HODGSON, Frederick (?1795-1854), of 15 James's Place, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



8 Mar. 1824 - 1830
1831 - 1832
1837 - 1847

Family and Education

b. ?1795, 2nd s. of Mark Hodgson, brewer, of Bromley-by-Bow, Mdx. and w. Mary. m. 31 July 1831, Amelia Catherine, da. of John Erskine, s.p. suc. fa. 1810; bro. George Hodgson 1816. d. 30 Mar. 1854.

Offices Held


Hodgson’s grandfather, George Hodgson, founded the family brewery at Bow in 1752 and by the early nineteenth century, under his father’s management, it had established a dominant position in the export trade to India. ‘Hodgson’s India Ale’ became ‘a generic name’, although a rival professed to dislike its ‘thick and muddy appearance’ and ‘rank bitter flavour’.1 On Mark Hodgson’s death in 1810 trustees were appointed to run the company on behalf of his sons George and Frederick, the residuary legatees of his estate, until they came of age; his personalty was sworn under £90,000.2 However, George’s early death in 1816 left Frederick as sole heir to the brewery, and directories of 1817 list him as the head of the company.3 The Burton brewers, Allsopp and Bass, moved into the Indian market during the 1820s, gradually undermining Hodgson’s supremacy, but his company still accounted for nearly one-third of the strong ale exported to Bengal in 1832-3. He was ‘known as "brown stout" from his size and dark complexion’, as well as from the fame of his brewery.4 In 1838 he formed a partnership with Edward Abbot, who had taken control of the brewery by 1845. For some years, until 1838, he and one Thomas Drane were partners in a London mercantile firm in Leadenhall Street.

Hodgson was abroad when a sudden vacancy occurred for the venal borough of Barnstaple in March 1824, but he was returned at the head of the poll thanks to the exertions of his friends.5 He presented a Barnstaple brewers’ petition against the beer duties bill, 21 May, and voted against the measure, 24 May 1824.6 He divided with Lord Liverpool’s ministry against the motion condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He voted for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., and against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr., 9 May 1825. He divided in the minority to relax the corn laws, 18 Apr. 1826. At the general election that summer he was returned for Barnstaple at the head of the poll, declaring himself to be a ‘Tory’, though ‘strictly independent, inasmuch as fortune ... rendered the pecuniary assistance of the ministry to him unnecessary’.7 He divided against Catholic claims, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He voted against increased protection for barley, 12 Mar. 1827. He informed The Times that he had not voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828, ‘being confined at home by indisposition’.8 In February 1829 Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would side ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, and he voted accordingly, 6, 30 Mar. On 16 Feb. he introduced the Stratford-le-Bow vestry bill, to increase the number of vestrymen, regulate the appointment of parish officers and provide better poor relief; it passed but was defeated in the Lords. He introduced a revised bill, 26 Mar., which gained royal assent, 13 Apr. He presented a London and Westminster butchers’ petition against the Smithfield market bill, 2 Apr. 1829. He divided against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830. He presented a Barnstaple petition for repeal of the coastwise coal duty, 12 May. He voted in the minority to prohibit sales for on-consumption in beer houses, 21 June 1830. Early in July he announced that he would not stand for Barnstaple at the impending general election, but gave no reason for his decision.9 Later that month he successfully applied for the honorary appointment of gentleman of the privy chamber, which the home secretary Peel, possibly unaware of his decision to retire, supported on the ground of his ‘very constant and uniform support in the ... Commons’.10

In May 1831, on arriving at Dover from the continent, Hodgson was ‘gratified to learn by the newspapers that ... unsolicited by me’ he had again been returned for Barnstaple at the head of the poll, after a faction in the borough, determined to force a contest, had nominated him and given the impression that he was a moderate reformer.11 In fact, he divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reintroduced reform bill, 6 July. He voted for an adjournment motion, 12 July, and to use the 1831 census for the purpose of scheduling boroughs, 19 July, postpone consideration of Chippenham’s inclusion in schedule B, 27 July, and preserve the voting rights of non-resident freemen, 30 Aug. However, he informed The Times that he had voted for the proposed division of counties, 11 Aug., despite his overall hostility to the measure.12 He voted against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He divided against the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831,13 the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted against the Vestry Act amendment bill, 23 Jan. He divided against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July. He was a minority teller against appointing a select committee on the general register of deeds, 22 Feb., but his name was added to it, 27 Mar. 1832. He did not offer for Barnstaple at the general election later that year, but he was returned in 1837 and sat as a Conservative until his defeat in 1847.14 In November 1841 he applied to Peel for a baronetcy, explaining that his claim was ‘entirely political’, based on five ‘severe and very expensive contests’ at Barnstaple and his consistent support, ‘with the exception of the Poor Law Amendment Act’, for ‘all the great measures advocated by yourself whether in or out of office’. He added that he had ‘ample fortune to support the rank’ and intended to retire from business shortly; since he had ‘no family, the honour ... would die with me’. However, Peel was unwilling to recommend any new creations.15 Hodgson died in Paris in March 1854, ‘in his 59th year’, and left the residue of his estate to his wife. An obituarist wrote that ‘his frank and manly bearing ... disarmed the hostility of his political opponents’ and that in his contests at Barnstaple ‘he dispensed his bounties from his ample purse with a profusion that has seldom been exceeded’.16

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. N and Q (ser. 7), vi. 417; P. Mathias, Brewing Industry, 190-2; T. Gourvish and R. Wilson, British Brewing Industry, 90-91.
  • 2. PROB 11/1514/421; IR26/162/142.
  • 3. He was the residuary legatee of George’s estate; the personalty was sworn under £70,000 (PROB 11/1583/436; IR26/678/614).
  • 4. E. Yates, Recollections, 8-9.
  • 5. Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 4, 11 Mar. 1824.
  • 6. The Times, 22 May 1824.
  • 7. Syle’s Barnstaple Herald, 13 June 1826.
  • 8. The Times, 6 Mar. 1828.
  • 9. N. Devon Jnl. 8 July 1830.
  • 10. Add. 40309, f. 153; Wellington mss WP1/1128/12; 1137/5.
  • 11. N. Devon Jnl. 5, 19 May 1831.
  • 12. The Times, 13 Aug. 1831.
  • 13. Ibid. 22 Dec. 1831.
  • 14. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1838), 124.
  • 15. Add. 40494, ff. 385-8.
  • 16. PROB 11/2189/290; IR26/1999/283; Gent. Mag. (1854), i. 652; N. Devon Jnl. 6 Apr. 1854.