Samuel Ryder – Patron of the Ryder Cup

Samuel Ryder

Samuel Ryder was born in Preston Lancashire on 24th March in 1858. He was the son of a Manchester corn merchant and was educated at Manchester University.

Ryder joined the family business and worked for his father in Manchester. He came up with the idea of selling penny seed packets to gardeners, a plan his father had little time for so in 1895 he moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire where he later established the very sucessful Heath and Heather Seed Company.

In 1905 Ryder’s star was on the rise, a very successful businessman, he was elected Mayor of St Albans. Unfortunately his health suffered due to overwork and doctors prescribed fresh air and light exercise as part of the cure. He was encouraged to take up golf. Ryder at first spurned the idea as he was reared on cricket but later relented and engaged the services of Hill (a local professional golfer) to teach him the rudiments of the sport. Having had a taste of golf he then pursued it with a passion. Ryder employed the golf star Abe Mitchell as his exclusive instructor at an annual fee of £1,000. Ryder then undertook a rigorous golf regimen and practised six days a week for a year at his home, Marlborough House.

By age 51, he boasted a six handicap and joined the Verulam Golf Club in St Albans in 1910. Within a year he was elected Captain of the club, and later held the title in 1926 and ’27. He sponsored a Heath and Heather Tournament in 1923, which was restricted to professionals.

He became so enthusiastic about the game that he agreed to sponsor the Ryder Cup a solid gold trophy for a biennial golf championship between the best of professional golfers in the USA and the UK – this competition is know as the Ryder Cup Matches

Samuel Ryder died on Jan 2nd 1936 and is buried in Hatfield Cemetery.

20 Responses to “Samuel Ryder – Patron of the Ryder Cup”

  1. Marie Hoffman says:

    I read the brief biography of Samuel Ryder with great interest as I anticipate all of the Ryder Cup events.

    Are you aware of the spelling and grammatical errors in the article?

    Paragraph 3:
    – rignorous (s/b rigorous)
    – “Unfortunately, his health suffered from ill health”…how about, “his health suffered”…..

    I hope this is helpful. I hope someone cares enough to make the corrections.

    Thank you.

    Marie Hoffman

  2. John says:

    Hi Marie

    Much appreciated – changes made as suggested…


    John Prendergast

  3. John Farrer says:

    Very interesting article. I live in Bovingdon in Herts and we have a number of the Ryder family buried in our churchyard, as well as a Ryder memorial in the village. Are these Ryders connected?

  4. Jane Knight says:

    Looking at the history of the Cup, I understand that Joan Ryder was the last famiy member to attend in 1985, at The De Vere Belfry? I am surprised that the Ryder family are no longer present at the event.

  5. P.Smith says:

    i have a 1936 Ryder cup diary which was left me by my late father & wondered if their is a library or memrobilia section of which this may be of use

  6. Harold Cresswell says:

    Ihave in my posession a silver medal inscribed presented by Ryder&son seed merchants St Albans on the reverse is i believe a coat of arms of St Albans could you tell me the history of it

  7. Laura smith says:

    Samuel ryder is my great great uncle and we have tried to get tickets to the event. i am a smith but ryder goes back a few generations but there is no more ryders alive on my side of the family.

  8. dl struwe says:

    What golf club was Samuel Ryder buried with?

  9. jason l. says:

    he was burried with his 5-iron.

  10. Rosemary Shewry says:

    Samuel Ryder is buried at Hatfield Road Cemetery, St Albans, Herts. AL1 4LU not Hatfield Cemetery.

  11. Kathy Barkley says:

    what is Samuel Ryder’s middle name?

  12. Heather says:

    Samuel Ryder is a relation of mine. My Gran’s mother, her brother was Samuel.

  13. Ann Schafer says:

    He may not have had one. My Grandpa was a brother of Sam Ryder and he did not have a middle name, nor did any of his six children. It may have been the custom of the time.

  14. Grace Ryder says:

    My great, great grandfather is Samuel Ryder! I’ve been finding stuff about him for years. I’m so happy I found something usefull to learn from. He was an amazing man.

  15. Kathleen Elliott says:

    Samuel Ryder does not have a middle name, his birth registry is just Samuel, what makes you think he has one

  16. We have created a web page and an image of the Samuel Ryders grave can be seen.

  17. carole hunter (nee johnson) says:

    My dad, Ronald Johnson had an aunt who married jack Ryder, her name was Grace Williams, they had 2 daughters, he lost contact after the war, when he married and stayed in Liverpool, he’s now 86, it would be great if anyone could give us any contacts.

  18. Tom Martell says:


    My name is Tom Martell and my grandmother is Ruby Evelyn Ryder. She was born in West Ham in 1918. Her mother is listed as Williams (so I am assuming Grace and father Jack. I remember going to visit an Auntie Phil in Polegate near Eastbourne this would be the other daughter.

    Would be great to catch up and see if this is correct

    Tom Martell

  19. Carole Hunter(nee Johnson) says:

    Hi Tom,

    My dad tells me his aunt Grace had 2 daughters, Phyllis and Ruby, his mum was Jessica Williams, she had 5 sons, Frank, Harry, Ron, George, and i think Jack, they used to holiday at the Ryder house which he remembers as a big mansion, and the first car he sat in was a rolls royce. We used to go there now and again but i was only baby, my older sisters probably remember more, hope u find that helpfull.

  20. Ann Schafer says:

    I wonder how a great granddaughter came to have the name Ryder, when Sam Ryder had no sons to carry on his name. Did she just happen to marry someone with that name?

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