Thomas Rudd

Last updated

Thomas Rudd (1583?1656) was an English military engineer and mathematician.



The eldest son of Thomas Rudd of Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, he was born in 1583 or 1584. He served during his earlier years as a military engineer in the Low Countries. On 10 July 1627 Charles I appointed him ‘chief engineer of all castles, forts, and fortifications within Wales,’ at a salary of £240 per annum. Subsequently, he was appointed the king's principal engineer for fortifications, and in 1635 he visited Portsmouth in this capacity to settle a question between the governor and the admiralty as to the removal of some naval buildings which interfered with proposed fortifications. In 1638 he visited Guernsey and Jersey at the request of the governors, Charles Danvers, Earl of Danby and Sir Thomas Jermyn, to survey the castles in those islands and report upon them to the board of ordnance.

Higham Ferrers town in Northamptonshire, England

Higham Ferrers is a market town in the Nene Valley in East Northamptonshire, England, close to the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire borders. It forms a single built-up area with Rushden to the south and has an estimated population of 7,145. The town centre contains many historic buildings around the Market Square and College Street.

Northamptonshire County of England

Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".

Low Countries historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or historically also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders.

In February of the following year Rudd petitioned the board of ordnance for the payment of arrears of salary; in June the board recommended the petition to the council, mentioning Rudd's services. In April, having been employed in making a survey of the Portsmouth defences, he recommended that they should be reconstructed at an estimated cost of £4,956. In June Rudd went to Dover to superintend the repairs to the harbour and to the Archcliffe bulwark or fort, and in October he reported to the council that the works were delayed for want of funds, and suggested that the revenues of the harbour, as well as the dues, should be devoted to the maintenance of the harbour and fort. To this the council assented on 29 May 1640, and on 31 December following directed all mayors, sheriffs, and justices to impress workmen in and about London and elsewhere for the works at Dover, which had been entrusted to Rudd.

Dover town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England

Dover is a major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury and east of Maidstone. The town is the administrative centre of the Dover District and home of the Dover Calais ferry through the Port of Dover. The surrounding chalk cliffs are known as the White Cliffs of Dover.

In October 1640 Rudd went to Portsmouth to finish the fortifications, on the special application of Colonel Goring, the governor, and he divided his attention during 1641 between Portsmouth and Dover. The work at Portsmouth was retarded for want of funds, and in January 1642 the governor demanded stores, and leave to use materials for fortification, according to Rudd's survey of the previous year.

Rudd served as chief engineer on the royalist side throughout the First English Civil War, and in 1655 his estate at Higham Ferrers was decimated on an assessment for the payment of the militia, as a punishment for his adherence to the royalist cause. He died in 1656, aged 72, and was buried in Higham Ferrers church, where several epitaphs composed by himself were inscribed on his tomb.

First English Civil War Civil war in England 1642–1646

The First English Civil War (1642–1646) began the series of three wars known as the English Civil War. "The English Civil War" was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, and includes the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). The wars in England were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being fought contemporaneously with equivalents in Scotland and Ireland. Many castles and high-status homes such as Lathom House were slighted during or after the conflict.


Rudd put his name to two texts on geometry, Practical Geometry, in two parts (London, 1650), and an edition of Euclid's Elements under the title Euclides Elements of Geometry, the first six Books in a compendious form contrasted and demonstrated, whereunto is added the Mathematical Preface of Mr. John Dee (London, 1651), but both works show extensive appropriation (without attribution) from Dutch sources of the early 1600s. In particular, Rudd's selection of a hundred questions is largely, but not exclusively, culled from the compilation of Sybrandt Hanszoon van Harlingen (Cardinael) (1578–1647), Hondert Geometische Questien [A Hundred Geometrical Problems], published c. 1612.

He wrote the supplement to The Compleat Body of the Art Military, by Lieutenant-colonel Richard Elton, London, 1650; 2nd edit. 1659. This supplement consists of six chapters, dealing with the duties of officers, the marching of troops and the art of gunnery. Sir James Turner, in his Pallas Armata (1683), refers to another work by Rudd on sieges; but this cannot now be traced.

Richard Elton, was an English military writer.


Rudd has been claimed as an occultist. [1] Peter J. French writes that he was "steeped in hermeticism" and an admirer of Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica. Among the Harleian manuscripts is a hermetic treatise that has been attributed to Rudd. [2] According to The Goetia of Dr. Rudd by occult author Stephen Skinner (occult author) and David Rankine, Rudd was at the centre of a group of angel magicians.


Rudd was married three times:

He left an only daughter, Judith, by his third wife; she married, first a kinsman, Anthony Rudd, and secondly, Goddard Pemberton, and died on 23 March 1680.


He that is a true magician, is brought forth a magician from his Mother's Womb; and whoso is otherwise, ought to recompense that defect of nature by education...

Thomas Rudd; The Nine Celestial Keys

Related Research Articles

Arthur Haselrig English politician

Sir Arthur Haselrig, 2nd Baronet was a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I and one of the Five Members whose attempted arrest sparked the 1642-1646 First English Civil War. He held various military and political posts during the 1639-1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms but became an opponent of Oliver Cromwell during the Protectorate. In 1660, his actions inadvertently helped restore Charles II to the throne; unlike many senior Parliamentary leaders, his life was spared but he was confined to the Tower of London, where he died on 7 January 1661.

