Eric Woods read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, and then worked for a national charity and spent a year teaching history at A-level before taking up a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, to read for the Theology Tripos. Despite at the same time studying for ordination in the Church of England at Westcott House, Cambridge, he managed a First, and Trinity awarded him a Senior Scholarship.
In 1978 Eric was ordained to be an Assistant Curate at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, which Queen Elizabeth I declared to be the “fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England” – though of course she had never visited Sherborne Abbey! There followed a few years as a Chaplain at Bristol University, during which he began a long spell as a part-time Lecturer and Tutor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University. For the latter part of that time Eric was Vicar of Wroughton in Wiltshire. In 1993 he was appointed Vicar of Sherborne, and has served the Abbey and its cluster of smaller churches ever since. He is the senior Non-Residentiary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. He is the only ordained Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset and a Trustee of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust. He became a Trustee of the DAT in 2016.