Famous ancestors on my father’s side of the family are few and far between. The Australian branch of the family can be traced back to Benjamin Etherden who was apprehended in Lamberhurst for stealing a pair of shoes, sentenced to death and then transported to Botany Bay; and the last century saw Etherdens serving with distinction in the London Fire Brigade and the Royal Mint.
But otherwise, except for a Chair Bodger  in Sussex…an honourable profession in the 17th century…and a Thames Barge skipper or two freighting bricks from the River Lea to the London Docks, the Etherdens’ and Eatherdens’ have distinguished themselves mainly by keeping out of harm’s way and maintaining their ancestral line.
However there have been hints that my mother ‘married beneath her’. As such judgements still carried meaning in the middle of the last century, my search for distinguished ancestors has now turned to the matrilineal line where we have the names of Wyatt, Crump and Hogg…and specifically a Lylie Hogg who married a Crump.
It was Lylie Hogg’s daughter who married my great grandfather James Land. The Lands, Hoggs and Crumps then joined geneological forces with the Wyatts when James’ son…also James…married Louisa Wyatt. In the fullness of time they became known to their grandchildren growing up in the 1950s just inside the London County Council border with the County of Kent as Nanna and Grandpop. 
Grandpop was a supervisor at the London Docks with a house at 143 Greenvale Road in Eltham Park and an allotment on the other side of the Eltham Road…just opposite the bus stop for the number 21 bus to Sidcup and Farningham. He worked his allotment every Sunday so one of the more enduring memories I have from my childhood is of Grandpop arriving home for Sunday lunch loaded up with produce from the allotment.
After lunch he would play shove ha’penny and dominoes with his grandchildren before retiring into a corner to smoke his pipe. Grandpop died of cancer at a relatively young age of 67 and was the only person I knew who smoked a pipe. After her husband died Nanna moved to Penhill Road in Bexley and lived to the grand old age of 93, although blind for her last ten years.
My mother was born in 1915 so I calculate that my grandparents would have been born around 1880…my mother was the youngest of four children…and Lylie Hogg two generations prior to this around 1830. So this is where the search for my Hogg connection will commence.
The Hoggs have come closest to becoming the great British political dynasty of the 20th century . In the House of Lords, the highest office is that of Lord Chancellor, a position held by Douglas Hogg (Lord Hailsham) in 1928-9 and 1935-8, and by his son Quinton (Lord Hailsham) from 1979 to 1987.
Neville Chamberlain and Douglas Hogg were considered to be contenders to succeed Baldwin as Tory leader in 1927. Some thirty years later, in 1963, his son relinquished the Hailsham title to fight for the party leadership.
The third generation continued this involvement in Conservative Party politics with Douglas Hogg as Agriculture Secretary in John Major’s government and his wife, Sarah, heading up the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit.
 A bodger was a skilled craftsman that made chair legs and braces. The craft of bodging goes back about five hundred years and demonstrations of bodging can still be seen at many traditional craft fairs. In the towns and cities repairing chairs was a common profession for injured or retired sailors. They would often set up shop in a quiet alley and send their wife or a child out to solicit work. The name Bodger may have derived from Badger, as the life of a bodger was similar in many ways as they spent the whole day in the wood only coming out in the evening.
 The exact address was 124 Crookston Road, which is at the newer end of the street where the Bilton Estates houses built in 1936 back onto Oxleas Woods on the slopes of Shooters Hill.
 This judgement comes from Graham Stewart, author of Burying Caesar: Churchill, Chamberlain and the Battle for the Tory Party (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 1999, ISBN 0 75381 060 3).
August 9th 2010