyage on 6 May 1776.  Throughout the voyage Woodfield alternated between carpenter’s mate and carpenter’s crew and also spent a month in Resolution during May 1779.1


On 24 April 1777, en route for Tonga and near Niue (Savage Island) Woodfield broke his leg.  William Griffin recorded in his journal, “Philip Woodfield carpenter’s mate whilst in the execution of his duty on deck fell down and broke his leg”. While James Burney recorded, “He fell under the tiller”.2  It was the only time Woodfield was mentioned in the journals of the voyage. 


After the voyage Woodfield married Mary Prescott in 1781 at St. George, Hanover Square, London.  They had at least three children, all baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch. His sister, Jane Woodfield, married Richard Irvin on 13 October 1782 at St, Nicholas, Deptford.  Irvin had been part of the carpenter’s crew in Resolution during the Third Voyage.


John Robson



  1. Cook’s Log, page 44, vol. 27, no. 2 (2004). 
  2. Cook’s Log, page 1950, vol. 25, no. 2 (2002).


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 21, volume 36, number 2 (2013).

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