Tag Archives: Religion

This map would have been a huge help

In my search for George Hodgson’s roots in northern England, this 1773 map of the Quaker Meetings in the northern six counties (shires) would have helped greatly.

As I explain in earlier posts here, I believe his ancestry comes down through Pardshaw in Cumbria, shown in the left portion of this map. Once you insert Lamplaugh from other sources, a much different sense of relationships to other locations emerges than you would glean from today’s highway maps or similar images.

In today’s maps, of course, so much more recent development makes the earlier sites often hard to find. Dent, for example, is sometimes suggested for some of the Hodgson genealogy, and finding it here makes connections appear more likely, especially when you can add up the milage between points.

Another big surprise for me is seeing how close Lamplaugh is to Swarthmore, the Fell manor that served as the headquarters of the Quaker movement during George Fox’s lifetime.

As I found in researching my book Quaking Dover, today’s online resources bring some rare documents to our fingertips, not that trips to the archives are eliminated.

Still, I hope knowing of this historic document by James Backhouse will aid others continuing the research at hand.



Church when I was growing up

I remember when the congregation I grew up in moved to its new sanctuary in 1954, but at age six, all that was imparted was a sense of excitement. The adjoining classrooms and social spaces came later. In the interim, we’d have to walk a city block each week between Sunday school and the worship service. Actually, there were two services, but that’s another matter – my family went to the second one.

Still, trying to conceive of this kind of gathering for worship is mindboggling in what’s unfortunately been described as a post-Christian America.

Not only is the sanctuary packed, but look at all those women wearing hats. Does anyone today, female or male, wear a hat – well, except for those baseball caps that have become ubiquitous, even at funerals? May I say, tacky baseball hats? Even those inscribed with Vietnam conflict participation? Instead, everyone looks ever so proper!

Or look at all those ushers! They not only have they committed themselves each week to greeting people and escorting them to seats, but later in each weekly service they had to collect the offering. Think about that. Expecting for cash, however wordlessly.

The photo seems so foreign to me from the America I see today.

And yet, more powerfully, what I feel we need to reconnect to comes way before this.


Beginning with John Hodgson of Murton

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.

Continue reading Beginning with John Hodgson of Murton

Generation two: Robert and Elizabeth Hodgson

Robert Hodgson (before 1581- buried 7 November 1655); he married 27 October 1623 Elizabeth Rogers; to them, known sons John and George.

*    *    *

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.

*    *    *

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.”

Continue reading Generation two: Robert and Elizabeth Hodgson

Generation three: John and Eliner Hodgson

In the case of tracing my Hodgsons, this Lurgan Friends Meeting minute from 1701 provides a crucial link to Murton in Lamplugh:

Robert Hodgson, son of John and Elinor was born in Cumberland, 5th mo 1668, and came to Ireland in 1682 and on the 20th of 9th mo, 1701 took to wife Sarah, daughter of Wm Nicholson and Isable, born in Armagh.

Pardshaw minutes previously cited the husband of Elinor/Eliner as John Hodgson of Murton in Lamplugh, and also report one other known son – George Hodgson, born 8th month 2, 1668. (Those minutes, in their quaint language, read: “1666 – Robert, the son of John Hodgson of Lamplugh with Eliner his wife bare unto him was born the 10 [day] 9 [month]” and “1668 – George, the son of John Hodgson of Lamplugh with Eliner his wife bare to him born the 2 / 8”

When Robert arrives in Lurgan, at age 14, one of the prominent Quakers was George Hodgson, quite likely his uncle.

Continue reading Generation three: John and Eliner Hodgson

Generation four: the Irish Connection

For now, any consideration of Orphan George Hodgson’s roots coming from Cumbria and then Ireland remain conjectural, based largely on Jeremiah Mills’ undated and all-too-brief notes from the early 1800s recounting the Hodgson family’s disastrous passage to the New World from Ireland or northwest England. Even so, this is what I have.

Central to the argument are the surviving records of Lurgan Friends Meeting. Arising from the traveling ministry of William Edmondson in 1654, Lurgan Monthly Meeting in Armagh is the oldest Quaker institution in Ireland.

The Lurgan picture becomes complicated, first, by the badly faded ink on many of the minutes recording Quaker families, second, by gaps in the records themselves, and, third, by the existence of a cluster of Hodgsons as part of the Lurgan Friends community. In addition, the first surviving page of the Lurgan minutes begins in 1675, two decades after the Meeting’s founding.

Nor can all of the gaps in the Lurgan minutes be blamed on faded ink or missing pages. In 1691 the men’s meeting noted “the Booke of record of Certificates of Marriages, Birthes & Burialls belonging to this meeting having for some years past been entrusted to ye care of John Dobb, & he now being absent & not in this nation … ye said Booke hath not been duely kept as formerly.”

But, as Chris Dickinson confirmed in a e-mail, “You are absolutely right that the Hodgsons of Lurgan came from Murton in Lamplugh in Cumberland.”

Continue reading Generation four: the Irish Connection