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 produced the name John Haule as a possible candidate for the Schoolmaster Printer.[2] He presented the school with its first printed textbook, the Elegantiolae, which was the first book printed at the press, and he was a printer, probably in St Albans in 1479.[3]


There are eight known printed works which came from the press:[4]

  • Elegantiolae, Augustinus Datus (Agostino Dati, 1420–1478),[5] about 1479. This work was a standard school text of the period, printed in very many editions.[6]
  • 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.[7][8]
  • Quaestiones super Physica Aristotelis, Johannes Canonicus, 1481. The author was writing in the 1320s.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • Scriptum in logica sua, Antonius Andreae, about 1481-82.
  • The Chronicles of England,[11] about 1486. This was an enlarged edition of William Caxton's Chronicles, with additions from the Fasciculus temporum of Werner Rolevinck.[12]
  • 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,[13] owned by St Albans School.


  1. ^ "A bibliography of printing : with notes and illustrations : Bigmore, E. C. (Edward Clements), 1838?-1899". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  2. ^ Debbie White. "St Albans School solves ‘mystery’ of whereabouts of lost centuries-old Latin book - Education - Herts Advertiser". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  3. ^ Charles Ashdown (1908). "The Schoolmaster Printer of St Albans" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  4. ^ "British Library - Incunabula Short Title Catalogue". 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Université catholique de Louvain (1835-1969) (1995). Humanistica Lovaniensia. Leuven University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-90-6186-680-0. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "British Library - Incunabula Short Title Catalogue". 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "Chronicles of England". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  12. ^ George D. Painter, William Caxton (1976), p. 188.
  13. ^ "John Insomuch Schoolmaster Printer (1479) Limited". 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2017-01-26.