Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lekprevick, Robert

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Robert Lekpreuik in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

LEKPREVICK, ROBERT (fl. 1561–1581), Scottish printer, is of unknown parentage, but the name, though uncommon, is Scottish. In 1561 he printed at Edinburgh the Confession of Faith authorised by the estates of the Scottish parliament in that year. He was the principal printer of the reformed party in Scotland, nearly all the ballads, pamphlets, proclamations, and broadsides on their behalf being sent forth from his press. In December 1562 he obtained a loan of 200l. from the kirk to aid him in printing the Psalms. In 1565 he was authorised by a letter under the great seal to print the acts of Queen Mary's and of her predecessor's parliaments, and also the Psalms of David in metre. The murder of Darnley and the following events kept his press very busy. After Mary's imprisonment in Lochleven he was formally appointed king's printer for twenty years. On 14 April 1568 he also received special license to ‘print the Inglis Bibell aftir the Geneva version for twenty years to come,’ but either on account of his poverty or the unsettled condition of the country, the work, if begun, was never completed. In 1569 the kirk assigned him 50l., to be paid yearly out of the thirds of the kirk (Buik of the Universal Kirk, i. 164). At the instance of Maitland of Lethington, Kirkaldy of Grange on 14 April 1571 sent Captain Melville from the castle to search Lekprevick's house for Buchanan's ‘Chamæleon,’ which Maitland suspected had been printed there. Lekprevick having, however, been warned of the purposed visit, made his escape, carrying with him ‘such things as he feared should have hurt him’ (Richard Bannatyne, Memorials, p. 110). For a short time he carried on his work at Stirling, where he printed Buchanan's ‘Admonition to the True Lords.’ Shortly after Knox's arrival in St. Andrews, in May 1571, he followed him thither, and here James Melville ‘first saw that excellent art of printing’ (Diary, p. 26). After the fall of Stirling Castle he returned to Edinburgh, and in 1574 he was summoned before the law-courts for printing Davidson's ‘Dialog, or Mutuall talking betwix a Clerk and ane Courteour,’ which reflected on the Regent Morton. The acts under which he was committed were those of 1 Feb. 1551 and 19 April 1567, and were specially aimed at the reformed party, the latter being passed against the ‘defamers’ of the queen after the murder of Darnley. There was therefore a certain baseness in Morton utilising them on his own behalf. Lekprevick was committed to the castle of Edinburgh, and although he was possibly set at liberty soon afterwards, he was on 16 July 1574 forbidden to print without a license (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 727). For some time he enjoyed a half-yearly bounty of five merks from Thomas Bassendyne [q. v.], who in 1577 bequeathed to him the sum of 20l. (Bannatyne Miscellany, ii. 203). Notwithstanding his severe treatment by Morton, probably the first publication that Lekprevick issued after his imprisonment was Semple's ‘Ane Complaint upon Fortune,’ mourning Morton's fate. He was then dwelling at the Netherbow. In the same year he printed Archbishop Adamson's Catechism. Nothing further is known of him. It seems unlikely that he is identical with the Robert Lekprevick whose name occurs in a list of reversions delivered by Lady Lennox to Lord Aubigny on 13 Jan. 1579–80 (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 256).

[For a full list of Lekprevick's publications see Dickson and Edmond's Annals of Scottish Printing, i. 206–72. There is a less complete list in Ames's Typographical Antiquities. There is a biographical notice of Lekprevick, founded on that by Dickson and Edmond, in Cranstoun's Satirical Poems of the Time of the Reformation (Scottish Text Society), pt. ii.]

T. F. H.