Hodgson, Ralph

Hodgson, Ralph

Hodgson, Ralph, 1871-1962, English poet. He wrote five volumes of poetry before his collected poems appeared in 1917. After a silence of nearly 40 years—during which time he taught in Japan and emigrated to the United States—he published two more volumes. Hodgson treated his subject matter, nature, lyrically and simply. Some of his poems, e.g., "Eve" and "Time, You Old Gypsy Man," have been highly acclaimed.
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.

Origin and meaning

The surname authority P. H. Reaney (1958, p. 166) states that Hodgson is derived from "son of Hodge" and that Hodge, in turn, is a "pet-form of Roger". This view has been repeated by several others, and Reaney (1967) himself.

But Roger is a Norman French name and by contrast the Hodgsons are most numerous in Cumbria in England, which was settled by the Norse Vikings in the tenth century. Hodgson could thus be derived from the Norse name Oddgeir, as suggested by earlier surname authorities. Alternatively, it could derive from the Norse name Hrodgeir.

One of the earliest Victorian surname studies is by Mark Lower (1842, p. 96) who suggests that Hodgson may come from "son of Roger" but immediately adds "if not from Odo."

In a more extensive discussion of the surname, Robert Ferguson (1858) entertains a number of possibilities concerning its origin. One is to connect it to the Scandinavian first name Odda. Ferguson notes (1858, p. 225) that this name, although frequently appearing before the Norman Conquest, does not appear to be a word in the Anglo-Saxon language. He writes: "Might it not be from Old Norse oddr, a dart or arrow, whence Oddr and Oddi, common Scandinavian names?"

In two editions of his major work on British surnames, Henry Barber (1894, p. 143; 1903, p. 207) presents more than one possible explanation, and notes in particular that Hodgson may derive from the Old Norse Oddgeir-son.

Charles Bardsley (1901, p. 390) takes a similar line, offering multiple explanations including "son of Roger" but also giving due prominence to the possibility of Old Norse origins. For him, the derivation of the Hodgson surname could be from "'the son of Odo' from the nickname Oddy, sometimes Hoddy, whence Odson or Hodson. There can be no doubt that Odo is the parent of many of our Hodsons. In Yorkshire it was for two centuries one of the most popular font-names for boys."

Analysis of the early geographical distribution of the Hodgson surname, as well as recent DNA analysis of a number of Hodgsons, support the theory of Norse origins (Hodgson 1993, 2005)

Hodgson (2005) offers an explanation of the original meanings of Oddgeir and Hrodgeir, as well as biographies of a number of prominent Hodgsons. See also Hodgson (1925).


The Hodson surname is slightly 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.

People with the surname

Hodgson can also be a given name:


  • Barber, Henry (1894) British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning, first edition (London: Elliot Stock).
  • Barber, Henry (1903) British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning, second edition (London: Elliot Stock).
  • Bardsley, Charles W. (1901) A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (London: Henry Frowde).
  • Ferguson, Robert (1858) English Surnames and their Place in the Teutonic Family (London: George Routledge).
  • Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (1993) The Hodgson Surname: Its Norse Origin and Cumbrian Location (Standon, Hertfordshire: Martlet Books).
  • Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2005) Hodgson Saga (Standon, Hertfordshire: Martlet Books).
  • Hodgson, James (1925) 'The Hodgsons of Bascodyke', Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, New Series, 25, pp. 244-49.
  • Lower, Mark A. (1860) A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom (London: John Russell Smith).
  • Reaney, P. H. (1958) A Dictionary of English Surnames, first edition (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).
  • Reaney, P. H. (1967) The Origin of English Surnames (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).

See also

External links

Search another word or see hodgson, ralphon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature