Edward Rudd 1677-1727

From Book Owners Online

Edward RUDD or RUD 1677-1727

One of Rud's bookplates (Trinity College, Cambridge D.15.8, L. Du Pin, A compleat history, 1699)

Biographical Note

Born at Stockton, county Durham, son of Thomas Rudd, Rector of Long Newton; his mother’s name has not been established. Attended St Paul’s School, London. Matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1695, where he became a scholar in 1697; MA 1702; BD 1709; DD 1717. He was elected to a fellowship at Trinity in 1701 and ordained the same year, becoming curate of St Michael’s, Cambridge, and from 1718 Rector of North Runcton, Norfolk, a college living. He married Anne Williams. His diary furnishes information about college life at the time of the acrimonious disputes surrounding its master, Richard Bentley. He was the brother of Thomas Rudd, librarian of Durham Cathedral.

Rud's inscription, from the flyleaf of the same book


Rudd donated several manuscripts to Trinity college during his life, and the vast bulk of his library (over 1600 volumes) came to the college after his death.

In 1708 he commenced a catalogue of his books, which were divided into sections for Hebrew and ‘Orientals’, Greek, Latin, English, French, and Italian books. The last two might have been ‘aspirational’ categories, with only a few titles recorded for them; by contrast, the first three were in turn subdivided into broad subject categories (such as history, philology, and ‘miscellanys’). The overwhelming majority were published in the seventeenth-century, weighted especially in the case of the English books towards the second half. The number of titles recorded in the catalogue as a whole is approximately 2,250, with roughly three quarters being English. The overall impression is of a general library of a clergyman with well-rounded interests in theology, history, philology, literature and mathematics, rather than of a collector of particularly rare or specialist items, with one exception: the presence of an extensive collection of over 300 titles, mainly pamphlets, relating to controversies surrounding the Quakers , along with other folio pamphlets, which are given their own sections in his catalogue in which he noted that his recording of acquisitions of Quaker-related material was ‘imperfect’.

He supplied price information against most titles, ranging from £6 10s for the six volumes of Walton’s 1650s polyglot Bible (the catalogue’s first entry) to numerous cases of just penny sums being paid. On 16 May 1719 he calculated that his acquisitions by that time had cost £329 19s 07d not accounting for ‘abundance of Pamphlets in all sizes, & severall Books not yet Catalogu’d’. Nearly two thirds of this was on English books, in which those in the ‘Divinity’ category cost by far the most (£79 18s 09d), followed by ‘History’ (£51. 12s. 11d). The Quaker-related materials came to £8 10s.

The catalogue was an ongoing record, with a few entries added in the 1720s, and provides evidence of Rudd replacing some books with different editions or perhaps better condition copies, as well as giving some to others. ‘Wife’ appears against ten poetry and drama items; one can only wonder whether the annotation ‘lost’ against a 1703 edition of Edward Ward’s The Pleasures of Matrimony recorded something more than a missing book.

Rud's initials ER gilt-stamped on the spine of Trinity College, Cambridge I.16.37, H. Gower, A discourse, 1685 [and other sermons]

Characteristic Markings

He recorded his name and date in some of his books, and sometimes annotated them.

Engraved armorial bookplates for ‘Edvardus Rudd’ dated 1712 and 1717, showing him as ‘STB’ and ‘STP’ respectively, are in the Franks collection (25652, 25653), and are found in books in Trinity College. Books bound for him sometimes have his initials ER gilt-tooled on the spine below the title label.


  • 'Catalogus Librorum meorum', commenced 1708. Trinity College, Cambridge, MS B.7.6.
  • Records of gifts to the library, Trinity College, Cambridge, Add. MS.a/150, pp. 156-233.
  • Cambridge Alumni Database, ‘Edward Rudd’.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903-4.
  • Luard, H.R., ed. The diary (1709-1720) of Edward Rud. Cambridge, 1860.
  • McKitterick, D., ed. The making of the Wren Library. Cambridge, 1995, p. 61.