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Hodgson is a surname. In Britain, the Hodgson surname was the 173rd most common (766 per million) in 1881 and the 206th most common (650 per million) in 1998.[1] In the United States of America, Hodgson was the 3753rd most popular surname (30 per million) in the 1990 census.[2]

Origin and meaning[edit]

Hodgson is a patronymic surname, meaning "son of Hodge", with Hodge being a Middle English personal name usually representing a pet-form of the name Roger.[3][4]


The Hodson surname is less common and generally derives from Hodgson. Other probable variants of Hodgson include Hodgeson, Hodgshon, Hodshon, Hodgin, Hodgins, Hodgen, Hodgens, Hodghson, Hodgon and Hodgeon. In the North of England the "s" is often silent in the pronunciation of Hodgson. This accounts for variants such as Hodgin, Hodgen, Hodgon and Hodgeon.

Coat of arms[edit]

The Hodgsons of Hebburn, a mine-owning Catholic family living in the North East of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Surtees 1820, vol. 2, pp. 77, 319, James 1974, Hodgson 2008), bore a heraldic coat of arms, blazoned as "per chevron, embattled or and azure, three martlets counterchanged". This same coat of arms is associated with several other Hodgson families, including the Hodgsons of West Keal in Lincolnshire, the Hodgsons of Bascodyke in Cumberland (Hodgson 1925), the Hodshons of Amsterdam, and with Thomas Hodgson (1738–1817) a Liverpool merchant and slave trader, and the owner of a mill in Caton, Lancashire (Hodgson 2008).

Border Reivers and Hodgson clans[edit]

For centuries before James VI's assentation to the throne of England (Union of the Crowns), the remote Anglo-Scottish borderland region had been the lair of unruly clans and gangs of robbers that were largely beyond the reach of the law. A peculiar form of clan organisation grew up in this area. This was the land of the Border Reivers. These clans had a legal system distinct from that of the majority of England and Scotland (Robb 2018). The suppression of this legal system led to a generalised breakdown of Reiver society (Robb 2018). They would steal goods, cattle and women from across the nominal border.

Some Hodgsons in Cumberland were themselves a clan organisation (Fraser 1971). The border clans were eventually subjection by state authorities. Many were forced or obliged to emigrate to North America in the 18th century (Fischer 1989). Many Hodgsons emigrated in this period.

People with the surname[edit]

Fictional characters

Hodgson can also be a given name:


  1. ^ "The British Surnames Website | British Surnames, Surname Distribution and Surname Profiles". Britishsurnames.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  2. ^ "Hodgson Genealogy and Family Tree Resources – Surname Finder". Genealogytoday.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  3. ^ Reaney, p. 166
  4. ^ Hanks, p. 1304


Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, New Series, 25, pp. 244–49.

  • Hanks, Patrick, Richard Coates and Peter McClure, eds. (2016) The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, volume 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
  • Reaney, P. H. (1958) A Dictionary of English Surnames, first edition (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).
  • Robb, G. (2018). The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England (London: Picador)
  • Surtees, Robert (1820) History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, volume 2 (London: Nichols).