The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas


Stationers. 47.


. on a chevron , between bibles laying fessewise gu. garnished, leaved, and clasped of the (i. e. clasps downwards) an eagle rising , inclosed by roses seeded , barbed ; from the top of the chief a demi-circle of glory, edged with clouds ; therein a dove displayed over the head a circle of the last. . A bible open , clasped and garnished .

Verbum domine manet in aeternum.

This company had existed as a fraternity long previous to the invention of printing, but were not regularly incorporated till the reign of Philip and Mary, when, on the , a charter was granted to the members, for the purpose, as it would seem by the preamble, of making them the court tools in fettering the liberty of the press, and preventing the circulation of all writings that exposed the errors of the Romish church.

Know ye,

says this curious instrument,

that we, considering and manifestly perceiving that several seditious and heretical books, both in verse and prose, are daily published, stamped, and printed, by divers scandalous, schismatical, and heretical persons, not only exciting our subjects and liege-men to sedition and disobedience against us, our crown, and dignity, but also to the renewal and propagating very great and detestable heresies against the faith and sound Catholic doctrine of our Holy Mother, the church, and being willing to provide a proper remedy in this case, we, of our own special favour, certain knowledge, and mere motion, do will, give, and grant, to our beloved and faithful liegemen, &c. freemen of the mystery or art of a stationer of our city of London, and the suburbs thereof, that from henceforth they may be in deed, fact, and name,


body of itself, for ever, and


society corporate for ever, with


master, and


keepers or wardens-and that they may enjoy a perpetual succession.

Among the subsequent enactments in this charter which was confirmed by queen Elizabeth, and afterwards by act of parliament in the reign of William and Mary, are the following:

That no person within the kingdom of England, or dominions thereof, either by himself, or by his journeymen, servants, or by any other person, shall practise or exercise the art or mystery of printing, or stamping any book, or any thing to be sold, or bargained for, within this our kingdom of England, or the dominions

thereof, unless the same person is or shall be


of the society of the aforesaid mystery or art of a stationer of the city aforesaid, at the time of his aforesaid printing or stamping; or has for that purpose obtained our license, or the license of the heirs and successors of our aforesaid queen. That the aforesaid master and keepers or wardens, and their successors for the time being, shall very lawfully as well search, as often as they please, any place, shop, house, chamber, or building, of any stamper, printer, binder, or seller, of any manner of books within our kingdom of England, and dominions thereof, concerning or for any books or things printed, or stamped, or to be printed or stamped, as seize, take away, have, burn, or convert to the proper use of the said society, all and singular those books and those things, which are or shall be printed or stamped contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made, or to be made.

In the year of Elizabeth, the stationers had the grant of a livery, and were directed

to prepare and make ready the same liverys with speed, so that they may from henceforth attend and wait upon the lord mayor of this city at all common shews,

&c. years afterwards, namely, in -, a precept was sent by the lord mayor, requiring the master and wardens, and of the comeliest personages of the company, to attend him at the Park corner, above St. James's, on horseback, in velvet coats, chains of gold, and with staff torches, to wait on the queen

for the recreating of her majesty

in her progress from to . Similar precepts for the attendance of the most


men of the company have also since been directed to the masters and wardens in different reigns.

James the , by his letters patent, dated at Harfield, , granted to the stationers' company the privilege of the sole printing of

all manner of bookes and bookes of Prymers, Psalters, and Psalms, in meter, or prose, with musycall notes or without notes, both in great volumes and in small, in the English tonge,

as well as all manner of

almanackes and prognostycacions whatsoever in the English tonge, and all manner of bookes

and pamphletts tendynge to the same purpose.

By another charter dated at , , the same monarch confirmed his former grant to the stationers, and established them in the sole right of printing

the Psalms of David in English meetre, and notes to singe them; the A, B, C, with the little catechisme, and the catechisme in English and Latine, by Alexander Nowell,

all which had been already transferred to the company under a grant made by queen Elizabeth: he also gave them liberty to make the necessary laws and ordinances for the due maintenance of their privileges.

The sole right of printing almanacks was long maintained by this company; but in the early part of the last reign, after a strenuously-contested litigation in the courts of law, a Mr. Thomas Carnan, bookseller, in , obtained a legal decision against the exclusive privilege of the stationers; and the printing of almanacks was in consequence left open to the public at large. The prior possession of the trade, however, the holding of all the popular copyrights, and the low rates at which their almanacks are retailed, have contributed to secure to the company almost as general a sale as if their previous monopoly had been established; and the publication of these annual calendars forms a very productive branch of the revenue.

The entry of printed books on the registers of the stationers' company, which is attended by the payment of a small sum, and the deposit of copies of the work entered, secures protection from piracy, under pain of certain specific penalties.

It is a livery company governed by a master, wardens, and assistants.

The hall of this company is a handsome edifice, situated on the west side of Stationers'-hall-court, .


[] Mal. Lond. Red. vol. iv. 383.

[] The expenses attending the obtaining of this charter, are thus particularized in the books of the company: The chargis layde oute for oure Corporation. Fyrste, for two tymes wrytinge of our boke before yt was sygned be the kinge and the quene's majestie's highnes0180 Item, for the syngned and the prevy seale668 Item, for the great seale890 Item, for the wrytinge and inrolynge300 Item, for wax, lace, and examinacion034 Item, to the clerkes for expedycion0100 Item, for lymnynge and for the skin100

[] See the Precept at large in queen Elizabeth's Progresses, vol. iii. p. xv.

[] Brayley's Hist. of London ii. p. 433.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London