The incredible story of Celtic legend Bobby Hogg – Irish and Scottish roots

The incredible story of Celtic legend Bobby Hogg

Part 2 – Irish and Scottish roots

Catch up with Part 1 of The incredible story of Celtic legend Bobby Hogg HERE.

So, what was the Hogg family background which produced such a variety of middle names?

To begin to understand that, we have to go back to the summer of 1872, when football was still very much in its infancy. In England, the Football Association Challenge Cup – now known as the FA Cup, the world’s oldest knockout competition – had reached its first-ever conclusion just a few months earlier, nomadic London-based outfit Wanderers beating Royal Engineers 1-0 in the final played at their home ground at that time, Kennington Oval.

Photo of original FA Cup

Scotland had been represented in that inaugural FA Cup, Queen’s Park progressing via a series of walkovers before financial constraints prevented their return to London for a semi-final replay with Wanderers. The Spiders are the only one of the 15 competing clubs to remain in their present form to this day. By the end of that year, they had provided all 11 players for Scotland against England in the first international match to be played anywhere in the world. In the spring of 1874, they commenced their domination of the Scottish version of the FA Cup, a position they would hold until eclipsed by the new club Celtic at the turn of the century.

Queen’s Park with 1874 Scottish Cup

On Friday, 19 July 1872, Bobby’s paternal grandfather Robert Brown Hogg, married Janet Semple Brownlie in the Low Waters Parish of Hamilton, ‘after banns according to the Saffronhall United Free Church,’ which still exists today as Hamilton North Church.

Hamilton North Church, where Bobby’s paternal grandparents married in July 1872

Coal Miner Robert was 28 years old and lived in Carfin. His parents were John Hogg, a Master Grocer, and Ann Hogg, nee Brown. Domestic Servant Janet of Low Waters, Hamilton was 22 years old. Her parents are James Brownlie, a Thatcher, and Margaret Brownlie, nee Lindsay. The witnesses were Andrew Hogg – Robert’s younger brother – and Margaret Rodger.

Bobby’s paternal grandparents Robert and Janet Hogg would be blessed with 10 children, the first of those Margaret Hogg born at 10.30pm in Carfin on 2 May 1873. Tragically, she survived for just eight days, baby Margaret passing away at 3.45am on 11 May. Cause of death is listed as 7 months child debility, which I suspect may mean that Margaret was premature.

The couple’s second child would follow just over one year later and would also be given her maternal grandmother’s Christian name of Margaret, this time adding her maiden name of Lindsay as a middle name. Margaret Lindsay Hogg was born in Carfin on 1 June 1874.

A further eight Hogg children would complete Robert and Janet’s family, as follows.
• John Hogg born in Woodhead, Old Monkland on 2 July 1876
• James Hogg born in Hamilton on 17 August 1878
• Annie Brown Hogg born in Low Waters, Hamilton on 30 September 1880
• Robert Hogg (Bobby’s dad) born in Barrack’s Row, Carfin on 4 January 1883
• Andrew Hogg born in Cleekhimin, Holytown on 29 April 1885
• Claud Brownlie Hogg born at 5 Deputy Row, Allanton, Hamilton on 26 July 1887
• William Hogg born at 5 Deputy Row, Allanton on 20 June 1891
• Janet Brownlie Hogg born at 5 Deputy Row, Allanton on 25 June 1893

In the 1881 Census – taken on 3 April – Robert and Janet Hogg lived at 36 Springwell Buildings, Low Waters, Hamilton with their four children, as follows.

• Maggie Hogg (6, Scholar, born in Bothwell, Lanarkshire)
• John Hogg (4, born Old Monkland, Lanarkshire)
• James Hogg (2, born Hamilton, Lanarkshire)
• Annie Hogg (6 months, born Hamilton, Lanarkshire)

Bobby’s paternal grandfather Robert Brown Hogg was listed as being 37 (a Coal Miner, born in Airdrie), whilst grandmother, Janet Semple Hogg, nee Brownlie, was 31 (born in Hamilton).

We’ll pick up Robert and Janet’s story in the next part of this article, but to box off that side of the family for now – and to confirm where the ‘Brown’ in Robert Brown Hogg originates – we jump back one generation to Bobby’s paternal great grandparents, John Hogg and Anne Brown.