The Lesser Key of Solomon, also known as Clavicula Salomonis Regis or Lemegeton, is an anonymous grimoire on demonology. It was compiled in the mid-17th century, mostly from materials a couple of centuries older. It is divided into five books—the Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria.

Vassago is the third Goetic demon, in the hierarchy of angels of Satan, described in the Lesser Key of Solomon as a prince "of a good nature" and of the "same nature as Agares". He rules twenty-six legions of spirits, and is summoned to tell magicians of past and future events, and locate lost objects. He is one of the few spirits found in the Lesser Key of Solomon but not in Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. Vassago is mentioned in the Book of the Office of Spirits as Usagoo, appearing as an angel, "just and true in all his doings," with the powers of inciting the love of women and revealing hidden treasures, in addition to ruling twenty spirits. Sloane MS 3824 mentions Vassago in invocations to summon spirits that guard treasure, and in the "Experiment of Vassago" and the "Experiment of Agares," both intended to capture the named spirits in crystals. According to Rudd, Vassago is opposed by the Shemhamphorasch angel Sitael.

Enochian magic

Enochian magic is a system of ceremonial magic based on the evocation and commanding of various spirits. It is based on the 16th-century writings of John Dee and Edward Kelley, who claimed that their information, including the revealed Enochian language, was delivered to them directly by various angels. Dee's journals contained the Enochian script, and the tables of correspondences that accompany it. Dee and Kelley believed their visions gave them access to secrets contained within the Book of Enoch.

William Jervois British Army general

Lieutenant General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois was a British military engineer and diplomat. After joining the British Army in 1839, he saw service, as a second captain, in South Africa. In 1858, as a major, he was appointed Secretary of a Royal Commission set up to examine the state and efficiency of British land-based fortifications against naval attack; and this led to further work in Canada and South Australia. From 1875 to 1888 he was, consecutively, Governor of the Straits Settlements, Governor of South Australia and Governor-General of New Zealand.

Sir Richard Lee (1513–1575) was a military engineer in the service of Henry VIII of England, Edward VI and Elizabeth I, continuing to work for all the remaining Tudor monarchs. He was a commander of Henry VIII and appointed surveyor of the King's works. Lee was member of parliament for Hertfordshire in 1545. He was the first English engineer to be knighted.

The Shem HaMephorash, meaning the explicit name, is an originally Tannaitic term describing a hidden name of God in Kabbalah, and in some more mainstream Jewish discourses. It is composed of either 4, 12, 22, 42, or 72 letters, the last version being the most common.

John Dee English mathematician, astrologer and antiquary

John Dee was an English/Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy. He was also an advocate of England's imperial expansion into a "British Empire", a term he is generally credited with coining.

Sir Bernard de Gomme was a Dutch military engineer. By some he is considered the most important figure in 17th-century English military engineering.

Higham Ferrers was a parliamentary borough in Northamptonshire, which was represented in the House of Commons from 1558 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act. It was one of the very small number of English boroughs in that period which was entitled to elect only one rather than two Members of Parliament.

Major William Rainsborowe, or Rainborowe, was an officer in the English Navy and New Model Army in England during the English Civil War and the Interregnum. He was a political and religious radical who prospered during the years of the Parliamentary ascendancy and was an early settler of New England in North America.

Renaissance humanism saw a resurgence in hermeticism and Neo-Platonic varieties of ceremonial magic.

Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers PC —known as Sir Robert Shirley, 7th Baronet, from 1669 to 1677 and Robert Shirley, 13th Baron Ferrers of Chartley, from 1677 to 1711—was an English peer and courtier.

Thomas Phillips (engineer) British military engineer

Thomas Phillips was a British military engineer of the seventeenth century, who worked with some of the leading naval figures of his period, and was involved in military operations against the French during the Nine Years' War.

Thomas Wharton (1614–1673) was an English physician and anatomist best known for his descriptions of the submandibular duct and Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord.

George Fortescue (c.1578–1659) was an English essayist and poet.

Colonel George Thomas Landmann was an English military and civil engineer. He served with the Royal Engineers in Canada, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. Following his retirement from the army, he worked as a civil engineer and was engineer of the London and Greenwich Railway, the world's first suburban passenger railway.

Stephen Skinner (author)

Dr Stephen Skinner is an Australian author, editor, publisher and lecturer. He is known for authoring books on magic, feng shui, sacred geometry and alchemy. He has published more than 46 books in more than 20 languages.

John Peter Desmaretz was a British civil and military engineer. His projects included a new entrance to Shoreham-by-Sea's harbour (1753), powder and horse mills in Faversham (1755-1763) and for gun batteries at vulnerable points on the coasts of Kent and Sussex (1759). He also advised on modifications to Edward Gatton's plans for Ramsgate harbour (1749-1772).



  1. Keys to the Gateway of Magic, Stephen Skinner & David Rankine, Golden Hoard Press, 2005
  2. Peter J. French, John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan Magus (1984), note p. 172.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Rudd, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.