Many of Lewis Carroll's family in the 18th and 19th centuries were clergymen in the Church of England.
Father's Father's Father's Father Christopher Dodgson
Christopher Dodgson (1686?-20 June 1750) was a clergyman and was Rector of Howden, Yorkshire. On 9 January 1721 he married Elizabeth Coulton; she died on 17 February 1744. Both are buried at Howden. They had two sons, Charles (see below) and Christopher (b. & d. 1730).
Father's Father's Father Charles Dodgson
Charles Dodgson MA (born in Howden, Yorkshire in 1721/1722, baptised on 10 January 1722) was educated at Westminster School and St. John's College Cambridge.
He became a clergyman and was appointed to the parish of Bintry, Norfolk in 1846. He moved to the north of England, keeping a school at Stanwix, Cumberland and becoming Rector of Kirby Wiske in 1755. He was tutor to Lord Algernon Percy, the son of the then Duke of Northumberland; in 1762, the Duke gave him the parish of Elsdon, Northumberland. Rapidly promoted, he became a bishop in 1765. His first diocese was Ossory and Ferns in Southern Ireland and in 1775 he was promoted to the more important see of Elphin, County Roscommon.
In 1768, he married Mary Frances Smyth (1749-1796). Among their children were Capt. Charles Dodgson (1771 - 1803) and 2nd Lieut. Percy Currer Dodgson RN (1782 - 1807). He died on 21 January 1795 in Dublin.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1762. (The Duke had been a fellow since 1736.)
Stuart Dodgson Collingwood quotes from letters that Charles Dodgson wrote to the Duke and his family, apparently while he was at Elsdon.
- I am obliged to you for promising to write to me, but don't give yourself the trouble of writing to this place, for 'tis almost impossible to receive 'em, without sending a messenger 16 miles to fetch 'em.
- 'Tis impossible to describe the oddity of my situation at present, which, however, is not void of some pleasant circumstances.
- A clogmaker combs out my wig upon my curate's head, by way of a block, and his wife powders it with a dredging-box.
- The vestibule of the castle (used as a temporary parsonage) is a low stable; above it the kitchen, in which are two little beds joining to each other. The curate and his wife lay in one, and Margery the maid in the other. I lay in the parlour between two beds to keep me from being frozen to death, for as we keep open house the winds enter from every quarter, and are apt to sweep into bed to me.
- Elsdon was once a market town as some say, and a city according to others; but as the annals of the parish were lost several centuries ago, it is impossible to determine what age it was either the one or the other.
- There are not the least traces of the former grandeur to be found, whence some antiquaries are apt to believe that it lost both its trade and charter at the Deluge.
- ... There is a very good understanding between the parties [he is speaking of the Churchmen and Presbyterians who lived in the parish], for they not only intermarry with one another, but frequently do penance together in a white sheet, with a white wand, barefoot, and in the coldest season of the year. I have not finished the description for fear of bringing on a fit of the ague. Indeed, the ideas of sensation are sufficient to starve a man to death, without having recourse to those of reflection.
- If I was not assured by the best authority on earth that the world is to be destroyed by fire, I should conclude that the day of destruction is at hand, but brought on by means of an agent very opposite to that of heat.
- I have lost the use of everything but my reason, though my head is entrenched in three night-caps, and my throat, which is very bad, is fortified by a pair of stockings twisted in the form of a cravat.
- As washing is very cheap, I wear two shirts at a time, and, for want of a wardrobe, I hang my great coat upon my own back, and generally keep on my boots in imitation of my namesake of Sweden. Indeed, since the snow became two feet deep (as I wanted a 'chaappin of Yale' from the public-house), I made an offer of them to Margery the maid, but her legs are too thick to make use of them, and I am told that the greater part of my parishioners are not less substantial, and notwithstanding this they are remarkable for agility.
Collingwood notes that when Mr. Dodgson was translated to the see of Elphin, "he was warmly congratulated on this change in his fortunes by George III., who said that he ought indeed to be thankful to have got away from a palace where the stabling was so bad."
The bishop had four children: Charles (see below), Elizabeth Anne (see below), Thomas (1775-1794) and Percy Currer (see below).
