My early search for the origins of Orphan George applied markers derived from Joseph Besse’s authoritative A Collection of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers, for the Testimony of a Good Conscience, covering the years 1650-1689 and published in London, 1753, and later from microfilm abstracts from Quarterly Meetings in the relevant period. From that, it was clear that Hodgson Quakers were indeed centered in the north country of England. In the period 1650-1725, many Hodgsons were recorded in the Meetings of Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland – the center of the early Quaker movement, an area approximately seventy miles square.
Besse records one John Hodgson who was seized in 1660, 1664, and 1671 in public witness of his Quaker faith. The 1660 arrest occurred in West Riding, Yorkshire, where he was one of 229 Friends “imprisoned on oaths” – that is, for refusing to swear an oath of loyalty. In 1664, he was seized for worship at Thomas Taylor’s in Sedbergh and committed to York Castle, “50 miles from own dwelling.” From York that radius might also place his residence at the time in Darlington, Durham County, or Settle, in the West Riding of Yorkshire; from Sedbergh, however, the span could also place his home in Lamplugh, Cumberland.
Although other John Hodgsons are recorded in Besse’s minutes, no direct connection appears obvious, unless the family was moving frequently.
Sabron Reynolds Newton has provided much of the following material regarding John Hodgson from her visit to Friends House Library in London and other research.
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