RUDYARD (RUDYERD), Sir Benjamin (1572-1658), of Whitehall; later of West Woodhay, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.)

Family and Education

b. 26 Dec. 1572,2 3rd s. of James Rudyard (d.1611) of Winchfield, Hants and Margery, da. and h. of Lawrence Kedwelly of Hartley Wintney, Hants.3 educ. Winchester; St. John’s, Oxf. 1588; New Inn; M. Temple 1590, called 1600; travelled abroad (Scotland) 1601, (Italy, Germany) 1610-13, 1614-17.4 m. c.May 1621, Elizabeth (bur. 22 Sept. 1625), da. of Sir Henry Harington† of Bagworth, Leics. and Baltinglass, co. Wicklow, 1s. 2da.5 kntd. 30/31 Mar. 1618.6 d. 31 May 1658.7 sig. Benjamin Rudyard.

Offices Held

Gent. of privy chamber (extraordinary) ?by 1610-42.8

Surveyor of the liveries 1618-40.9

Assoc. bencher, M. Temple 1619.10

Freeman, Portsmouth, Hants 1621;11 j.p. Mdx. and Surr. 1625-42;12 commr. new buildings, London 1625, 1630, sewers, I.o.W. 1631, execution of ordinances, Berks. 1644, assessment 1644-8, militia 1648.13

Commr. assembly of divines 1643-7, West Indies plantations 1643, Elector Palatine’s revenue 1645, heraldry abuses 1646, exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.14


Rudyard’s father, a younger son of a Staffordshire family, married a Hampshire heiress and bought Winchfield in 1591. Rudyard, as a younger brother, was educated for the law, but travelled widely during his youth. He visited Scotland in 1601, soon after his call to the bar, as the victim of a confidence trickster who promised him a knighthood, an honour he was not to attain for another 17 years. A member of the brilliant intellectual and literary circle of the Mermaid tavern, he was initially a follower of Robert Sidney†, Lord L’Isle, whose elder son he tutored on a Grand Tour. In 1609 the Scottish courtier Lord Hay procured him a grant of £1,000 of Crown debts, and by the following year he had an official post at Court, probably in the privy chamber. He returned to England on his pupil’s untimely death and fought a duel with a rival wit, John Hoskins*, before travelling abroad again with the 18th earl of Oxford.15 In 1618 he secured a lucrative post as surveyor of the liveries, the second highest office in the Court of Wards, upon the resignation of (Sir) Humphrey May*, his contemporary both at Oxford and the inns of court. He was nominated by the favourite, the marquess of Buckingham, at the behest of L’Isle’s nephew, William, 3rd earl of Pembroke, who was already his departmental superior as lord chamberlain. The surveyorship was usually held by a practising lawyer, and Rudyard proved both competent and humane in the execution of his duties.16

Enjoying excellent Court and government contacts, Rudyard soon began to correspond with diplomats such as Dudley Carleton* and Sir Francis Nethersole*. On 2 Oct. 1620 he wrote to the latter that the king

hath no way to enter into a war with foundation without a Parliament, which I believe we shall shortly have; and I pray God that the king and his subjects may meet and part well, else now we shall discover our weakness and shame to all Christendom with the utmost disadvantage. The people were never so forward in any as this action, but there will be great practice to hinder, for already the mystery of iniquity begins to work.17

He subsequently obtained a seat at Portsmouth, where Pembroke was military governor. Throughout his parliamentary career he depended on his patron rather than a local electorate, and by 1624 he was regarded as the earl’s chief spokesman in the Commons. He specialized in prepared orations designed to set the agenda on key issues, many of which were quickly circulated in manuscript or print. This served a useful function, although in the opinion of (Sir) John Eliot, whose rhetorical style was very different, Rudyard lacked the spontaneity required for debate:

a great reputation was implied both in the learning and wisdom of the man. And, as he was in use and estimation with some great ones, more was expected from him than from others, which made the satisfaction to seem less ... All men discerned in him no want of affection to be eloquent, but his expression was thought languid as the conclusion was inept, generals being fitter for discourse than in counsel or debate.18

In common with other parliamentarians, such as Sir Dudley Digges, John Pym and Sir Nathaniel Rich, Rudyard combined hostility to Spain, resolute opposition to Arminianism and a readiness to contemplate major reform of Crown finance.19

Given his subsequent prominence, Rudyard played little part in the 1621 Parliament, although this may simply have been because he was looking for a wife. Carleton was told of his marriage on 19 May, and it was only four days earlier that Rudyard made his maiden speech in the Commons, which advocated an oath to prevent patrons selling clerical livings:

as the case stands now the minister is fettered by an oath that he cannot lawfully give anything, and the patron is left at large to make his market ... Here in this place have many good laws been made against papists; but the best that I know would be to employ the best ministers, for matter of belief is not to be compelled but persuaded.

