1508 - Earliest dated Scottish book

The only known copies of the nine earliest books printed in Scotland are bound together in this volume. Shown here is the earliest dated item, printed in Edinburgh 'the fourth day of ap[er]ile the yhere of god. M.CCCCC. and viii. yheris' (4 April 1508). Printing reached Scotland not from England (where the first book was printed in 1476) but from France, where Scots authors had traditionally had their books printed.

The nine books - little poetical pamphlets - were all printed in or about 1508 at Scotland's first printing press. This had been set up in Edinburgh's Southgait (now Cowgate) by Walter Chepman, a wealthy Edinburgh merchant, and Androw Myllar, an Edinburgh bookseller, possibly at the instigation of William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen. Myllar had previously worked with printers in France (his windmill 'logo' was used in a book printed in Rouen in 1506), and from there he had brought type - and probably skilled workmen - to set up a press in Scotland after the granting of a patent, or licence, by King James IV in September 1507.

The contents of the entire volume can be viewed at www.nls.uk/firstscottishbooks/.

John Lydgate. The maying and disport of Chaucer. Edinburgh: Walter Chepman and Andro Myllar, 1508. Sa. 6.

Earliest dated Scottish Book


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