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Caxton, Williamlocked

(b Kent, ?1427; d London, 1492).
  • Laura Suffield

Extract

(b Kent, ?1427; d London, 1492).

English printer, publisher, translator, and merchant. In 1437–8 he entered the London Mercers’ Company, apprenticed to wool merchant Robert Large after whose death (1441) he moved to Bruges, where he established a position of considerable prestige in the English trading community; in 1462 he became governor of the settlement of English merchants in Bruges known as the English Nation and subsequently entered the service of Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy. Several documents refer to Caxton’s diplomatic activities. In 1469 he began a translation of Raoul Le Fèvres’s Recueil des histoires de Troye, which he completed in 1471 in Cologne, where he also learnt the trade and art of printing; however, his first books were probably printed in Bruges, to which he returned probably in early 1473. On his return to England he set up the first printing press in the country in the precincts of Westminster Abbey. His earliest dated London work is an ecclesiastical indulgence dated ...

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