The speech was ‘very well approved’ by the House, and a text was quickly circulated, being copied by Pym and another parliamentary diarist.20 Rudyard spoke again on 30 May, when the Commons debated whether to adjourn over the summer, or prepare bills against a prorogation. He considered legislation to be less important that proceedings against corrupt politicians and monopolists, ‘which judgment is better far than many good laws, for laws will fall asleep, when the fright of those judgments will keep men awake to do their duties’. However, he was immediately confronted by Sir Richard Grosvenor, an assiduous guardian of local interests, who demanded to know, ‘when we come into the country what will they think of us? We have given subsidies and have brought home nothing for them’.21 In November 1621 he made his first keynote speech, seconding Digges’s motion for a second grant of supply in response to the Spanish occupation of most of the Palatinate. ‘Our religion is bespattered abroad and mouldered away at home’, he lamented, urging supply for the Protestant forces already in the Palatinate, which would be immediately available for action, and spare the nation the expense of raising a fresh army.22

Re-elected for Portsmouth in 1624, Rudyard made only a handful of speeches during the session, but three were of crucial importance to the efforts of Buckingham (now a duke) and Prince Charles to persuade the king into a war with Spain. At the start of the session, the duke made a formal relation of the breakdown of the Spanish Match to both Houses. Having allowed the Commons some days to digest this lengthy and complex narrative, Rudyard opened the debate on 1 Mar. with a speech which set the agenda for the entire session. The negotiations, he insisted, were a sustained exercise in Spanish duplicity, ‘for since the beginning of this treaty and most by colour of it we have lost the Palatinate altogether, and almost all our party of the religion abroad, besides a great bulk of papistry grown and knotted within our own bowels at home’. However, he warned, ‘if we break off the treaty we must make good the breach. We must maintain it, and the likeliest way is by a war ... and though we have no war presently, yet it is fit we should presently provide as if we had one’. To allay fears that the nation would thereby blunder into an open-ended commitment to fund a general European conflict, he laid down four propositions to which a vote of supply would be committed: reinforcement of Ireland; strengthening of English garrisons; refurbishment of the navy; and an alliance with the Dutch. As Sir Robert Phelips observed, ‘he that shall go out of the way Sir Benjamin Rudyard set down, shall go walk in a maze and must return thither again’. With considerable guidance from other anti-Spanish ‘patriots’, the Commons eventually agreed that the Spanish treaties must be broken off, and Rudyard was one of those ordered to prepare a justification for this breach against a conference with the Lords (1 March).23

When confronted with this advice, the Lords naturally expected the Commons to provide the money to implement such a radical change in policy, but it quickly emerged that both a vociferous minority of MPs and the king himself were reluctant to be hurried into a war. On 11 Mar. the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Richard Weston, delivered a formal account of the Crown’s outlay upon the Palatine crisis since 1619. Rudyard then rose to commend James’s ‘recovered inclination to parliaments’, and warned against being ‘over-curious and ingenious in our own overthrow, for I assure you, sir, we may blow up the House without gunpowder’. Recalling Prince Charles’s return from Spain, he urged the House, ‘let us ... not distaste him also with parliaments, for then are we lost from generation to generation. I am the more vehement in this because I am afraid if this Parliament fail it will be the last of parliaments’. He then offered the four propositions of 1 Mar. once again as a reassurance to doubters: ‘let us not affright ourselves with an opinion of the vast charge of undertaking a great war presently, but let us rather take it into consideration that which is next us, our security and defence’. Rather than naming a specific sum, he recommended the establishment of a Council of War with the Lords to examine the feasibility of his propositions, and moved to offer the king ‘a proportionable present for his own particular besides the charge of our general defence’. While eloquent, this speech did not have the impact Rudyard might have desired, as some speakers remained averse to a war, while others hoped to go further and launch an offensive war against Spain. Two days of confused debate established nothing more than the Commons’ willingness ‘to assist with our abilities and persons in a parliamentary manner’, while James’s reply of 14 Mar. made it clear that nothing less than a specific grant of six subsidies and 12 fifteenths would persuade him to declare war.24

The Commons eventually scheduled a debate on the specific sum required in order to make good their belligerent advice on 19-20 March. Once again, Rudyard opened with a set-piece speech:

the king stands ready to declare, only he expects from us an assistance proportionable to the greatness of the work ... he confesseth that the grant of a general assistance is more than many millions of subsidies ... for it is like a fountain which continually runs to supply every occasion that may happen, whereas a particular sum, though never so great, is but as a cistern which may be emptied.

