The King's Printers: Monopolies, Business, and Lawsuits

Graham Rees and Maria Wakely

in Publishing, Politics, and Culture

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199576319
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722233 | DOI:
The King's Printers: Monopolies, Business, and Lawsuits

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This chapter details the activities of four men as they were carried on through five intertwined business arrangements. The four men are Robert Barker (1570-1645), and the three Salopians John Bill (1576-1630), John Norton (1556/7-1612), and his cousin Bonham Norton (1564-1635). The businesses included: (i) a London and continental book-trade partnership established by the Salopians in 1603; (ii) a semi-detached overseas operation in which Bill and the Nortons acted with certain German and other continental associates; (iii) a Bible syndicate which the Nortons and Bill used as a front organization in their attempt to gain control of the Bible trade; (iv) the office of King's Printer in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; and finally, (v) another and quite separate office of King's Printer, whose monopoly encompassed the main official English-language publications — including, above all, vernacular versions of the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and royal proclamations. This last business involved bitter disputes between Bill, Bonham Norton, and Barker and his sons; disputes which went on well into the reign of Charles I.

Keywords: King's Printing House; printing trade; Robert Barker; John Bill; John Norton; Bonham Norton; joint-stock partnership

Chapter.  10558 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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