Following my various posts on the use of “hedge-” as a derogatory prefix meaning “humble” or “of low origins” I was interested to find this usage buried in a 1922 book called A Dictionary Of The Printers And Booksellers Who Were At Work In England, Scotland And Ireland From 1668 To 1725 by Henry R. Plomer.
MALTHUS (SARAH), bookseller in London, London House Yard, at the West End of St. Paul’s, i7oo(?)-i7o6. Widow of Thomas Malthus. Her only entries in the Term Catalogues were made in 1704: The Royal Diary (William Ill’s) and Dunton’s New Practice of Piety. [T.C. ill. 397-8.] She was then at London House Yard. Dunton speaks of her kindly in 1703 in his Life and Errors, and as if she was then newly set up in business, and she published the book two years later ; but by 1706 he had quarrelled with her. He accuses her of slandering him in The Wandering Spy ; she attached his goods for debt, and he abused her violently in The Whipping Post, 1706, calling her “a hedge-publisher”, “the famous publisher of Grub-street News”, &c.
(Bold added for emphasis)
As a publisher myself I’d be happy enough to be called a hedge-publisher, though when the book comes out (in May, just being typeset now) I might be presumptuous enough to start calling myself a “hedge-professor” instead…