While he acknowledged that ‘everyone in this House doth think his [James’s] demands to be very great, and so do I’, he observed that no time had been set for payment, suggested that all that needed to be done for the present was to fund his four propositions for defensive preparations, and reminded his audience that the king had agreed that the sum voted could be paid over to parliamentary treasurers, to ensure that it was spent on military matters. The treasurer of the Household, Sir Thomas Edmondes, endorsed Rudyard’s four propositions, and named a figure of £300,000 to put them into effect. After two days of tortuous debate, this was the sum agreed upon, in the form of three subsidies and three fifteenths.25

The only other significant debate in which Rudyard participated during the 1624 session concerned the impeachment of lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*), his departmental superior as master of the Wards. One of the many charges preferred against Middlesex was the levying of unprecedented fees from suitors for wardships. Rudyard explained that procedural changes meant that a significant proportion of the fees which had formerly come to his office now went to the master’s secretary, while other fees had been increased. He also confirmed that Middlesex’s secretary had used a signature stamp rather than submitting routine business to his master’s scrutiny. Rudyard had a personal interest in the outcome of this investigation, both because he reckoned his own income had been reduced by £300 per annum following these reforms, and because he had hopes of succeeding as master. He took over the duties of the mastership temporarily after Middlesex’s fall, but the post was eventually granted to Sir Robert Naunton*, the former secretary of state who had been in disgrace throughout the Spanish Match.26

Returned for Portsmouth once again in 1625, Rudyard attempted to galvanise a reluctant Commons with another of his familiar orations on 22 June:

that the first Parliament of the king should have a temperate proceeding and prosperous success is a matter of extraordinary consequence ... the disagreement between the king (who is with God) and his people, begun and continued by mutual distastes in Parliament have been the cause almost of all that we can call amiss in this state.

After a brief encomium to his new sovereign, he urged the House to set aside routine matters such as grievances and legislation in view of the plague, and to concentrate instead on supply as the only business of a necessarily abbreviated session. Aware that many of his listeners would regard this as evidence that he was acting as a spokesman for the Crown, he hastened to add that

I do solemnly protest that as heretofore I did never speak with the king, prince or favourite of Parliament businesses ... what I have said I have spoken it out of the sincerity of my own heart, without any other end but the good of the commonwealth, whereof this assembly is the abridgement.

As a Pembroke man, Rudyard may not have consulted Buckingham directly about his speech, but he was being somewhat disingenuous in protesting his independence. He achieved nothing, for while Sir Edward Coke moved to forbear the appointment of standing grand committees, others clamoured for investigations to be started into recusancy, customs and the expenditure of the 1624 subsidies. Remarkably, the subsidy debate of 30 June was opened not by Rudyard, but by Sir Francis Seymour, who moved for a grant of just one subsidy and one fifteenth. This offer was wholly inadequate for the Crown’s needs, but an obstacle to any motion for a larger grant of supply later in the session. Rudyard, taken unawares, followed with a speech that was clearly partly extemporized. He spoke of the cost of the late king’s funeral, embassies, subsidies to allies and domestic preparations for war, suggested that the navy alone required a further £300,000, and judged ‘the sum propounded to be too little’. However, without the requisite figures at his fingertips, he felt unable to recommend an alternative, and in the absence of guidance from government spokesmen the House concluded with a vote of two subsidies, only a slight improvement on Seymour’s original offer. In the light of these disappointing performances, it is surely significant that Rudyard was not called upon to speak during subsequent attempts to secure further supply. He made only one other significant speech, on 25 June, when he opposed inserting a proviso into the petition on religion that aimed to allow silenced ministers to preach on agreed points of doctrine and discipline, since he thought that this practice would be permitted in any case by moderate bishops.27

