William Salesbury and Welsh Printing in London Before 1557

  • Geraint Evans
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


William Salesbury is one of the most celebrated figures in Welsh history. He was, as R. Brinley Jones has said, “the outstanding example of the Welsh Renaissance scholar” whose “genius for matching the new with the old” allowed him to straddle the eras of manuscript and print and help to create a modern, standard, national language for Wales, as Luther had done for Germany.1 Yet Salesbury’s most significant connection as a scholarly pioneer in the new world of print lies not with early modern Wales, but with London.


Sixteenth Century Book Trade Book Print Book Production Henry VIII 
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    William Salesbury, The description of the sphere or the frame of the worlde: right worthy to be red and studyed on of all noble wyttes. Spetyally of all those that be desyrous to attayne any perfect knowledge in cosmographie /Englysshed by me Wyllyam Salysbury (London: Robert Wyer, 1550); STC 20398.7, 20399. There were two editions in the same year, see W. A. Mathias, “Gweithiau William Salesbury,” Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society (1952): 137. Salesbury probably used Thomas Linacre, Procli Diadochi SphaeraT. L.Interprete… (London: Richard Pynson, 1522). Between the 1522 edition and Salesbury’s 1550 translation there were a number of editions printed in London and elsewhere, often under the title De Sphaera. The London editions of 1536, 1539, 1547, and 1549 contained both the Greek text and Linacre’s Latin version.Google Scholar
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    William Salesbury, The baterie of the Popes botereulx, commonly called the High Altare (London: R. Grafton for Robert Crowley, 1550); STC 21613. See also Glanmor Williams, “William Salesbury’s Baterie of the Popes Botereulx,” Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 13.3 (1949): 146–50.Google Scholar
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    Parts of Westminster Abbey also survive from this period. For Ely Place and St. Ethelreda’s see Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 4: North (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1998), 260–61, 300.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ruth Kennedy and Simon Meecham-Jones 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geraint Evans

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