The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
This company had their hall in , from whence they removed to college, at the south-west corner of church-yard. The company purchased the site; and about
, adopted the old building to their own purposes. The chapel was converted into an armoury and a warehouse. It was afterwards converted into the Feathers-tavern; and covered the spot now occupied by the garden of the deanery.
The late highly respected and amiable John Nichol, esq. F. S. A. who was master of this company in , published considerable extracts from their archives in his
From this authentic source, the following extracts are made:--
The wardens of the company, in their accompts from
| to , charged |
and in their next audit,
The fitting up of the new hall (which was a large building) was defrayed by the voluntary subscriptions of the several members. Among other benefactions, glazed windows were contributed; and also the wainscoting both of the parlour and the council-chamber.
Several sums were received for the occasional use of the hall for different public purposes.
[This sum in subsequent years was ]
The building, when fitted up, consisted of a hall, sufficiently capacious for the Wardmote Inquest, a great parlour, a council-chamber (in which were historical paintings, and at least portraits), kitchen, buttery, and several warehouses; over which were rooms let out to different tenants; among whom were, in , John Pont, who paid annually ; John Walley, for chamber, ; William Seres, for a cellar,
Seres was afterwards times elected master of the company.
Though unable to describe the exterior of this hall, the records of the company contain a particular account of its furniture in .
The expence of the public dinner at the hall, in , is also thus preserved:--
The charges of our denner as followeth; that is to saye,
The company of stationers do not appear to have had any authority granted them with relation to printed books, as an incorporated body, till they received their charter, dated the , in the and of Philip and Mary, by the title of
by which they obtained an inquisitorial right upon all literary compositions, and might search houses for any books which they deemed obnoxious to the state, or their own interest; and might seize, burn, take away, destroy, or convert to their own use, whatever they might deem printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation made or to be made.
The copy of a book entered is in ,
--Richard Waye was then master, and again in .
-, the fellowship of the company were permitted, by the court of aldermen, to wear a livery gowne and livery hood, in such decent and comly wise and order as the other companies and fellowships of the city; and ordered to prepare them to attend the lord mayor on public occasions; and in ,
In , a considerable sum was laid out for enlarging and translating, with the making a payre of new stairs in the hall. And in the same year
In , a subscription was raised, among the members of the company,
In , the feasts of the company were restrained by order of common council.
In , some certain persons endeavoured to obtain from the queen a privilege for the sole printing of all ballads, damask paper, and books in prose or metre, from the quantity of sheet of
|paper to and . The company of stationers made a petition to the lord treasurer, for stay of this; setting forth, that it would be the overthrow of a multitude of families; and that by the imprinting of these the company was chiefly maintained ; so as if the same were taken away from them by way of privilege, they should be utterly undone ; whereof if the queen were advertised. they were sure she would not pass such a grant. Wherefore they prayed the treasurer, who had aforetime always been favourable to them in all their causes, that he would acquaint the queen with the premises, and be a means that the said privilege might not be granted. Other privileges there were, which the queen sometimes had granted to some stationers for their property in certain copies; whereby all others were abridged from printing the same; and some of these copies, such as before were indifferently printed by any of that calling, to the great sustentation of them and their families; which advantage was by these privileges taken from them. Thus, John Jugge, besides the being her majesty's printer, had the privilege for printing of Bibles and Testaments; the which had been common to all the printers. Richard Totthill, the printing of all kind of law books (common before to all printers) who sold the same books at excessive prices, to the hindrance of a great number of poor students. John Day, the printing of the A B C, and the catechism, with the sole selling of them, by colour of a commission. These books were the only relief of the poorest sort of that company. James Roberts and Richard Watkins, the printing of all almanacks and prognostications; the which was also the chief relief of the poorest of the printers. Thomas Marsh had a great licence for Latin books, used in the grammar schools of England; the which was the general living of the whole company of stationers. Thomas Vantroller, a stranger, had the sole printing of other Latin books, as the New Testament and others. Byrde, a singing man, had a licence for printing all music books; and by that means claimed the printing of ruled paper. William Seres had a privilege for the printing of all psalters, all manner of primers, English or Latin, and all manner of Prayer Books, with the reversion of the same to his son. Francis Flower, a gentleman, being none of the company, had privilege of printing the grammar, and other things; and had farmed it out to some of the company for by the year; which was raised in the enhancing of the prices above the accustomed order. This, as a grievance, many of the company complained of, being now in number in the city ; and of these came to their freedoms since queen Elizabeth's access to the crown. So much did printing and learning come into request under the reformation.|
, the lords of the Star-chamber affirmed and confirmed their former laws, empowering them to search into bookbinders-shops, as well as printing-offices, for unlawful or heretical books, and take up the offenders.