At the 1626 general election, Rudyard yielded his interest at Portsmouth to his brother-in-law Sir William Harington*. Pembroke, however, nominated him both at Old Sarum and Grampound. As the election was contested at Grampound, Rudyard opted to sit for the Wiltshire borough. He ploughed a very eccentric furrow during the session. The previous autumn, learning that Sir Edward Coke, Phelips and four others were to be pricked as sheriffs in order to keep them out of Parliament, he informed Nethersole that ‘the rank weeds of Parliament are rooted up, so that we may expect a plentiful harvest the next’. This was not merely a private opinion, for when Coke’s return was questioned in the Commons on 14 Feb., Rudyard urged Members to pass over Sir Edward’s absence: ‘it [is hardly] a derogation and nothing in so great a Parliament to miss so few men as are made sheriffs’. Pembroke was widely known to be offering covert support to Buckingham’s enemies during the session, but as one of the duke’s men noted early in the session, ‘the earl of Pembroke ... doth appear publicly rather by strangers than by Sir Benjamin Rudyard, Sir William Herbert and others of his’, an elementary subterfuge which allowed Pembroke to retain the option of a reconciliation with Buckingham if the latter’s impeachment miscarried. Rudyard, however, was placed in an awkward position during the session: although he vented his feelings about recent foreign policy blunders, he had to behave almost as if Buckingham’s impeachment was not taking place, lest Pembroke be implicated by association; he even extended this fiction to his correspondence with Nethersole.28

For all the difficulties of his brief, one subject on which Rudyard was able to express himself freely was the area of his particular expertise, supply. Buckingham’s enemies intended to delay the passage of the subsidy bill in order to secure the duke’s impeachment, but on 24 Feb. Rudyard made another keynote speech, which criticized the disastrous Cadiz expedition, but recommended a speedy vote of supply as the solution. Nothing was decided, and on 10 Mar., when chancellor of the Exchequer Weston delivered a royal plea for supply, Rudyard protested that ‘counsel without monies are but speculations, monies without counsel bring forth nothing’. At his request, a supply debate was scheduled for 13 Mar., when he pleaded ‘that we should return an answer to the king that we will, before the Parliament rise, give him such a supply as shall make him safe at home and feared abroad’. However, nothing was resolved, and ten days later secretary of state Sir John Coke repeated the process with an account of the king’s military commitments, while Rudyard pleaded that ‘we are bound to make good our former protestations [of 1624] ... notwithstanding some sly objections that we are not bound by a former Parliament’s engagement’. A decision was postponed until 27 Mar., when Rudyard once again opened the debate, and in face of the king’s mounting anger, the House finally voted three subsidies and three fifteenths.29

On 5 Apr. Rudyard was among a delegation which attended the king with a Remonstrance rejecting royal protests about the obstructive conduct of the Commons. The next day he informed Nethersole that ‘the storms of this Parliament have been very high, but I hope they now well are overblown’. The Commons, he thought, had granted as much as they could for one year; ‘besides, they intend to make His Majesty an orderly, warrantable revenue too, proportionable to his charge’. He welcomed Digges’s proposal for a West India Company, explaining to Nethersole ‘that the subject will make the war against the king of Spain, and His Majesty shall have no more to do at sea but to defend the coasts’. In the Commons on 14 Apr. he hailed this as a ‘noble and profitable enterprise’, confidently predicting that the collapse of the Spanish empire would bring down the Habsburg monarchy. The king remained unhappy with the supply he had been offered, and on 25 Apr. Rudyard was delegated to secure an increase. Knowing the difficulty of altering a previous vote of subsidies, he protested that ‘the gift we have given His Majesty, we ought to see that it shrink not’, and proposed measures to increase the yield of each existing subsidy: an end to under-assessment of commissioners and abuse of residency certificates; a review of the subsidy rolls; and an increase in the rate of taxation above the normal 4s. in the pound for landed estates. ‘Let us so carry ourselves’, he concluded, ‘that we may make the Parliament the king’s favourite’. After a long debate about the possible alternatives, the House decided not to innovate, but voted one extra subsidy instead.30

