HODSON, John (1758-1828), of North Hall, Worthington and Ellerbeck, Lancs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Capt. Wigan vols. 1798.
By the early 1790s Hodson was established as a cotton and linen manufacturer in his native town. He later went into partnership with Richard Cardwell and Edward Kearsley, husbands respectively of his sisters Jane and Nanny. His wife’s brother Thomas Woodcock of Newburgh founded the Wigan Bank in 1792, in partnership with Ralph Thicknesse of Beech Hill, Member for Wigan 1831-4, who was married to Ellen Hodson’s sister Sarah. Hodson acquired property at Worthington and Ellerbeck in the area between Wigan and Chorley and in 1820 added to it the manor of Coppull.3 Lord Balcarres, who lived at Haigh Hall, Wigan, wrote to Lord Spencer, 26 Oct. 1806: ‘Hodson ... has accumulated a fortune of between £100,000 and £200,000. He is a married man but has no issue. His brother, now deceased, was also in the same trade and has left a son.’4 The latter was James Alexander Hodson of Holland Grove (1788-1832), son of James Hodson of Ince, who may have been the man of that name who was three times mayor of Wigan in the 1780s.5
Hodson was friendly with Robert Holt Leigh, a local squire, and in 1800 their allies in Wigan corporation created enough new freemen to overthrow the established aristocratic interests and to return them unopposed two years later. Hodson was undisturbed at the next four general elections, but made no mark in the House, where he apparently kept silent. He is not known to have opposed the Addington ministry and was listed under ‘Pitt’ in September 1804 and again in July 1805, after voting with government in defence of Melville, 8 Apr. Shortly before the general election of 1806 Balcarres pressed Hodson and Leigh to acknowledge the justness of his son’s pretensions to a seat for Wigan on the first natural vacancy, but Hodson declined to commit himself. Balcarres then informed the Home secretary that he believed Hodson was hostile to the ‘Talents’, and went on:
Rumour says that Mr Hodson is tired of ... the attendance required from him in Parliament ... I think that if government were to recommend Mr Hodson to be created a baronet with remainder to the person he shall name, and that your lordship would place this as a card in my hand ... it might possibly affect even the present election or would greatly accelerate the future reorganization of the seat.
Balcarres returned to the subject the following day, claiming to have learned that this suggestion ‘would have weight with some powerful friends of Mr Hodson’, but nothing came of it.6
Hodson was reckoned to be a supporter of the Portland ministry.7 He voted with their successors on the address, 23 Jan., and the Scheldt inquiry, 5 and 30 Mar. 1810, when the Whigs listed him as a supporter of the government of the day. He was in the minority against a remodelling of administration, 21 May 1812. The Liverpool ministry numbered him among their friends, and his few recorded votes after 1812 were with them: on the public revenues bill, 17 June 1816, the education of the poor, 3 June 1818, and Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. He voted against Catholic relief, 24 May 1813, and was granted periods of sick leave in 1816, 1817 and 1819.8
Hodson gave up his seat in 1820 and was replaced by his nephew. He appears to have retired from business soon afterwards. He died 11 Mar. 1828, leaving the Ellerbeck estate to his nephew Richard Cardwell. His personal estate and effects were sworn under £35,000.9
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. All Saints, Wigan par. reg. (Wigan RO D/P24, 1/3, 4).
- 2. Standish par. reg. (Lancs. RO, bp’s trans.); A. E. P. Gray, Woodcock of Cuerden (Canterbury, 1882), 8; Lancs. RO, wills of John and Ellen Hodson (1828).
- 3. VCH Lancs. vi. 211, 225.
- 4. Spencer mss.
- 5. John Hodson’s will; All Saints, Wigan par. reg. (Wigan RO D/P24, 1/5); Lancs. RO, will of James Alexander Hodson (1832). Bean, Parl. Rep. Six Northern Counties and Pink and Beaven, Parl. Rep. Lancs. incorrectly suppose James Alexander Hodson to have been the son of this Member.
- 6. Spencer mss, Balcarres to Spencer, 26, 27 Oct. 1806.
- 7. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1808), 653.
- 8. CJ, lxxi. 98; lxxii. 280; lxxiv. 163.
- 9. Gent. Mag. (1828), i. 284; VCH Lancs. vi. 211; Hodson’s will.