St Albans Press

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The St Albans Press was the third printing press set up in England, in 1479. It was situated in the Abbey Gateway, St. Albans, a part of the Benedictine Monastery of St Albans. The name of the printer is unknown, only referred to by Wynkyn de Worde in a reprinting of one of the St Albans books as 'Sometime schoolmaster'.[1] He has sometimes been identified as John Marchall, master of St Albans School; however, a passage written by Worde in 1497 implies that the printer was deceased, and Marchall is known to have lived until 1501. Recent research has thrown up the name John Huale as a possible candidate for the Schoolmaster Printer. He presented the school with its first printed textbook, the Eligantolae. He was a printer, probably in St Albans in 1479.[2]


There are eight known printed works which came from the press:[3]

  • Elegantiolae, Augustinus Datus (Agostino Dati, 1420–1478),[4] about 1479. This work was a standard school text of the period, printed in very many editions.[5]
  • De modis significandi, seu Grammatica speculativa, Thomas de Erfordia, 1480.
  • Margarita eloquentiae, sive Rhetorica nova, Laurentius Gulielmus Traversanus de Saona, 1480. The author Lorenzo Guglielmo Traversagni (1425–1503) was a Franciscan and humanist, and this work was a shorter version of his book on rhetoric.[6][7]
  • Quaestiones super Physica Aristotelis, Johannes Canonicus, 1481. The author was writing in the 1320s.[8]
  • Exempla Sacrae Scripturae ex utroque Testamento collecta, Nicolaus de Hanapis, 1481. This was a work from the 13th century; the author, a French Dominican, became Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.[9]
  • Scriptum in logica sua, Antonius Andreae, about 1481-82.
  • The Chronicles of England,[10] about 1486. This was an enlarged edition of William Caxton's Chronicles, with additions from the Fasciculus temporum of Werner Rolevinck.[11]
  • Book of Saint Albans (Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Heraldry), not before 1486.

Current usage[edit]

The Press now exists as a holding company, John Insomuch Schoolmaster Printer 1479 Ltd, incorporated 1996,[12] owned by St Albans School.


  1. ^ EC Bigmore, CWH Wyman, A bibliography of printing : with notes and illustrations (1880),
  2. ^ Charles Ashdown (1908). "The Schoolmaster Printer of St Albans" (PDF). 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Peter G. Bietenholz; Thomas Brian Deutscher (2003). Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. University of Toronto Press. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-8020-8577-1. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Université catholique de Louvain (1835-1969) (1995). Humanistica Lovaniensia. Leuven University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-90-6186-680-0. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ University of Leeds, Special Collections, Lorenzo Guglielmo Traversagni, Epitome Margaritae Eloquentia.
  7. ^ British Library, record for Margarita eloquentiae, sive Rhetorica nova.
  8. ^ Edward Grant (29 May 1981). Much Ado About Nothing: Theories of Space and Vacuum from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press. p. 291 note 78. ISBN 978-0-521-22983-8. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Jacques (de Vitry) (1890). The Exempla Or Illustrative Stories from the Sermones Vulgares of Jacques de Vitry. Ayer Publishing. p. xcviii. ISBN 978-0-8337-0715-4. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ George D. Painter, William Caxton (1976), p. 188.
  12. ^ "Company Data".