On 5 May Serjeant Sir Robert Hitcham tabled the subsidy bill for a first reading, in defiance of a tacit understanding that it would not proceed until the impeachment charges against the duke had been presented to the Lords (scheduled for 8 May). Hitcham protested that he had been ordered to do so by the attorney-general, Sir Robert Heath*, which left Rudyard to justify the bill to a suspicious House. He urged that ‘a frank and free commerce of grace and supply between the king and people is the best way to preserve correspondence between king and people’ and was promptly supported by a phalanx of government officials, including Weston, May and Carleton, which appeals secured an order for a committee to draft the preamble to the bill on 9 May.31 While he had hitherto avoided direct involvement in Buckingham’s impeachment, Rudyard was required, on 8 May, to help Edward Herbert present the charges against the duke for monopolizing high public offices. A few days later two of the other spokesmen on this occasion, Sir Dudley Digges and Sir John Eliot, were arrested for implying that Buckingham and Charles had hastened King James’s death, throwing the session into confusion once again. On 12 May, Carleton suggested that if it were proved that the two men had exceeded their instructions, the Commons should disown them. Rudyard, however, stepped in to urge his friend to retract his words before others tried to have him censured. It was perhaps to distract attention away from this incident that, on the following morning, Rudyard moved to discover and punish whoever had originally raised the question of James’s treatment on his deathbed. When Carleton’s words were finally recalled on 5 June, Rudyard quickly moved to smother the issue. By this stage, he was privately despondent about the session, confiding in Nethersole, ‘what will issue of this Parliament, God knows’. Ten days later the Parliament was dissolved.32

In 1628 Rudyard was returned for Downton, another Wiltshire borough controlled by Pembroke. The reconciliation between Pembroke and Buckingham which Charles had arranged in the summer of 1626 was hardly cordial, but it rested on secure foundations of cash and Court office, and this meant that the earl’s followers were unavailable to the duke’s enemies. The king, facing imminent bankruptcy, promptly called for a vote of supply, but on 22 Mar. Seymour insisted that grievances must come first. It was on this occasion that Rudyard delivered perhaps the most memorable formulation of what had become, by then, his familiar refrain:

This is the crisis of parliaments, by this we shall know whether parliaments will live or die ... Mr. Speaker, we are not now upon the business of the kingdom, we are upon the very esse of it, whether we shall be a kingdom or no ... Seems it a slight thing unto you that we have beaten ourselves more than our enemies could have done, and shall we continue so by our divisions and by our distractions? ... Let us, Mr. Speaker, give the king a way that he may come off like himself ... by giving the king a large and ample supply proportionable to the greatness and importance of the work in hand, for counsel without money is but a speculation.33

On 1 Apr., after Secretary Coke delivered another royal plea for supply, Rudyard warned of the potential damage to trade from the fall of Denmark and La Rochelle, and proposed ‘a speedy bringing in of money and a judicial and profitable laying it out to take away the king’s necessity, which is the worst counsellor about the king’. As he had done many times before, Rudyard opened the subsidy debate which took place three days later, insisting ‘this report of the consent of king and people will be a greater terror to the enemies than an army, and greater comfort to our friends than the greatest aid that can be imagined otherwise’. However, the main burden of his speech, as in April 1626, concerned the pressing need to increase the yield of individual subsidies, and he left the decision about the size of the grant to others.34

Having played no part in the controversies over the Forced Loan, Rudyard had little to say during the debates over liberty which dominated the opening weeks of the 1628 session. He was named to the committee considering ‘personal liberty of the subjects and the propriety of their goods’ once the House had concluded that arbitrary imprisonment and the Forced Loan were illegal (3 Apr.), and was among those appointed to draft a preamble to the petition against billeting (10 April). He attended the conference of 23 Apr. where the Lords warned against ‘pinching upon the prerogative’, and when the king called for a swift conclusion to this debate five days later, he tried hard to support the king without offending those who wished to see the liberties of the subject confirmed by a fresh statute:

I am clear without scruple that what we have resolved is according to law, and if any judge in England were of a contrary opinion I am sure we should have heard of him before now ... it lies not in the wit of man to devise such a law as shall comprehend all particulars and all accidents ... Yet must the law be general, for otherwise admissions and exceptions will fret and eat out the law to nothing ... So the king’s prerogatives are rather besides the law than against it, and when they are directly to their ends for the public good they are not only concurring laws, but even laws in singularity and excellency ... I hope we may have a bill to agree in the point against imprisonment for loans or privy seals. As for "intrinsical power" and "reason of state", they are matters in the clouds, where I desire we may leave them ... Let it be our masterpiece so to carry the business that we may keep Parliaments on foot.

