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The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname HODGES

The Saxon Chronicle, compiled by monks in the 10th century, now reposes in the British Museum. It is a history of the Saxon settlement in England

History researchers have examined reproductions of such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book (1086), the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records. They found the first record of the name Hodges in Northumberland where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Throughout the centuries your name, Hodges, occurred in many records, manuscripts and documents but not always with your exact spelling. From time to time the surname was spelt Hodge, Hodges, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church officials, frequently spelt the names phonetically. As a result the same person would be recorded differently on birth, baptismal, marriage and death certificates.

The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of which was the surname Hodges. The Saxons, invited into England by the ancient Britons of the 4th century, were a fair skinned people their home was the Rhine valley. They were led by two brothers, General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa. The Saxons settled in the county of Kent, in southern England. During the next four hundred years they forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west, and Cumberland to the north. The Angles occupied the eastern coast, the south folk in the Suffolk, north folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last of which was Harold.

In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory at the Battle of Hastings. In 1070, Duke William took an army of 40,000 norht and wasted the northern counties, forcing many rebellious Norman nobles and Saxons to flee over the border into Scotland. The Saxons who remained in teh south were not treated well under hostile Norman rule, and many also moved northward.

Nevertheless, this notable English family name, Hodges, emerged as an influential name in the county of Northumberland where they were recorded as a family of great of antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. They were recorded as Lords of the manor and estate in Northumberland in 1120. They moved northward and settled in Peebleshire in Scotland where Richard Hodge held estates in the year 1267. The family acquired additional lands near Glasgow and Thomas Hodge was a merchant in that city in 1625. Meanwhile in England other branches flourished int he North Riding of Yorkshire and John Hodge settled in Norfolk. Notable amongst the family at this time was Hodge of Northumberland.

During the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries England was ravaged by plagues, famine, and religious conflict. Protestantism, the newly found political fervour of Cromwellianism and democratic government, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers. The chagning rule caused burnings, hangings and banishments of all sects and creeds. Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were rewarded with grants of lands, others were banished.

The families who migrated to Ireland became known as the Adventurers for land in Ireland. Protestant settlers "undertook" to keep their faith, being granted lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish. There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered migration to that country.

The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily. Some left Ireland disillusioned with promises unfulfilled, but many left directly from their home territories. Some also moved to the European continent.

Members of the family name Hodges sailed aboard the huge armada of three masted sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector, the Dove and the Rambler, were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination.

Amongst the first settlers in North America, which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Hodges, or a variable spelling of that name was John Hodge settled in Barbados in 1695; John Hodge settled in Maine in 1623; another John Hodge settled in New Jersey in 1685; Benjamin Hodges settled in Maryland in 1633; Elizabeth Hodges settled in Virginia in 1623; Joe HOdges settled in Virginia in 1635; John Hodges settled in Virginia in 1623; Richard Hodges settled in Georgia in 1732 with his wife Mary and three children.

From the port entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Contemporary notables of this surname, Hodges, include many distinguished contributors, Alexander Hodge, Royal Writer; Sir Julian Hodge; Sir John Hodge; Air Chief Marshall Sir Lewis Hodges; Captain Michael Hodges.

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