Sir Benjamin Rudyerd


Sir Benjamin Rudyard (1572-1658) was a politician, a notable contributor to the consequential parliamentary debates of the 1620s-40s, and also a poet. Given the posthumous amalgamation of poems by him with poems by Lord Pembroke in the 1660 edition of Poems, written by the Right Honorable William Earl of Pembroke…many of which are answered by way of Repartee, by Sr Benjamin Ruddier, Knight. With several distinct Poems, written by them occasionally, and apart, the canon of his verse is scarcely well established. It is accordingly incorporated for present purposes in the section on William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke: PeW 1-129.

One addition to the 1660 canon is a series of 31 epigrams which are ascribed to ‘B: R:’, among poems by fellow members of the Inns of Court such as Sir John Davies and John Hoskyns, in a miscellany in the Rosenbach Museum & Library (RuB 1). A case has been made by James Sanderson for probable attribution of these epigrams to Rudyard.


Otherwise Rudyerd is extensively represented in the entries below by some of his numerous speeches in the House of Commons. Although sometimes criticised for their wordiness and formally prepared character, lacking spontaneity, his speeches were widely circulated in manuscript copies. Some were in contemporary manuscript ‘separates’; others in manuscript parliamentary journals or compilations of parliamentary speeches and proceedings for particular years between 1621 and 1643. Copies of these speeches are not always dated consistently, nor is it always clear whether certain of them recorded below are really separate rather than versions of speeches already recorded. No doubt many more manuscript copies of speeches by Rudyerd are to be found, as also copies or reports of his brief parliamentary interjections, which have not been given entries here.

Publications familiar to parliamentary historians which include speeches, or reports on speeches, by Rudyerd, as well as some accounts of the nature of their manuscript distribution, include Commons Debates, 1621, ed. Wallace Notestein, 7 vols (New Haven, 1935); Proceedings in Parliament 1628, Vols. 1-6, ed. Robert C. Johnson, Mary Frear Keeler, Maija Jansson Cole, and William B. Bidwell (New Haven, 1977-96); Commons Debates for 1629, ed. Wallace Notestein and Frances Helen Relf (Minneapolis, 1921); The Journal of Sir Simonds D'Ewes: from the beginning of the Long Parliament to the opening of the trial of the Earl of Strafford, ed. Wallace Notestein (New Haven, 1923); Proceedings of the Short Parliament of 1640, ed. Esther S. Cope with Willson H. Coates, Camden Society 4th Ser. 19 (London, 1977); Proceedings in the opening session of the Long Parliament: House of Commons, ed. Maija Jansson, with Jennifer Klein Morrison, Alisa Plant and Shawn Smith, 7 vols (Rochester, NY, 2000-7); John Rushworth, Historical Collections of Private Passages of State, 8 vols (London, 1721-22); Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England (London, 1806-20); and James Alexander Manning, Memoirs of Sir Benjamin Rudyerd, Knt. (London, 1841).


In the course of his political life Rudyerd also wrote numerous letters, which can be found in the National Archives, Kew, and elsewhere. These have not been given separate entries here.

Peter Beal