This ‘excellent, solid speech’ was commended by Henry Sherfield*, but privately criticized by Bishop Laud. However, Rudyard probably had no intention of courting popularity, as on 30 Apr., facing continued deadlock between Lords and Commons, he asked ‘how far we are able to go without the Lords?’.35

The Commons resolved their dispute with the Lords by recasting their demands as a Petition of Right, which Rudyard and four others scrutinized before it was sent to the Lords on 8 May. The Upper House was eventually persuaded of the merits of the Petition, but Charles’s first answer, a bare confirmation of existing law, provoked uproar in the Commons. Rudyard, speaking on 6 June amid fears of an imminent dissolution, suggested that the problem might be resolved by a fresh approach to the king: ‘I humbly move we may not dispute it, but rather let His Majesty declare his meaning, and upon a review I doubt not but we shall receive a clear answer’. However, another day elapsed before the Commons heeded his advice, by which time he was trying to allay fresh fears about the arrival of foreign mercenaries in England. Charles’s second, satisfactory answer to the Petition failed to deflect the House from drafting a Remonstrance, and when it was proposed that this should name Buckingham as the cause of the grievances, Rudyard unsuccessfully counselled discretion: ‘the question is whether we shall name a man. Let us lay the matter home, and it will speak the man sufficiently. When the king shall but consider the success of ill counsels [that] have been given, he cannot choose but to look upon the name dishonour[ably]’.36

Another issue for which Rudyard expressed a growing concern during the later 1620s was religion. On 10 Feb. 1626 he called for action to improve the endowment of poor benefices, citing two Lancashire ministers who had to augment livings of only £6 per annum by keeping unlicensed alehouses. Two weeks later he called for this bill to be paired with another concerning scandalous ministers.37 It was probably on 21 Apr. 1628 that he returned to the subject in an important speech which was later printed: ‘for scandalous ministers, there is no man shall be more forward to have them severely punished that I will be ... let us provide them convenient livings and then punish them on God’s name. But till then scandalous livings cannot but have scandalous ministers’. During this speech he commended a Scottish statute of 1587, which applied the revenues from rich livings to the endowment of new parishes in remote areas.38 When the scandalous ministers bill received a third reading on 16 May, he again called for it to be linked to the ‘scandalous livings’ bill, although the latter was never reported to the House. He also began to demonstrate concern about the impact of Arminian clerics on the church: on 29 Apr. 1626 he endorsed Pym’s investigation of the Arminian divine Richard Montagu; while he was later named to committees preparing charges against two other clergymen (31 May, 3 June 1628).39

During the 1629 session Rudyard counselled caution over the seizure of goods belonging to John Rolle* for non-payment of customs duties, supporting Secretary Coke and (presumably) worrying about the consequences if the ‘Parliament party not ... be in love with monarchy’. By 23 Feb. Eliot was anxious to pick a quarrel by making an example of the customs officials who had seized Rolle’s goods, but Rudyard, among others, thought this unwise: ‘let us ... leave now some place for mercy ... I speak not for these men, I speak for his sake whose servants they are whose commands they obeyed’. The most condign punishment would avail the Commons little if the king refused to allow it to be implemented. Rudyard’s real priority became clear when he insisted ‘we have proceeded fairly and far in the matter of religion, and he is afraid that rub [customs] will be cast to divert us, that we may not proceed further’.40 On 29 Jan., when Pym attempted to codify the doctrine of the Church of England, the better to identify Arminian innovations, Rudyard protested that ‘popery is ancient amongst us, and in that we complain only of the want of execution of laws against recusants. Arminianism lately crept in and crept up into high places’. He proposed the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Lambeth Articles of 1595 and the Irish Articles of 1615 as the benchmarks of Anglican doctrine, an uncompromisingly Calvinist formulation, and called to ‘advance against all that shall vary from these, without disputing for or against particulars nor upstart opinions’. One of a delegation who petitioned the king for action on this issue (31 Jan.), he later persuaded the House to write to the universities for details of censures and recantations of Arminian doctrine remaining on record.41

Rudyard was closely connected with the colonial activities of Pym’s circle during the 1630s, and suggested the name of the Providence Island Company. He supported the parliamentarian cause during the first Civil War, and was voted £6,000 compensation when the Court of Wards was abolished in 1646. A moderate Presbyterian, he was briefly imprisoned at Pride’s Purge and was secluded from the Commons thereafter. He died on 31 May 1658, and was buried at West Woodhay, Berkshire, which he had purchased in 1634; no will or administration has been found. A memorial was erected by his servant, John Graunt, presumably the statistician. No other member of the family entered Parliament.42