John was born in Ireland around 1806 and Ann a few years later in Lanarkshire. In the 1841 Census, John Hogg (35) and Anne Hogg (30) are living in Graham Street, Airdrie with their four children, James Hogg (10), Marion Hogg (8), Mary Hogg (6) and John Hogg (4).

It is unclear what happened to those children over the next decade. Some of the elder Hoggs may have married or gone into service, whilst the possibility exists that some may have passed away. But in any case, the 1851 Census records that John Hogg (44, Coal Miner, born in British Colonies) and Anne Hogg (42, born in Lanark) are living in the village of Watston, New Monkland with five different children: Isabella Hogg (9, Scholar, born in Airdrie), Robert Hogg (7, Scholar, born in New Monkland), Anne Hogg (5, Scholar, born in New Monkland), Henry Hogg (3, born in New Monkland) and Andrew Hogg (11 months, born in New Monkland).

So we know that John and Anne Hogg had at least nine children, as follows.

• James Hogg, born c1831
• Marion Hogg, born c1833
• Mary Hogg, born c1835
• John Hogg, born 1837
• Isabella Hogg, born c1841
• Robert Hogg, (Bobby’s grandfather) born c1844
• Anne Hogg, born c1846
• Henry Hogg, born c1848
• Andrew Hogg, born c1850

In the 1861 Census, John Hogg (55, Coal Bottomer, born in New Monkland) and Anne Hogg (52, born in Lanark) are living at 19 Byres Knowe, Carfin with three of their sons – James Hogg (29, Incline Runner, born in Lanark), Robert Hogg (17, Pit-horse Driver, born in New Monkland) and Andrew Hogg (11, Scholar, born in New Monkland).

By the time of the Census of 2 April 1871, John Hogg (65, Grocer, born in Ireland) and Anne Hogg (62, Grocer’s Wife, born in Lanark) are living at 19 Byres Knowe, Carfin with two of their children – James Hogg (40, Locomotive Fireman, born in Lanark) and Anne Hogg (25, born in New Monkland) – and two grandchildren, John Hogg (14, Pony Driver in Coal Pit, born in Airdrie) and Anne B McClair (9 months, born in Bothwell). Daughter Anne Hogg married Coalminer James McClair (26) at Carfin Parish Church on 28 April 1871, just after the Census.

The thought has not been lost on me that McClairs from Lanarkshire feature on the timeline of Bobby Hogg. What are the odds that these two Celtic greats from eras 50 years apart are related in some way?

Bobby’s great-grandfather John Hogg died at Union Place, Carfin on 22 January 1880, aged 74. He was a Coal Miner and married to Annie Brown. His parents were William Hogg, an Army Pensioner, and Mary Hogg, nee Blackwood, both deceased. Cause of death was General Debility, and it was registered by his son-in-law, James McClair, who was present.

In the 1881 Census, John’s widow Anne Brown Hogg (72, born in Lanark) is living in Carfin with her daughter Annie McClair (35, born in New Monkland), her husband James McClair and their five children, Annie McClair (10, born in Bothwell), Alexander McClair (7, born in Bothwell), Marion McClair (5, born in Old Monkland), Helen McClair (2, born in Bothwell) and James McClair (2 months, born in Bothwell).

Bobby’s great-grandmother Anne’s story ends on 6 November 1892, the fifth anniversary of the formation of Celtic Football Club, when she passes away at Lochore House, Ballingry, Fife, aged 84. She is listed as the widow of John Hogg, Miner, and her deceased parents as James Brown, a Handloom Weaver, and Marion Brown, maiden name unknown. You may recall that James and Marion are the names of John and Anne’s eldest children. Cause of death is senile cardiac weakness, and it is registered by son-in-law Duncan Ferguson. Miner Duncan (23) had married Seamstress Isabella Hogg (16) at Carfin on 31 December 1857.

So that’s Bobby’s dad’s family background, but what about his mum?

On Friday, 24 February 1882, John Love Smith married Janet Gilroy in the Church of Scotland at Ayr Road, Dalserf, Lanarkshire. Gemstone Miner John was 23 and lived on that same road in Dalserf. His parents are John Smith, a Coal Miner, and Agnes Smith, nee Love.

Bride Janet was a 17-year-old Farm Servant who also resided on the Ayr Road. Her parents are Smith Gilroy, a Coal Miner, and Cecilia Gilroy, nee Cameron. The witnesses were Jenny Gilroy and Robert McCain.

Dalserf Church of Scotland, where Bobby’s maternal grandparents married in February 1882

Bobby’s maternal grandparents John and Janet Smith would be granted nine children.