-. A precept from the lord mayor, requiring the master, 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,
in her progress from to .
In the accompts of are the following entries:
The chapel in was leased to Mr. Bishop for a year; and a room on the south side of the yard, next the great warehouse, towards the street, was (in ) allowed to the clerk, for the company's business.
, the company obtained the king's letters patent for the sole printing of primers, psalms, almanacks, &c. in English, for the help and relief of them and their successors for ever.
In or about the year , the company thought proper to remove from their old hall to the situation they now occupy; and on the in that year, the purchase of Bergavenny house was ordered to be paid for from the stock of the partners in the privilege. That house is thus described :--
In , an annual sermon, with cakes, wine, and ale, for the company, on Ash-Wednesday, was established by the will of alderman John Norton.
In , feasting was restrained for months, by order of the lord mayor.
In , a precept was issued by the court of aldermen, ordering livery gowns to be decently faced with fur. The number of livery then .
In , the company's plate was pledged, to raise towards
|a loan to king Charles I.; and in , bills of sale of plate were sealed with the common seal, to Dr. Eden, Walter Terrill, and John Burrage, for each.|
, the company were called upon for as their quota of expended by the city for pageants and other solemnities, and beautifying the city, against the late entrance-time of his majesty passing through the same for his coronation, and for other necessary and public service of the city.
In , the company of stationers contributed towards the repairs of .
In , it having been noticed that some of the assistants, and others of the livery, came to the hall in falling bands, doublets slashed and cut, or other indecent apparel, not suitable to the habit of citizens; it was ordered that the assistants do come to the hall on court-days in ruff bands.
was published by authority; restraining the number of printers to , besides his majesty's printer, and the printers allowed for the Universities. The letter founders were, at the same time, restored to .
In , the several companies were required to lend to the king; of which the stationers' quota was and in , in like manner, towards which they paid l In , they were called on to pay a week for months, besides for a royal subsidy. To defray these heavy charges, all their plate was sold, except Mr. Hulet's standing cup, the white plate at an ounce, parcel of gilt plate at and another at
In , ounces of plate were pledged for to answer the assessment of a week for months.
In , a precept occurs, from the lord mayor, ordering the company to substitute the arms of the commonwealth for those of the late king; and to remove the king's picture and all monarchial arms out of the hall.
, the court after the fire of London was held at Cooks' hall; and afterwards at St. Bartholomew's hospital, in the Lame Hospital hall.
. All the ruined ground, as well belonging to the hall as to other tenements of the company destroyed by the late dreadful fire, to be forthwith cleared, and measured.
. A precept was received, to attend the lord mayor, for receiving his majesty's pleasure about rebuilding the company's hall.
. The application of a nonconformist minister, with the elders of his church, for the use of the company's hall as a meeting-place for their congregation, was refused.
In , on account of the public funeral of the gallant and ever-to-be-lamented lord Nelson, the master and wardens, with of the senior members of the company, attended the solemn
|procession by water, on the , in their barge, from Greenwich to .|
The present hall is a plain building of brick; it as substantially repaired, cased with stone, and modernized, in the year , by the late Robert Mylne, esq. Before it is a paved court-yard, inclosed by a handsome iron railing, with gates. The front exhibits a range of large arched windows, an ornamented entrance, and a neat cornice with pannels of bas reliefs above. The basement story, and some other parts of the fabric,
On the left, is a flight of steps leading to the hall, or great room, which has an elegant carved screen of the composite order at the entrance, and is surrounded by an oak wainscoting. The light is admitted through lofty windows, sashed on each side; and at the north end is a large arched window entirely filled with painted glass, and the border and variegated fan of which are extremely vivid and resplendent. This, with the exception of
was the gift of Thomas Cadell, esq. a late eminent bookseller, who was sheriff of London in . It is composed of compartments, filled with the arms of the city, the royal arms, the company's arms, and crest, the arms of the donor, and beautiful emblematical figures from designs by Smirke; of them indicative of
and the other of
All the modern painted glass in this window was executed by Mr. Egginton, of Birmingham, and is a very admirable specimen of his ability in the art. On festival days, the company's plate is ranged on an antique cup-board in this apartment. Above the screen is a large painting representing
This was given by Mr. alderman Boydell, in , and has been engraved.
