Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Luard, Henry Richards

LUARD, HENRY RICHARDS (1825–1891), registrary of the university of Cambridge, eldest son of Henry Luard, West India merchant, was born in London on 17 Aug. 1825. He was educated at Cheam under Dr. Charles Mayo, and between 1841 and 1843 at King's College, London. He commenced residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1843. In 1846 he obtained a college scholarship, and in 1847 graduated B.A. He was fourteenth in the first class of the mathematical tripos, a lower place than he had expected, but he was in bad health at the time of the examination. In 1849 he was elected to a fellowship at Trinity College. He proceeded M.A. in 1850, B.D. in 1875, and D.D. in 1878. He was for a short time mathematical lecturer in Trinity College, and junior bursar from 1853 to 1861. In 1855 he was ordained deacon and priest, and was vicar of Great St. Mary's, Cambridge, from 1860 to 1887. In January 1862 he was elected registrary of the university, in succession to the Rev. Joseph Romilly, and on 19 June in the same year he married Louisa Calthorpe, youngest daughter of George Hodson, archdeacon of Stafford and canon of Lichfield, by whom he had one son, who died in June 1891. In 1875 he was elected honorary fellow of King's College, London. Luard was a high churchman of the old school, strong in his own convictions, but tolerant of those who differed from him. He was an active parish clergyman, zealous in visiting the poor, and an eloquent preacher. He found St. Mary's still encumbered by the hideous eastern gallery, nicknamed Golgotha, in which the vice-chancellor and heads of colleges sat; but he induced the senate to accept a plan which included the removal of both eastern and western galleries, and the reseating of the nave and chancel. These works were carried out in 1863, and the church was reopened for service on 2 Feb. 1864.

Though Luard took his degree in mathematics, he was a good classical scholar, and possessed a singularly wide and accurate knowledge of the labours of the older critics. Among these his hero was Porson. He contributed a ‘Life of Porson’ to the ‘Cambridge Essays,’ 1857, and to the ninth edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ and he bequeathed his extensive collection of ‘Porsoniana’ to the library of Trinity College. As registrary of the university he was courteous, accurate, and laborious. He rearranged the documents under his charge, binding each group in a volume, with a separate index of his own making. These indices were afterwards united so as to present a complete clue to the whole body of records. He published one of these indices in 1870: ‘A Chronological List of the Graces, Documents, and other papers in the University Registry which concern the University Library.’

Besides these continuous occupations Luard edited for the Master of the Rolls' series a long list of works, upon which his reputation as an historian will chiefly rest. The text is edited with scrupulous care, and the indices compiled with almost painful minuteness, but at the same time the introductions are distinguished by wide historical knowledge and a powerful grasp of the subject. The first of these, ‘Lives of Edward the Confessor,’ was published in 1858, when the editor was still a beginner at his difficult task. The principal piece in the volume is a metrical life of the saint in old French, to which Luard appended a translation and glossary. Sixteen years afterwards Professor Robert Atkinson of Dublin published ‘Strictures on Mr. Luard's Edition of a French Poem on the Life of Edward the Confessor’ in ‘Hermathena,’ vol. i. That Luard had made mistakes neither he nor anybody else would wish to deny; but no mistakes could justify the needless severity of his tardy antagonist. Luard made no reply, but it is well known that the attack affected him greatly, and probably precipitated the nervous malady from which he suffered between 1877 and 1880. During those years he was obliged to go abroad and to ask the university to appoint a deputy registrary. For a time his health seemed completely restored, but after the death in 1889 of his wife, to whom he was devotedly attached, other symptoms supervened, and he died, after a long period of weakness and suffering, on 1 May 1891.

Luard was by temperament and conviction a conservative, and he was opposed to most of the recent changes in the university and in Trinity College, against which he wrote several flysheets and short pamphlets. But he never allowed his opinions to interfere with his friendships, and some of his most intimate and habitual associates were those from whom he differed most widely. Luard, who was a frequent contributor of articles on mediæval writers and classical scholars to this Dictionary (vols. i–xxxii.), published, exclusive of flysheets, the following works: 1. ‘Remarks on the Cambridge University Commissioners' Draft of proposed new Statutes for Trinity College,’ Cambridge, 1858. 2. ‘Lives of Edward the Confessor’ (Rolls Ser.), 1858. 3. ‘Bartholomæi de Cotton Historia Anglicana’ (Rolls Ser.), 1859. 4. ‘Remarks on the present Condition and proposed Restoration of the Church of Great St. Mary's,’ Cambridge, 1860. 5. ‘The Diary (1709–1720) of Edward Rud … [with] several unpublished Letters of Dr. Bentley,’ Cambridge, 1860. 6. ‘Roberti Grosseteste Epistolæ’ (Rolls Ser.), 1861. 7. ‘Annales Monastici’ (Rolls Ser.), 1864–9. 8. ‘Suggestions on (1) the Election of the Council; (2) the Duties of the Vice-chancellor; (3) the establishment of a Historical Tripos,’ Cambridge, 1866. 9. ‘Correspondence of Richard Porson,’ Cambridge, 1867. 10. ‘Index to the Catalogue of Manuscripts in the University Library,’ Cambridge, 1867. 11. ‘Chronological List of the Graces [etc.] in the University Registry which concern the University Library,’ 1870. 12. ‘Sermon on the Recovery of the Prince of Wales, 27 Feb.,’ Cambridge, 1872. 13. ‘Sermon on the Death of the Rev. J. F. D. Maurice, 7 April,’ Cambridge, 1872. 14. ‘Matthew Paris, Historia Major,’ 1872–1884 (Rolls Ser.). 15. ‘List of the Documents in the University Registry from the Year 1266 to the Year 1544,’ Cambridge, 1876. 16. ‘On the Relations between England and Rome during the earlier Portion of the Reign of Henry III,’ Cambridge, 1877. 17. ‘The Unity of the Members of a Material Church: Sermon, 5 Feb.,’ Cambridge, 1888. 18. ‘Flores Historiarum’ (Rolls Ser.), 1890.

[Admission-book of Trinity Coll.; Regs. of the Univ.; Cambridge Antiquarian Society's octavo publications and communications; private information.]

J. W. C-k.