• John Smith born at Ayr Road, Dalserf on 2 March 1883
• Cecilia Cameron Smith (Bobby’s mum) born at Noblehouse, Newlands, Peeblesshire on 10 January 1885
• Smithy Smith born at Ayr Road, Dalserf on 19 July 1886
• James Smith born at 4 Ross Street, Ferniegair, Parish of Hamilton on 3 July 1888
• William Gilroy Smith born at 4 Ross Street, Ferniegair on 19 April 1890
• Agnes Love Smith born at 5 Hamilton Street, Larkhall on 12 August 1892
• Douglas Percy Smith born at Percy Street, Larkhall on 29 November 1894
• Telford Gilroy Smith born at Percy Street, Larkhall on 5 February 1897
• George Paterson Smith born at Roker Cottage, Ashgillhead, Dalserf on 5 March 1906

Like the Hoggs, the Smiths would also suffer family tragedy early in their marriage when baby son Smithy Smith passed away at Ayr Road, Dalserf on 26 October 1887, aged 15 months. Cause of death was diarrhoea and vomiting and it was registered by his father, John Smith, who was present.

As John said farewell to his infant son, plans were nearing completion for the establishment of an organisation which would later define much of the life of his grandson, Bobby Hogg. Within 10 days of baby Smithy’s death, a meeting was held in the east end of Glasgow and an agreement reached to form a football club to raise money for the poor families of the area, so many of whom having made that same journey from Ireland to Scotland as Bobby’s great grandfather John Hogg had, half a century earlier.

The club would be known as Celtic.

To be continued…

Hail, hail!

Matt Corr

Follow Matt on Twitter/X @Boola_vogue

The Celtic Star is committed to telling the Celtic story

The Celtic Star is committed to telling the Celtic story, and by publishing top quality books that tell so far untold parts of Celtic’s History we believe we fulfil a significant role in making sure that these stories will be known and talked about by future generations of Celtic supporters.


Matthew Marr tells the story of Celtic’s first ever title win and in doing so you learn about the hardships our ancestors had to endure in the last years of the 19th century in Glasgow.

The late, great David Potter single-handedly brought Alec McNair’s remarkable achievements at Celtic back into the prominent position he deserves and in telling his story we get a further insight into life around the time of the Great War and afterwards. Even for a Celtic player life was far from easy.

David Potter followed that with the long overdue biography of Willie Fernie, a player that the Celtic support still sings about even to this day but remarkably no book had been written about this legendary Celt.

Matt Corr’s Invincible captures the magic of a very special season perfectly, while at Leicester City, the current Celtic manager purchased multiple copies of the book to gift to his own family members.

It’s an awesome read from what was just about the perfect Celtic season.Harry Hood is another Celtic legend whose story was told by The Celtic Star author Matt Corr. Like the McNair and Fernie families, the Hood family gave Harry’s biography their full support and all three families were delighted with the books when published.

The most recent book published by The Celtic Star is Matt Corr’s in depth look at Gordon Strachan’s first season at Celtic. Majic, Stan and the King of Japan takes us through one of the most eventful seasons in the modern Celtic era and it has to be acknowledged that WGS was a hugely successful Celtic manager, who was able to punch above his height and weight in the Champions League.

Two of our books are completely sold out, having been re-printed to satisfy demand. David Potter’s wonderful title, The Celtic Rising, told the story of Jock Stein’s first season at Celtic – 1965 The Year Jock Stein Changed Everything. Things changed alright and this book explains how it all happened.

The Celtic Rising is available on Amazon Kindle and all the brilliant photos shown in the print version from that era are included on Kindle. The same goes for Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys –  which was co-written by Liam Kelly alongside Matt Corr and David Potter and if you have a hardback copy, congratulations, it’s going to be a collectors’ classic. There’s hardly a week goes by when someone enquires about buying a copy.

Like The Celtic Rising, Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys is available on Amazon Kindle, as is Invincible, Harry Hood, The Bould Bhoys, Glory to their name and Majic Stan and the King Japan.

So if you haven’t read our books, or have a few more to add to your collection, we’re inviting you to do so over the next month so that we can continue to tell Celtic stories that deserve to be told. And all hardback books are available at just £10 plus postage, which is paid only on the first book ordered. You can order from and if you prefer Amazon Kindle then shop for the title of your choice there, which will cost £3.49.

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About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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