Adam buddle (1662-1715)

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ADAM BUDDLE (1662-1715)
Mark Lawley


This is one in a series of articles about prominent British and Irish field-bryologists of the past. The author would be very pleased to learn of any information which supplements its content.
A Social and Biographical History of British and Irish Field-bryologists is also available on-line at

Bryological career
Adam Buddle was one of the first Englishmen to study mosses and liverworts as bryology began to be taken seriously in England during the late 17th century. As well as Buddle, Samuel Brewer, Samuel Doody, Richard Richardson and William Vernon were also in the van. The timing of this development was largely attributable to the improving prosperity and life-styles of contemporary textile-merchants, who developed and enjoyed a serendipitous and stimulating combination of literacy, critical and enquiring attitudes to their environment, opportunity and incentive to travel, and social ambition (Lawley, 2008).
We know far less than we would like to about which species the early bryologists found, and where and when they did so. However, unlike his contemporaries, Buddle’s herbarium survives as part of the Sloane collection at the Natural History Museum in London. Dillenius used Buddle’s herbarium when revising the third edition of Ray’s Synopsis (1724), and the Herbarium at Oxford contains some of Buddle’s botanical specimens.
In addition to his herbarium, Buddle also devised his own system for classifying plants, which he wrote up as ‘Methodus nova stirpium Britannicarum ex methodis Raij et Tournefortij longe optimis collatis correcta cum nominibus et synonimis autorum maxime celebrium additis’. This manuscript subsequently became separated from the herbarium, and is now in the British Library (Sloane MS 2970-9).
According to Petiver, Buddle was well versed in mosses by 1687, when he was in his mid-twenties, and was corresponding with Samuel Doody in the mid-1690s. He botanised in and around the metropolis with the apothecaries Doody, James Petiver, and others. Buddle and Petiver often met – sometimes with other botanical friends such as Doody – to discuss botanical matters at the Greyhound Tavern, Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, or at other taverns nearby (Buddle, 2008). Buddle and Petiver visited John Ray in 1699, and along with Doody and William Vernon, Buddle probably assisted Ray with his botanical work. Buddle also corresponded with Joseph Tournefort of Paris, and on occasions generously lent his herbarium to Tournefort, Petiver, and to Joseph Bobart at Oxford.
Ray died in 1705, and by 1708 Buddle had prepared the text of a complete English Flora, with specimens, including cryptogams. This was never published, but survives – along with his herbarium – as part of the Sloane collection at the Natural History Museum.
Vernon acknowledged Buddle as “top of all the moss-croppers”.

Family background and biography
Adam Buddle was baptised on April 17th 1662 at Deeping St. James, near Peterborough, the second child of six, and eldest of four sons born to Richard Buddle (died 1704) and his wife Margaret. Mary (or Margaret, born in 1659) was the eldest, then after Adam came Richard (1663-1725), George (born in 1664), Elizabeth (born in 1667) and John (born in 1669).
Richard Buddle was a prosperous hemp-dresser (Buddle, 2008), so the family was closely associated with the textile industry. Indeed, they had a loom in their own house. In addition they owned four horses, four sheep, and three cows. Richard was also retained in the Lincoln Militia for £7 and 10 shillings a year, which was about three times the average contemporary rate for a soldier.
Records of the Lincolnshire Protestation for 1641 mention several male Buddles at Deeping St. James. As well as Richard there were two Georges, Thomas, and William. One of these Georges was probably a brother to Richard, while a third brother was Adam (c.1620-1686), who lived at Benton End, an imposing 16th century house in Benton Street, Hadleigh, a town to the west of Ipswich. This Adam was a ‘gentleman’, a man of substance, and an alderman of Hadleigh in the 1660s. His will refers to considerable real estate in and around the district of Hadleigh. He seems to have died without issue, so bequeathed his property to his nephews; his nephew Adam (the botanist) was one of the executors for his estate.
In a previous generation, a George Buddle (c.1568-1630) was born at Market Deeping just up the road from Deeping St. James and went to St. John’s College, Cambridge. He became vicar of Thornton Curtis, between Scunthorpe and Grimsby on the south side of the Humber estuary, and rector of Wickenby and Friesthorpe to the north-east of Lincoln.
At Maxey, not far from Deeping and Peterborough, a Robert Buddle married Alice Lyveley in 1585. Alice was a daughter of Richard Lyveley, who was vicar of Maxey from 1563 to 1585, rector of Market Deeping in 1570, and brother of Edward Lyveley (c.1545-1605). Edward Lyveley was Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge from 1575 until 1605, and was appointed to assist with the authorised English translation of the Bible. Robert and Alice Buddle had four sons, Zacharias 91586-1644), Abiel (1590-1655), Henry (born c.1596) and John (c.1598-<1643), all of whom went up to Cambridge and then took holy orders.
More Buddles of the late 17th century lived at Bourne, and others at Pinchbeck north of Spalding.
Adam Buddle the botanist followed in several of his ancestors’ footsteps when he went up to St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge in 1678, and graduated B.A. in 1681 and M.A. in 1685. He was a fellow of his college until 1691, but like many others was then ejected after refusing to pledge his oath to the new king, William III.
Adam married Elizabeth Eveare at Friston, south of Ipswich in 1695, and they went to live at Henley, Suffolk, where their eldest child Elizabeth (born 1696) was born. A son, Adam was born in 1699. Another son (also Adam) had been born in 1697, but survived only a few days. Adam’s brother Richard went to live in his late uncle’s house at Hadleigh and brought up his family there.
By 1702, Buddle had sworn allegiance to King William, and was ordained into the Church of England at Ely. In 1703 he became rector of North Fambridge, to the south of Maldon in Essex, and also accepted the post of reader at the chapel of Gray’s Inn, London. He died there and was buried at St. Andrew’s, Holborn on April 15th, 1715. His widow Elizabeth survived him until at least 1724.

Buddle, B.M. (2008). ‘Moss-Cropper Extraordinaire: the Rev. Adam Buddle (1662-1715).’ The Linnaean 24(4): 13-19.
Lawley, M. (2008). ‘The influence of social background on the emergence of British and Irish field botanists in the 17th-19th centuries: William Wilson, a case study.’ Field Bryology 94: 28-35.

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