Waldegrave, Robert (DNB00)

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WALDEGRAVE, ROBERT (1554?–1604), puritan printer and publisher, born about 1554, son of Richard Waldegrave or Walgrave of Blockley, Worcestershire, was bound apprentice to William Griffith, stationer, of London, for eight years from 24 June 1568 (Arber, Transcript, i. 372). Waldegrave doubtless took up the freedom of the Stationers' Company in the summer of 1576 (the records for that year are lost). On 17 June 1578 he obtained a license for his first publication (‘A Castell for the Soule’), beginning business in premises near Somerset House in the Strand. He removed for a short time in 1583 to a shop in Foster Lane, and in later years occasionally published books in St. Paul's Churchyard at the sign of the Crane, and in Cannon Lane at the sign of the White Horse. But during the greater part of his publishing career in London he occupied a shop in the Strand.

Waldegrave was a puritan, and from the outset his publications largely consisted of controversial works in support of puritan theology. His customers or friends soon included the puritan leaders in parliament, the church, and the press.

In April 1588 he printed and published, without giving names of author and publisher or place or date, the ‘Diotrephes’ of John Udall [q. v.] The anti-episcopal tract, which was not licensed by the Stationers' Company, was judged seditious by the Star-chamber. The puritanic temper of Waldegrave's publications had already excited the suspicion of the authorities. On 16 April his press was seized, and Udall's tract was found in the printing office with other tracts of like temper. On 13 May the Stationers' Company ordered that, in obedience to directions issued by the Star-chamber, ‘the said books shall be burnte, and the said presse, letters, and printing stuffe defaced and made unserviceable.’ Waldegrave fled from London, and was protected by Udall and by John Penry [q. v.] At the latter's persuasion Waldegrave agreed to print in secret a new and extended series of attacks on episcopacy, which were to be issued under the pseudonym of Martin Mar-Prelate. Securing, with Penry's aid, a new press and some founts of roman and italic type, he began operations at the house of a sympathiser, Mrs. Crane, at East Molesey, near Hampton Court. In June the officers of the Stationers' Company made a vain search for Waldegrave at Kingston. In July he put into type a second tract by Udall, and in November Penry's ‘Epistle,’ the earliest of the Martin Mar-Prelate publications. In this ‘Epistle’ Penry called public attention to the persecution that Waldegrave, who had to support a wife and six children, suffered at the hands of the archbishop of Canterbury and bishop of London.

In the following autumn Waldegrave was arrested and kept in prison for twenty weeks. But no conclusive evidence against him was forthcoming, and he was not brought to trial. On his release he resumed relations with his puritan friends, and in December 1588 he removed his secret press, which had not been discovered, from East Molesey to the house of a patron of the puritan agitators, Sir Richard Knightley, at Fawsley, Northamptonshire. There Waldegrave was known by the feigned name of Sheme or Shamuel, and represented himself as engaged in arranging Knightley's family papers. At Knightley's house Waldegrave printed ‘The Epitome’ of Martin Mar-Prelate. At the end of the year he removed his secret press to the house of another sympathising patron, John Hales, at Coventry, and there he printed three more Martin Mar-Prelate tracts, namely, ‘Mineral Conclusions,’ ‘The Supplication,’ and ‘Ha' you any work for Cooper?’ Of the first two publications Waldegrave printed no fewer than a thousand copies each, with the assistance apparently of only one compositor. Early in April 1589 he set out, it was said, for Devonshire, where it was his intention to print the puritan Cartwright's ‘New Testament against the Jesuits.’ But he did no further work for the Mar-Prelate controversialists in England. His stay in Devonshire was brief, and he seems to have quickly crossed to France, making his way to Rochelle. There he printed in March 1590 Penry's ‘Appellation’ and ‘Some in his Collours’ by Job Throckmorton [q. v.], Penry's friend and protector. In the summer of 1590 Waldegrave settled in Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh Waldegrave pursued his calling for thirteen years with little molestation and with eminent success. James VI at once showed him much favour. Five volumes bearing his name as printer and publisher appeared in Edinburgh with the date 1590. These included ‘The Confession of Faith, subscribed by the Kingis Majestie and his Household;’ and ‘The Sea-Law of Scotland,’ by William Welwood [q. v.] (the earliest treatise on maritime jurisprudence published in Britain); while two works by John Penry, which bore no printer's name, place, or date, certainly came from Waldegrave's Edinburgh press in the same year. In 1591 the king entrusted Waldegrave with the publication of ‘His Majesties Poeticall Exercises at vacant houres.’ Soon afterwards Waldegrave was appointed, for himself and his heirs, ‘the king's printer.’ The first book printed by him in which he gave himself that designation is ‘Onomasticon Poeticum’ (1591), by Thomas Jack, master of the grammar school of Glasgow. Early in 1597 Waldegrave was charged with treasonably printing as genuine a pretended act of parliament ‘for the abolishing of the Actes concerning the Kirk,’ but he was acquitted on the plea that he was the innocent victim of a deception. ‘A Spirituall Propine of a Pastour to his People,’ an early work of James Melville, which was printed by Waldegrave in Edinburgh, bears the date 1589 on the title-page in the only known copy (now in the British Museum); the year is clearly a misprint for 1598. Among the more interesting of Waldegrave's other publications at Edinburgh were: ‘Acts of Parliament past since the coronation of the King's Majesty against the opponents of the True and Christian Religion’ (1593); ‘A Commentary on Revelation, by John Napier of Merchiston,’ the inventor of logarithms (1593); ‘The Problemes of Aristotle, with other Philosophers and Phisitions’ (1595; unique copy in the Bodleian Library); James VI's ‘Dæmonologie’ (1597), his ‘True Law of Free Monarchies’ (1598), and his ‘Basilikon Doron’ (1603); Alexander Montgomerie's ‘The Cherrie and the Sloe’ (1597, two editions); Alexander Hume's ‘Hymnes or Sacred Songs’ (1599); Thomas Cartwright's ‘Answere to the Preface of the Rhemish Testament’ (1602); and William Alexander's ‘Tragedy of Darius’ (1603).

Waldegrave pirated many English publications, among others the Countess of Pembroke's ‘Arcadia’ (1599), Tusser's ‘Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry’ (1599), and Robert Southwell's ‘St. Peters Complaint’ (1600).

Waldegrave seems to have followed James VI to England when he ascended the English throne. On 11 June 1603, after an interval of more than fifteen years, he obtained a license once again for a publication from the Stationers' Company in London. The work was ‘The Ten Commandments with the kinges arms at large quartered as they are.’ Waldegrave seems to have resumed residence in the Strand, but he died within little more than a year of his re-settlement in London (Arber, Transcript, ii. 282). At the close of 1604 his widow sold his patent, which had descended to his heirs, of printer to the king of Scotland. Robert Waldegrave, probably a younger son of the printer, born in September 1596, entered Merchant Taylors' School in 1605 (Robinson, Merchant Taylors' School Register, i. 49). [Arber's Stationers' Co. Reg; Arber's Introductory Sketch to the Martin Mar-Prelate Controversy, 1879; Dickson and Edmond's Annals of Scottish Printing, 1890, pp. 394–475; Pierce's Marprelate Tracts, 1908.]

S. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.273
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
20 ii 4 Waldegrave, Robert: for Blacklay read Blockley
21 ii 23  for Revelations read Revelation