Charteris, Henry (d.1599) (DNB00)

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CHARTERIS, HENRY, the elder (d. 1599), Scottish printer, was originally a bookseller in Edinburgh. The first edition of Sir David Lyndsay's works was printed at the expense of Charteris by John Scot, in black letter, 1568. In an interesting preface Charteris mentions that he had seen ‘the pleasant Satyre of the Three Estates when it was playit besyde Edinburgh in 1544, and that he sat for nine hours on the bank at Greenside’ to witness what was the last performance of that and probably of any play in Scotland prior to the Reformation. He printed himself other editions of Lyndsay in 1582, 1588, 1592, and 1597, and the ‘Historie of ane Nobil and Wailze and Squyre W. Meldrum,’ by the same author, in 1594. In 1582 he was one of the bailies of Edinburgh, and in 1589 one of thirteen commissioners appointed by the convention to meet weekly to consult as to the defence of the reformed religion. In 1596 he printed the ‘Confession of Faith’ in folio. His other known publications are the ‘Testament of Cresseide,’ by Robert Henryson, 1593; the ‘Psalms of David,’ and a ‘Summe of the Whole Catechisme,’ 1581; ‘Ane Fruitfull Meditatioun conteining ane plane and facill expositioun of ye 7, 8, 9 and 10 versis of the 20 chap. of the Revelatioun, in forme of ane Sermone’ (b. l.), 1588; ‘James I. Ane Meditatioun upon the xxv. xxvi. xxvii. xxviii. and xxix. verses of the xv. chapt. of the first buke of the Chronicles of the Kingis’ (b. l.), 1589 (both of these works were by James VI); ‘Prayers vsed commonlie in the Kirk of Scotland . . . The Psalmes of David in metre . . . The Catechisme, made by J. Caluine . . . A Treatise of Fasting . . . The Odour of Excommunicatioun,’ 5 parts, 1595–1596, 8vo; ‘Robertsoni (Georgii) Vita: et Mortis D. Roberti Rolloci . . . Narratio,’ 1599; ‘Acts of the Scots Parliament, 24 Oct. 1581’ (b. l.), H. Charteris, Edinburgh, 1582. His curious will, in which he is designated ‘Henry Charterhous, printer, burgess of Edinburgh,’ is in the collection of wills of Scottish printers in the ‘Bannatyne Miscellany,’ ii. 223. From this it appears that he left the option of carrying on his business to his eldest son, Henry [q. v.] and, if he declined, to his son Robert. Henry, who had been a regent of the university since 1589, declined, and Robert took up the business, in which he does not appear to have been successful, for he lost, in 1612, the patent of king’s printer on account of his having been put to the horn for debt. The testament dative of his wife, Margaret Wallace, in 1603, is in the same collection of wills, and the bibles and psalm-books, as well as the editions of the treatise of Rollock, the first principal of the university, mentioned in both inventories, were no doubt printed by the press of Charteris. Being a bookseller as well as a printer, it is uncertain whether the other works mentioned in Charteris's inventory were published by him. Some of them are definitely stated to have been printed elsewhere or by other printers. The value of his stock was estimated at 5,872l. 12s., and of the debts due to him 1,387l. 12s. 8d., of course Scots money, but still showing that the business of a bookseller and printer was a profitable one.

[Charteris's edition of Sir D. Lyndsay's Works; Bannatyne Miscellany, ii. 235.]

Æ. M.