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Simon Healy


  • 1. Secluded at Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648.
  • 2. Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1650-79, p. 60.
  • 3. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 141-2; VCH Hants, iv. 110.
  • 4. Al. Ox.; MT Admiss.; MTR, 407; CSP Scot. 1597-1603, p. 900; SO3/4 (Jan. 1610); Life of Ld. Herbert of Cherbury ed. J.M. Shuttleworth, 73; CD 1628, iii. 18.
  • 5. Vis. Hants, 141-2; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 376; N and Q (ser. 10), xii. 333.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 168.
  • 7. Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1650-79, p. 60.
  • 8. SO3/4 (Jan. 1610); SP16/58/71.
  • 9. H.E. Bell, Ct. of Wards and Liveries.
  • 10. MTR, 640.
  • 11. Portsmouth Recs. ed. R. East, 348.
  • 12. C231/4, ff. 192-3; C231/5, pp. 532-3.
  • 13. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 70; pt. 3, p. 144; C181/4, f. 89; A. and O. i. 455, 541, 961, 1079, 1234.
  • 14. A. and O. i. 181, 331, 785, 839, 853, 1208.
  • 15. VCH Hants, iv. 110; CSP Scot. 1597-1603, p. 900; Liber Famelicus of Sir J. Whitelocke ed. J. Bruce (Cam. Soc. lxx), 61-62; HMC Hatfield, xxi. 5; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 581; SO3/4 (Jan. 1610); SP16/58/71; A.J. Manning, Mems. Sir Benjamin Rudyard, 28-9.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 535; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 263; Bell, 22, 132.
  • 17. SP81/19, f. 17.
  • 18. Procs. 1625, p. 504.
  • 19. C. Russell, PEP, 31-2.
  • 20. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 340, 376; CD 1621, iv. 343-4.
  • 21. Nicholas, Procs. 1621, ii. 123; CD 1621, ii. 407.
  • 22. CD 1621, ii. 445-6; iv. 436; v. 376; Nicholas, ii. 208; Russell, 129-32.
  • 23. ‘Pym 1624’, ff. 10v-12v; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 33; Russell, 171-6; T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 154-6, 174-81; CJ, i. 724a.
  • 24. Russell, 176-85; Cogswell, 181-96; ‘Pym 1624’, f. 25; CJ, i. 683a.
  • 25. ‘Pym 1624’, ff. 32-3; Russell, 187-9; Cogswell, 203-15.
  • 26. ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 113, 133v-4; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 115; ‘Pym 1624’, ff. 57v-8; Bell, 19; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 253.
  • 27. Procs. 1625, pp. 219-20, 247-8, 277, 507-8; Russell, 225-7.
  • 28. Procs. 1625, pp. 725-6; Procs. 1626, ii. 7, 37; iv. 307-10; Russell, 263-7; SP16/523/77.
  • 29. Procs. 1626, ii. 120, 249, 274, 350.
  • 30. Ibid. ii. 440; iii. 61; iv. 430.
  • 31. Ibid. iii. 169-70.
  • 32. Ibid. 140, 143, 183, 236-42, 256, 372; iv. 310.
  • 33. CD 1628, ii. 58-9.
  • 34. Ibid. ii. 234, 297, 309; Russell, 326-7.
  • 35. CD 1628, ii. 277, 387; iii. 43, 127-9, 177; W. Laud, Works, iv. 358.
  • 36. CD 1628, iii. 325; iv. 149, 187, 265; Russell, 377-82.
  • 37. Procs. 1626, ii. 12-17, 128; iii. 101.
  • 38. CD 1628, iii. 17-19. For the problems of accurately dating this speech, see ibid. 17n.
  • 39. Ibid. 431; iv. 36, 60.
  • 40. HMC Lonsdale, 60-1; CD 1629, p. 167.
  • 41. HMC Lonsdale, 66; CD 1629, pp. 57, 116, 137; CJ, i. 924-5, 928b, 930a; C. Thompson, ‘Divided Leadership of the House of Commons in 1629’, in Faction and Parl. ed. K. Sharpe, 266-70.
  • 42. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 369; Birch, Chas. I, ii. 10; VCH Berks. iv. 244; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 329; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 211; CCC, 53, 1898, 1900; Le Neve, 60.