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Early Hodgsons in England

The first record of a Hodgson is of John Hodgson who was bailiff in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1276 and served as mayor in 1278, 1280 and 1281. His son Richard was bailiff of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1281 and 1288. There is no trace of their descendants for nearly a century and a half, but it is believed that the Hodgsons of Hebburn (near Jarrow in County Durham) are descended from this source.

A Henry Hoggesone appears in the 1325 Court Rolls of Thomas Earl of Lancaster in West Derby, near Liverpool. Adam Odesone appears in the 1342 ‘Feet of Fines for the County of York’, for Swillington, Garforth and Great Preston, near Leeds. A Richard Hogeson is recorded as holding land in Liverpool in 1346.

A William Hoggeson appears in the 1381 poll tax returns for North Meols in Lancashire. The 1379 Poll Tax Returns for the West Riding of Yorkshire give the following variants of the Hodgson surname (with number of families in brackets): Hodgeson (1), Hodson (3), Hogeson (8), Hoggeson (3), Hogheson (2), Hoghson (1), Odeson (1), Odson (1). It appears that at this time the leading ‘H-’ was becoming prominent, with older forms such as Odeson and Odson beginning to die out.

After 1400

By the fifteenth century the standard spelling of ‘Hodgson’ became more common, but it was not universal. A John Hogeson became Rector of Bolton by Bowland in Yorkshire in 1404. A William Hodgson is listed in 1409 as a freeman of Newcastle upon Tyne. A John Hodggeson was mentioned several times in the Bradford Manor Court Rolls in Yorkshire from 1411 to 1422. The marriage of a John Hodysson, aged 58, is recorded in Northumberland in 1417. A Thomas Hodgson was born in Collierley, in the Parish of Lanchester, County Durham, in 1424. The Hodgsons of Stella and Acton in Northumberland have traced their pedigree back to 1424. Thomas Hogeson the armourer and John Hogeson the smith are recorded as freemen of the City of York in 1440. Title deeds mention a Henry Hodgson in Forton, near Garstang in Lancashire in 1449. A Thomas Hodgson was born in Bradford in 1465. Records show a Sir William Hodgson in Marton in Craven in Yorkshire in 1476. An Alexander Hoggeson is listed as a freeman of the City of York in 1494.

Subsequently, Hodgson and its variant spellings become more numerous in the records, appearing in northern towns and cities such as Preston, Bradford, Newcastle and York.

The Hodgsons of Hebburn

The first documentary evidence of a family carrying the coat of arms above was the Hodgsons of Hebburn. Their known pedigree dates back to the fifteenth century (Surtees 1820). They are believed to be descended from the John Hodgson who was bailiff in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1276 (Burke 1938, vol. 4, p. 310). After the Reformation this family remained resolutely Catholic.

The Hodgsons of Hebburn reached the underlay of the nobility when Sir Robert Hodgson married Anne Ingelby, a grand-daughter of Charles, Sixth Earl of Westmorland in the early seventeenth century. Shown at the top of this page is a photograph of their coat of arms on a monument in Hebburn. (Note the Hodgson arms to the left of the shield, quartered with the Ingelby star and the Neville diagonal cross.). The couple left no male hier.


1379 Poll Tax Returns for the West Riding of Yorkshire


Bardsley, Charles W. (1901) A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (London: Henry Frowde).

Burke, John (1838) Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 4 (London).

Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds) (1914) The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Lancashire, Vol. 8 (London: Constable).

Lower, Mark A. (1860) A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom (London: John Russell Smith).

Surtees, Robert (1820) History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, volume 2 (London: Nichols).

Surtees Society (1897) Register of the Freemen of the City of York, From the City Records, Vol. 1, 1272-1558, Surtees Society Publications Vol. 96 (Durham: Andrews).

Whitaker, Thomas D. (1805) The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, in the County of York (London: Nichols).