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William Caxton

A picture of William Caxton

About William Caxton

The first English printer.

He was born in Kent, probably at Tenterden, about 1422, and was apprenticed in 1438 to Robert Large, a London mercer who was Lord Mayor in 1439-40. On his master's death in 1441, he went to Bruges, and became in 1462 governor of a Chartered Association of English Merchants in the Low Countries. In 1471 he attached himself to the household of Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, the sister of Edward IV; and apparently towards the end of 1476 he set up his wooden printing press at Westminster.

The art of printing he had acquired in Bruges, doubtless from the famous Colard Mansion: and in 1474 he put through the press at Bruges the first book printed in the English tongue, the Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye : The Game and Playe of Chess was another of Caxton's earliest publications; but the Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers (1477) is the first book proved to have been printed in England. Of the 99 known distinct productions of his press, no less than 38 survive in unique copies or in fragments only. Caxton enjoyed the patronage and friendship of some of the chief men of his time. He was diligent in the exercise of his craft or in translation till wthin a few hours of his death, about the close of 1491.

Other famous people alive at the time of William Caxton

King Henry VIIIBorn 28th June 1491, died 28th January 1547 aged 55

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