The son of James Hurdis of Sussex, James Hurdis attended St. Mary Hall as a Gentleman-commoner (Demy of Magdalen 1782, B.A. 1785, M.A. 1787, Fellow 1788-1800, D.D. 1797). He was tutor for the Earl of Chichester (1784), Vicar of Bishopstone, Sussex (1791-1801), and Professor of Poetry at Oxford (1793-1801). Hurdis, who edited Drayton's Heroical Epistles, was a friend Henry Headley. He knew William Hayley and corresponded with William Cowper, whose poetry he imitates. Hurdis died before reaching the age of forty.
England's heroical epistles [Michael Drayton], ed. Hurdis. 1788.
The village curate, a poem. 1789.
Adriano: or the first of June, a poem. 1790.
A dissertation on Genesis i.21. 1790.
Cursory remarks upon the arrangement of the plays of Shakespeare. 1792.
Sir Thomas More: a tragedy. 1792.
Reflections upon the commencement of a new year. 1793.
Select critical remarks upon the ten first chapters of Genesis. 1793.
Tears of affliction: a poem. 1794.
A poem on the marriage of the Prince of Wales. 1795.
Lectures shewing the several sources of pleasure from poetry. 1797.
On the nature and occasion of psalm and prophesy. 1800.
The favourite village. 1800.
A word or two in vindication of the University of Oxford. 1800?
Poems [ed. William Hayley?]. 3 vols, 1808.
The Village curate, and other poems. 1810.
Letters ... to William Cowper, ed. J. F. Tattersall. 1927.