Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Toy, Humphrey

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TOY, HUMPHREY (1540?–1577), printer, born probably in London about 1540, was son of Robert Toy, printer, and his wife Elizabeth. Robert Toy (d. 1556) possibly came originally from Wales (cf. Dwnn, Heraldic Visitation of Wales, i. 137), but before 1541 had set up a printing press at the sign of the Bell in St. Paul's Churchyard. From it he issued a 'Prymar of Salisbury Use' in 1541, 'Three Godly Sermons' by William Peryn [q. v.] in 1546, Matthew's folio Bible in 1551, 'Commonplaces of Scripture' by Richard Taverner [q. v.] in 1553, Skelton's 'Why come ye not to Court?' and a reprint of Thynne's edition of Chaucer's works in 1555. He died in February 1555–6, and on the 12th of that month the Stationers' Company attended his funeral, for which his widow Elizabeth paid them 20s. He left several bequests to the company, and his name is still commemorated in the list of its benefactors. His widow carried on the business until 1558, and died in 1568, bequeathing 4l. to the company.

The son, Humphrey, was made free of the Stationers' Company 'by his father's copy on 11 March 1557–8, and came on the livery at the first reviving thereof in 1561' (Ames, Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, p. 933; Arber, Transcript, i. 130). He was a 'renter' in 1561 and 1562, and served as warden from 1571 to 1573. But he seems occasionally to have got into trouble with the company. In 1564 he was fined for keeping his shop open on St. Luke's day (18 Oct.), and more than once for stitching his books, which was contrary to the company's rules. In 1568 he took a prominent part in the dispute between the company and Richard Jugge [q. v.], the queen's printer, about the privilege of printing bibles and testaments (Arber, vol. v. p. xlviii). He removed his press to the sign of the Helmet in St. Paul's Churchyard, and issued from it in 1567 a second edition of Salisbury's 'Playne and Familiar Introduction, teaching how to pronounce the Letters in the Brytishe Tongue, now commonly called Welshe' [see Salisbury, William, 1520?–1600?]. Salisbury in that year took up his residence in Toy's house in order to see through the press his Welsh translation of the New Testament, which was printed at Toy's 'costs and charges,' and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. In 1569 Toy printed Grafton's 'Chronicle,' and in 1571 John Pryse's 'Historiæ Britannicæ Defensio,' which was dedicated to Burghley, with some verses to William Herbert, first earl of Pembroke, and in 1576 'The Fourth Part of the Commentaries of the Civill Warres in France' by Thomas Tymme [q. v.] He died, apparently at Bristol, on 16 Oct. 1577, and was buried there in All Saints' Church, where a handsome monument was erected by his widow Margery, with the following inscription, 'Humfridus Toius, Londinensis, jacet in hoc tumulo, qui obiit 16 Oct. 1577.' His widow carried on the business, but the 'Stationers' Register' is defective for the following years. Arber confuses the printer with Humphrey Toy, a merchant tailor in 1583; another Humphrey Toy was made free of the Stationers' Company on 5 June 1637.

[Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Register, passim; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert and Dibdin; Timperley's Encyclopædia; Corser's Collectanea, ii. 323; Barrett's Bristol, 1789, pp. 442–3.]

A. F. P.