Marshall, William (fl.1535) (DNB00)

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MARSHALL, WILLIAM (fl. 1535), reformer, printer, and translator, appears at one time to have been clerk to Sir Richard Broke [q. v.], chief baron of the exchequer. He had some acquaintance with Sir Thomas More, who is said to have made some effort to obtain an office for him at court (Brewer, Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vol. iv. pt. iii. App. 133). He adopted with enthusiasm the views of the protestant reformers, and eagerly advocated Catherine's divorce. He appears to have consequently secured some interest with Anne Boleyn, and in 1535 was one of Cromwell's confidential agents. Probably through Anne's favour he obtained a license for printing books, and his main occupation from about 1534 seems to have been in preparing works for his press (Ames, ed. Herbert, i. 371). In 1534, when he first began literary work, he was living in Wood Street. Writing to Cromwell on 1 April 1534, he says: 'I send you two books now finished of the Gift of Constantine; I think there was none ever better set forth for defacing of the pope of Rome. Erasmus lately wrote a work on our common creed . . . which I will have from the printers as soon as God sends me money and send a couple of them bound to you. I trust you will like the translation; it cost me labour and money' (Gairdner, Letters and Papers, vol. vii.) Erasmus's work appeared under the title 'Maner and Forme of Confession' or 'Erasmus of Confession.' Writing again about the same date he says he has done Constantine and Erasmus on the Creed, and hopes to print 'De veteri et novo Deo' immediately after Easter, which, together with a 'Prymer in Englysshe,' both printed by John Byddell, appeared later on in the year. He also borrowed 20l. from Cromwell to enable him to publish 'The Defence of Peace.' This appeared on 27 July 1535. It is a translation of Marsilio of Padua's 'Defensorium Pacis,' written in the fourteenth century, against the temporal power of the pope. It was printed by Robert Wyer, and Marshall says his object is 'to helpe further and profyte the chrysten com[m]enweale to the uttermost of my power, namely and pryacy pally in those busynesses and troubles, whereby it is and before this tyme hath ben unjustly molested, vexed, and troubled by the spyrytuall and ecclesjastycall tyraunt.' Marshall gave twenty-four copies to be distributed among the monks of Charterhouse, 'of whom many took them saying they would read them if the president licensed them. The third day they sent them back, saying that the president had commanded them so to do. One John Rochester took one and kept it four or five days and then burnt it, which is good matter to lay to them when your pleasure shall be to visit them' (Letter to Cromwell, October 1535; Gairdner, ix. 523). In the same year appeared his 'Pyctures and Ymages,' printed by John Gough (fl. 1528-1556) [q. v.], of which Lord-chancellor Thomas Audeley [q. v.] wrote to Cromwell that 'the book will make much business should it go forth,' and expressed an intention of sending 'for the printer to stop' it. Thomas Broke, writing 11 Sept. 1535, says that 'the people greatly murmur at it' (ib. pp. 345, 358). Marshall's energy appears to have involved him in financial difficulties. Writing to Cromwell in 1536, he says: 'The "Defence of Peace" cost over 31l.; though the best book in English against the usurped (sic) book of the Bishop of Rome, it has not sold.' His brother Thomas, who was parson of South Molton, Devonshire, had become bound for the 20l. he had borrowed from Cromwell, and proceedings were instituted against him by John Gostwick, treasurer of the first fruits. Marshall begged Cromwell to stay the action at least for a season, as his brother's house and chattels would not suffice to pay the debt, and asked the minister to bestow upon his brother Thomas or his son Richard one of the preferments which he had heard Reginald Pole [q. v.] was about to lose, ' if but the little prebend he has in Salisbury, 18l. a year or the little deanery of Wynbourne Mynster worth 40 marks.' The request appears to have been refused. In 1542 appeared Marshall's 'An Abridgement of Sebastian Munster's Chronicle,' printed by Robert Wyer. The date of his death is unknown. Marshall was married and had a son, Richard.

Ames also attributes to Marshall the 'Chrysten Bysshop and Counterfayte Bysshop,' n.d., printed by John Gough.

[Preface to the Defence of Peace, in British Museum; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer, iv. iii. ed. Gairdner, passim; Ames's Typographical Antiquities, ed. Herbert, pp. 385, 388, 397, 500; Cat. Early Printed Books; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.]

A. F. P.