Father's father Charles Dodgson
Charles Dodgson (1769?-1803) was educated at Westminster School and St. John's College Cambridge. Forsaking the family career of the Church, he joined the army in 1795; he was commissioned in 1797 and was promoted to captain in December 1798. He married Lucy Hume (born 1775, daughter of James Hume, Chairman of the Board of Customs) on 16th February 1799. He was killed in action at Philipstown, Kings County, Ireland (now Daingean, County Offaly) and was buried there. Lucy died at Wandsworth in September 1818 and is buried at Chichester cathedral. They had two sons, Charles and Hassard (see below).
Father's father's brother Percy Dodgson
Percy Currer Dodgson (1782-1807) joined the Royal Navy and became a 2nd lieutenant, serving on HMS Diamond. He died off Havre-de-Grace, officially from 'consequence of a cold'. However, it has been claimed that he was in fact "killed by a man falling on him from the ship's superstructure".
Father Charles Dodgson
Charles Dodgson MA (2 November 1800 – 21 June 1868) was born in Hamilton, Lanark, Scotland. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, earning a Double First in Mathematics and Classics in 1821. He received his MA in 1825. In 1827 he became Perpetual Curate of Daresbury, Cheshire and married his first cousin, Frances Jane Lutwidge. In 1843 the Prime Minister, Robert Peel, made him rector of Croft, Yorkshore. In 1852, he also became Archdeacon of Richmond and in 1853 a canon of Ripon Cathedral. He died in 1868 and was buried at Croft. In 1897, Lewis Carroll wrote to a friend who had just lost her father "The greatest blow that has ever fallen on my life was the death, nearly thirty years ago, of my own dear father".
A close friend of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Dodgson translated the works of Tertullian into English for Pusey's "The Library of the Masters" series; it was published in 1842.
Dodgson and his wife had eleven children, four boys and seven girls. Lewis Carroll was the third child and first boy.
Father's brother Hassard Dodgson
Hassard Hume Dodgson (30 December 1803 - 3 September 1884) was born at Mayborough, Port Laoise, Ireland, two weeks after his father's death. He was educated at Westminster School (where he was King's Scholar, equivalent to Captain of the School) and Christ Church, Oxford, earning a BA (1826) and an MA (1829). He entered Lincoln's Inn in 1827 and the Inner Temple in 1844. He was a Master of Common Pleas (1871-9). He married his first cousin, Caroline Hume (1809-1875; her father, James Deacon Hume, was the brother of his mother Lucy) on 27 August 1833. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery.
They had ten children, five boys and five girls. The two oldest boys (Francis Hume, 1834-1917 and Percy, 1838-1886) both emigrated to Australia.
Mother's mother Elizabeth née Dodgson
Elizabeth Lutwidge, née Dodgson (1770 - 17 April 1836) was the daughter of Bishop Charles Dodgson (above). She married Major Charles Lutwidge (15 June 1768 - 7 September 1848). They had eight children, two boys and three girls. The first, Elizabeth (1798-1883), married Thomas Raikes; the second, Rev. Charles Henry Lutwidge (21 March 1800 - 15 January 1843), married Anne Louisa Raikes. Thus Lewis Carroll was connected in two ways with the Raikes family. For the next three (Skeffington, Frances and Lucy) see below. The youngest were Charlotte (1807-1857), Margaret (1809-1869) and Henrietta (1811-1872).
Mother Frances née Lutwidge
Frances Dodgson née Lutwidge (13 July 1803 - 26 January 1851) married Charles Dodgson (above) in 1827. She died suddenly of "Inflammation of the Brain" (maybe meningitis or a stroke) only two days after Lewis Carroll went up to Oxford (and the day before his 19th birthday), and he had to rush home for the funeral.
Mother's brother Skeffington Lutwidge
(Robert Wilfred) Skeffington Lutwidge (17 January 1802 - 28 May 1873) went to St. John's College Cambridge (BA, 18th Wrangler 1824, MA 1827) and became a barrister in 1827. He was a Commissioner in Lunacy, 1842-5, ceasing to be one when he became Secretary to the Lunacy Commissioners. He resumed being a Commissioner in 1855 to replace another commissioner, James Williams Mylne, who had died. In 1856 he was Commissioner of Inquiry into the state of lunatic asylums in Ireland. He died after being attacked by a lunatic.
He was responsible for inspiring Lewis Carroll's long interest in photography.
Mother's sister Lucy Lutwidge
Lucy Lutwidge (1805-1880) was very close to Lewis Carroll and his brothers and sisters. She was a contributor to their childhood magazine The Rectory Magazine. After the death of Lewis Carroll's mother, she spent the rest of her life caring for his family.