Thomas Ruddy, a Victorian Head Gardener


This site details the life of Thomas Ruddy, (1842-1912) who for 37 years was Head Gardener at Palé Hall, near Bala in Wales.  The information comes from a series of diaries and other family papers left to me by his grandson Denys Ruddy, in 2005. See here for further information.   The posts are the result of transcriptions and online research which I hope paint a picture of a most interesting man.

Thomas was born in Murrisk, Ireland, at the start of the potato famine in that region.  His family moved to Jedburgh, Scotland and there Thomas began an education in gardening which took him to a variety of stately homes around Britain, and to studies in France before going as first Head Gardener to Palé in 1869.

He became a significant amateur geologist, collaborating with a then Cambridge Professor of Geology to write in 1879 a paper for the Geological Journal.  He also won the prized Kingsley Memorial Medal of the Chester Society of Natural Science in 1889, one of few non-graduates to do so.

Also in 1889 Thomas was a witness to the visit of Queen Victoria, members of her family and staff to Palé for five days during August, and left a fascinating account of that time.  This will appear here in due course.

To read the full account of Thomas’ life, follow the category ‘Thomas Ruddy Biography’, otherwise choose a category of particular interest to you.  I am happy to receive comments or further information relating to Thomas’ life or interests.