The court room is a spacious apartment, to which another was added in . The former is divided from the latter by elegant columns of scagliola marble. This noble apartment is lighted by large windows, and an elegant lanthorn at the west end; the widows are hung with crimson curtains, festooned, and overlook a pleasant garden. The ceiling is coved, and richly ornamented with stucco-work; it rises from an elegant composite cornice, and from the centre is suspended a large chandelier of cut glass. The chimney-piece, which is composed of variegated marbles, has a beautifully enriched frieze, finely sculptured with fruits and flowers in the boldest relief, and similar decorations are extended to the cornice in various tasteful and picturesque forms. At the west end of this apartment is a fine painting by West, of
This picture was presented to the company in the year by the late alderman Boydell,
|(who published a fine engraving from it, by Sharpe,) and whose own portrait hangs on the right of the chimney-piece, and was also given by him in , in which year this gentleman passed through his mayoralty. On the opposite side of the apartment is a portrait (by Owen) of sir W. Domville, bart. in his civic costume, as he appeared at the fete given by the city to the allied sovereigns, in . Here, also, are other portraits of William Strahan, esq. , by sir Joshua Reynolds, and Andrew Strahan, esq. M. P. , by Owen.|
In the Stock Room, which opens from the hall, and in which the
are the following portraits:--Tycho Wing, the celebrated Almanackmaker, represented with lively and expressive features, his right hand on a celestial sphere, an open collar, and over his shoulders a loose drapery: Matthew Prior,
a clever picture, in which the poet and statesman is depicted with an animated countenance, wearing a cap and crimson gown: Bishop Hoadly, sitting a half length, well painted, and habited as dean of the order of the Garter; this was painted at the charge of the late William Wilkins, esq. citizen and stationer, and was bequeathed by him to the company, to whom it devolved in : sir Richard Steele, his collar open, and on his head a velvet cap: William Bowyer, the elder, printer: Robert Nelson, esq. author of several pious and admonitory publications, a fine and engaging portrait by sir Godfrey Kneller: archbishop Chicheley, a curious old picture, on board. The portraits of Prior and Steele formed part of the collection of Edward earl of Oxford, and are supposed to have been executed by Kneller; they were presented to the stationers by the late J. Nichols, esq. as were also those of Bowyer, Nelson, and Chicheley. At the east end of the room is a clever bust of William Bowyer, the younger,
He died in , at the age of ; and the bust here preserved was modelled from a mask taken after his decease. He bequeathed to the company the interest of upon trust, for the benefit of aged
(to be elected by the master, wardens, and assistants;) and of a further for the use of such journeyman compositor as should have a competent knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages, and be upwards of years of age.
Besides the above bequests, various others have been made to this company for charitable purposes; and much advantage is also derived from the produce of the sale of Almanacks, and the joint stock, or capital, connected with it, which is divided into shares, half-shares, quarter-shares, and half-quarter shares, and held by different classes of its members. The freemen are numerous, and includes stationers, printers, booksellers, bookbinders, &c. The company's hall, has been frequently the scene of musical concerts,
|feasts, and convivial meetings, exclusive of those peculiar to the society. An outlet from the hall into , has been formed, through a dwelling-house, at the expense of the company.|
On the east side of , Blackfriars, is
 Vide, ante, p. 364.
 It is to be regretted that the city companies do not allow extracts of an historical nature to be made from their archives; the illustrations that would be afforded to the history, manners, customs, and policy of our ancestors, would be immense. It reflects also great discredit on numerous masters of companies, possessed of unbounded wealth, and possessing the power of publishing separate histories of their companies, that with the exception of the above work, nothing has been done respecting the remaining ninety companies! It is to be hoped that on the completion of the labours of the record commission some notice will be taken in parliament of the public stores of information hoarded up in the city, and which (without trenching on the rights and privileges of the corporation) ought to be printed, if only to illustrate our national history.
 Vol. iii, p. 545.
 Stowe, ed. 1618, p, 649.
 Engraved in Hansard's Typographia.