Bio: John Hodson
John Hodson was born in England about the year 1608. Family records suggest that he was the son of William Hodson of Alresford in the county of Hampshire. This idea gains support from:
Hod(g)son, John, s. William, of Alresford, Hants, pleb. Wadham Coll., matric . 5 Dec . 1623, aged 12.
[source] Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 . . Volume 2; Joseph Foster, 1891.
According to Boyd's Marriage Index for London, John Hodson was married to Abigail Madden in 1635, at St Michael's Cornhill, in London.
No clear record has been found for John Hodson for the first twenty-five years of his marriage. It may be that he went to Ireland shortly after his marriage, as there are two christening records in Dublin, that might possibly be his children: William Hodson, christened 10 July 1636 and John Hodson, christened 10 November 1639, at St Catherine or St James Church, Dublin, Ireland. The christening record indicates the death of the infant John Hodson on 14 May 1640.
In 1661, John Hodson was appointed the Dean of Clogher. It is a diocese in north-central Ireland, centering around the towns of Clogher and Enniskillen, and covering portions of several counties. It seems possible that John Hodson had been serving churches in the area for some time before receiving the honorary position of Dean.
On the 8th of September 1667, in a service at St Nicholas Church in Galway, John Hodson was consecrated Bishop of Elphin, a diocese of the Church of Ireland. During his almost twenty year tenure as bishop, the diocesan church was St Mary's Cathedral in Elphin. The church was originally built in the 13th century, and has been described as ". . a modest building, no bigger than a small parish church, with a tall square clock tower at its west end." The bishop's residence was nearby. It may also have been modest, as John Hodson left funds in his Will for its rebuilding. Both the church and residence were severely damaged in the 20th century, and were cleaned up, but not rebuilt.
John Hodson has been noted as "a warm benefactor to Elphin and to his see." Francis Burke Hodges, in his 1895 book titled, North Roscommon and the Diocese of Elphin in Times of Old, gives this picture of John Hodson:
The name of Bishop John Hodson, next in the order of succession . . still lives and will live in the diocese as that generous benefactor to whom the church and school of Elphin are so largely indebted for their present position and future prospects. By his will and deed, made in 1685 soon before his death, he bestowed upon Elphin landed property in the county Cavan for ever, directing that one-half of its annual proceeds should be spent in repairing, beautifying, and adorning its cathedral church, and the other half in maintaining a grammar school for the benefit of its inhabitants, and especially for teaching the children of the poor gratuitously. This bequest has proved an inestimable boon to Elphin in two ways: indirectly, by the much-needed aid it now affords the parish in its absolutely disendowed, almost penniless condition; and directly, by keeping up the cathedral in a manner becoming its importance, and especially by securing a most efficient and valuable intermediate school in a district which for miles around could not otherwise pretend to make any provision for such an institution.
Abigail Madden must have been a dedicated wife, producing at least eight children who survived to adulthood - William Hodson, Daniel Hodson, Benjamin Hodson, David Hodson, Mary Hodson, Elizabeth Hodson, Abigail Hodson, and another daughter who became the wife of John Fowke. Most, if not all of these children were probably born in Ireland. They were the forerunners of many Irish Hodsons, Townleys, Fletchers, Maddens, and Fowkes.
Bishop John Hodson died in February of 1685 or 1686. His very extensive Will is of record. A typed transcription is available as a part of the Upton Papers, held by the Irish Royal Academy. Many years ago I was able to locate a copy at the Family History Library in Salt Lake, and I abstracted some of the family information.
We are fortunate that John Hodson's tombstone inscription was recorded. It rested in the nave of St Mary's Church Elphin for many years, before it was removed to the wall of the vestry room. It's location is unknown today.
Depositum JOHANIS HODSON nuper Elphinensis Episcopi qui obyt 18 Febr.r anno Domini 1685; et aetatis suge 77; Hie requiescit in spe beatae resurrectionis. (rough translation - The remains of John Hodson, Bishop of Elphin, died 18 February 1685, at the age of 77, Here rests on the hope of a blessed resurrection)
Do you want to know more?
Link to John Hodson
Will: John Hodson
Biography of John Hodson; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2015.