Around the last years of the reign of Henry VIII, a baby born in the northwestern corner of England was given the name John Hodgson. He was hardly the only one of this name, for Cumbria and Durham to the east were already rife with Hodgsons – a surname that within a century would fill the parish books with more than 20 variant spellings, many of them continuing to the present. But he was the only one destined to work a particular piece of land he would own, a property of less than 50 acres in the township of Lamplugh, a hamlet or farm called Murton.
We cannot be certain when he was christened John Hodgson, for the Lamplugh parish records do not begin until 1582, even though the church there dates from the 12th century.
Situated in the northwest corner of England, Cumbria is a region encompassing the historic shires, or counties, of Cumberland (with Carlisle and Cockermouth its principal cities) and Westmorland. Its parish records from the late 1500s and through the 1600s make one thing quite clear: there was a multitude Hodgsons in Cumbria, including many John Hodgsons. The name itself appears in a number of variants, including Hodgeon, Hodgeshon, Hodgeson, Hodgesoun, Hodggin, Hodgheson, Hodghn, Hodghon, Hodghson, Hodgin, Hodgon, Hodgshon, Hodshon, and Hodson. Even in Lamplugh Parish, the proliferation of Hodgsons proves difficult. Sorting for a locator, such as “of Murton,” narrows the field, but I was at a loss to understand exactly what exactly was involved, much less whether other relative individuals were being excluded as a consequence.
Robert Hodgson (before 1581- buried 7 November 1655); he married 27 October 1623 Elizabeth Rogers; to them, known sons John and George.
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Surviving Cumbria parish records pick up with Robert Hodgson’s family:
Robt Hodgshon married Elsabeth Roger 27 October 1623 (no locator).
Robert Hodgshon of Murton buried 7 November 1655.
Elizabeth Hodgson, wife of Robert of Murton, buried 16 December 1634.
John Hodgshon, son of Robert of Murton, baptised 14 December 1631; crucially, the Pardshaw Quaker records note two sons born to John and Eliner of Lamplugh – Robert, born 9th month 10, 1666, and George Hodgson, born 8th month 2, 1668; as well as the burial 11th month 30, 1675, of John Hodgson of Murton in Lamplugh.
George Hodgson, son of Robert of Murton, baptised 21 August 1634.
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One of the things I noticed with the parish records posted online is a large gap regarding the Hodgsons, making me wonder if many of the family joined with the Independent church of the Puritans or with other sects. In reply, Chris Dickinson noted, “There are some things about Lamplugh in the seventeenth century that you need to know in order to make judgments about the evidence.
“The northern half of Lamplugh and Arlecdon parishes was pretty much under the control of the Lamplughs of Lamplugh Hall (who were Lords of the Manor of Lamplugh & Arlecdon).
“The Lamplugh parish register started in 1581 and was kept in an orderly fashion. It was maintained even during the Civil War and Interregnum, which was unusual. Unfortunately, it wasn’t maintained from 1660 to the mid-1680s, when George Lamplugh (brother of John Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall) was rector. This gap can make tracing some individuals and families difficult.”