HODSON, Christopher, of Pidley-cum-Fenton and Alconbury Weston, Hunts.
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Family and Education
While it cannot be stated categorically that the Member who represented Cambridge in 1593 also sat for Mitchell, this is by far the most convincing identification. There are two other candidates. Christopher Hoddesdon or Hodsdon (d.1650) was a London lawyer, a member of Staple Inn in 1614 and perhaps already an attorney in King’s Bench.7 His legal contacts may have helped him to a Cornish seat, though evidence is lacking. Christopher Hodgson or Hodson (d.1616) of Beeston, Yorkshire was an attorney to the Council in the North by 1612.8 A long-standing dispute over legal fees between the Council attorneys and the courtier John Lepton, which came to a head in the 1621 Parliament, might have encouraged Hodgson to seek election in 1614, but he probably lacked the requisite connections with Cornwall.9
The background of the Elizabethan Member for Cambridge is obsure. His family were apparently living near this borough by 1565, when his father obtained a lease of farmland in the area. Hodson was styling himself ‘gent.’ by 1587, and five years later obtained a grant of arms.10 Having married into a prosperous brewing family in Cambridge, he settled in the town, where he became sufficiently prominent to secure both the mayoralty and election to Parliament in 1593.11 Within five years, however, he had left Cambridge, and in 1600 jointly purchased over 700 acres of land at Pidley-cum-Fenton, Huntingdonshire, where he then settled.12 His partner in this deal was Sir Oliver Cromwell* of Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdonshire, who remained his business associate until at least 1614.13
Hodson probably owed his burgess-ship at Mitchell in 1614 to Cromwell, who was second cousin to John Arundell* of Trerice, Cornwall, Mitchell’s principal electoral patron. Significantly, Cromwell was named to the committee on Arundell’s land bill in the fourth session of the 1604 Parliament.14 Hodson’s connections with Cromwell, a gentleman of the king’s privy chamber, may also have helped him to a place on the committee for privileges. His nomination to the bill committee for preventing brewers from becoming j.p.s (31 May) presumably reflected the interests of his wife’s family in Cambridge.15
The remainder of Hodson’s life is as obscure as his origins. Despite achieving local office in Huntingdonshire, and owning enough land there to warrant a subsidy rating of £10, he appears to have moved away from the county shortly after 1614. Over the next few years his name was removed from the local commissions, and in 1621 he sold his property at Fenton. It is not known where he was now living, nor when he died.16
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Lincs. Peds. G-O (Harl. Soc. li), 496.
- 2. J.M. Gray, Biog. Notes on Camb. Mayors, 29, 31; Lincs. Peds. G-O, 497.
- 3. Add. 5813.
- 4. C66/1620; 66/2076.
- 5. C181/1, f. 112v; 181/2, f. 281v.
- 6. SP14/31/1.
- 7. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 36; PROB 11/213, ff. 285v-6; 11/117, f. 133; 11/127, f. 22v.
- 8. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 510, 533; C142/353/81.
- 9. A.F. Upton, Sir Arthur Ingram, 164-6.
- 10. T. Baker, Hist. St. John’s Coll. Camb. i. 393-4, 427-8; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 126.
- 11. Baker, i. 427-8; E179/82/257, 295; Gray, 29.
- 12. E179/83/306; Cal. Hunts. Feet of Fines 1194-1603 ed. G.J. Turner, 219.
- 13. Add. ch. 33157-8, 33167, 39230; C78/179/15.
- 14. Vis. Hunts. ed. H. Ellis (Cam. Soc. xliii), 79-80; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 280; CJ, i. 421b.
- 15. CJ, i. 457a, 503b.
- 16. E179/122/203; VCH Hunts. ii. 186.