14 August 2010

Who do you think you are? Monty Don's Retford connections.

I was interested to see my old home town of Retford make an appearance on this week's edition of "Who do you think you are?" Monty Don's great-great-grandfather, the Reverend Charles Hodge, was vicar of St Saviour's church on Welham Road in the 1840s and 1850s. Monty found several of his printed sermons at Nottingham University manuscripts department, one of which was a "fire and brimstone" tirade against the poor of his parish for not being sufficiently pious!

Intriguingly, his wife Anne emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1850s, leaving Charles and their nine children behind. A few years later she came back to Retford and most of the family emigrated to New Zealand. However, in 1859 Charles left the family and headed back to England but tragically drowned when the steam clipper Royal Charter sank off the coast of Anglesey on its way to Liverpool. Anne remained in New Zealand and died there in 1890.

The programme can be viewed on the BBC's iPlayer site:

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