Royal Charter of the Company of Stationers

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Royal Charter of the Company of Stationers  (1557) 
Queen Mary I of England

The kind and queen to all whom etc. greeting. Know ye that we, considering and manifestly perceiving that certain seditious and heretical books rhymes and treatises are daily published and printed by divers scandalous malicious scismatical and heretical persons, not only moving our subjects and lieges to sedition and disobedience against us, our crown and dignity, but also to renew and move very great and detestable heresies against the faith and sound catholic doctrine of Holy Mother Church, and wishing to provide a suitable remedy in this behalf, of our special grace and from our certain knowledge and mere motion we will, give and grant for ourselves, the heirs and successors of us the foresaid Queen, to our beloved and faithful lieges Thomas Dockwraye, John Cawood, Henry Coke, William Bonham, Richard Waye, Simon Coston, Reginald Wolf, James Hellyland, Stephen Kevall, John Turke, Nicholas Taverner, Michael Lobley, John Jakes, William Ryddall, John Judson, John Walley, Thomas Duxwell, Anthony Smyth, William Powell, Richard Jugge, William Serryes, Robert Holder, Thomas Purfot, John Rogers, William Steward, Richard Patchet, Nicholas Borman, Roger Ireland, Richard Crosse, Thomas Powell, Anthony Crofte, Richrd Hyll, Alan Gamlyn, Henry Norton, Richard Lant, Henry Suttell, Andrew Hertes, Thomas Devell, John Case, William Hyll, Richard Richardson, Giles Huke, John Kynge, John Fairebarne, John Hyll, Peter Frenche, Richard Harryson, Humphery Powell, John Clerke, William Copland, William Marten, Edward Sutton, Thomas Parker, John Bonham, John Goughe, John Daye, John Whitney, Simon Spylman, William Baldwyn, William Coke, John Kevall, Robert Broke, Thomas Sawyer, Charles Walley, Thomas Patenson, Thomas Merche, Richard Tottell, Ralph Tyer, Jon Burtofte, William Griffith, Edwarde Broune, Nicholas Cliston, Richard Harvy, James Gunwell, Edward Cator, John Kele, Thomas Bylton, Thomas Mascall, William Norton, William Pykeryng, Richard Baldwyn, Richard Grene, Thomas Beyden, Robert Badborne, John Alday, Robery Blyth, Gregory Brodehead, Hugh Cotisfurth, Richard Wallys, Thomas Gee, Richard Kevell the younger, John Shereman, Thomas Skeroll, Owen ap Roger, John Tysdale, Adam Croke and John Fox, free men of the mistery or art of Stationery of our City of London, and the suburbs of the same, that they from hence forth may be in fact, deed and name one body by themselves for ever, and one perpetual community incorporated of one Master and two Keepers or Wardens in the community of the same Mistery or Art of Stationery of the foresaid City, and that they may have perpetual succession.

And further we of our special grace and from our certain knowledge and mere motion, by these presents ordain, create, erect, make and appoint the foresaid Thomas Dockwray Master of the same Mistery or Art of Stationery of the foresaid City during one year next following, and the foresaid John Cawood and Henry Cooke, Keepers or Wardens of the same mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid city for one year next following; and the foresaid William Bonham, Wichard Waye, Simon Coston, Reginald Wolf, James Hollyland, Stephen Kevall, John Turke, Nicholas Taverner, Michael Lobley, John Jaques, William Rydall, John Judson, John Walley, Thomas Duxwell, Wnthony Smyth, William Powell, Richard Jugge, William Seres, Robery Holder, Thomas Porfutt, John Rogers, William Sterard, Richard Patchett, Nicholas Borman, Roger Ireland, Richard Crosse, Thomas Powell, Anthony Crofte, Richard Hyll, Alan Gamlyn, Henry Norton, Richard Lant, Henry Cuttell, Andrew Hester, Thomas Devell, John Case, William Hyll, Richard Richardson, Giles Huke, John Kynge, John Fayerbarne, John Hyll, Peter Frenche, Richard Harryson, Hymphery Powell, John Clerke, William Copland, William Marten, Edward Sutton, Thomas Parker, John Bonham, John Gough, John Daye, John Whitney, Simon Spilman, William Baldwyn, and William Coke, John Kevall, Robert Broke, Thomas Sawyer, Charles Walley, Thomas Patenson, Thomas Marshe, Richard Totell, Ralph Tyer, John Burtofte, William Griffith, Edward Broune, Nicholas Clyston, Richard Harvy, James Gonwell, Edward Cator, John Kele, Thomas Bylton, Thomas Maskall, William Norton, William Pykeryng, Richard Balkwyn, Richard Grene, Thomas Boyden, Robert Radborne, John Alday, Robert Blyth, Gregory Brodehead, Hugh Cotisforth, Richard Walleys, Thomas Gee, Richard Kevell, John Shereman, Thomas Skeroll, Owen ap Roger, John Tysdale, Adam Broke and John Foxe, we make, create and appoint by these presents the community of the same mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid City.

And further we ordain, create, erect, make, and appoint by these presents the foresaid Master Wardens and community in deed and in name on body by themselves for ever, and one community for ever incorporated of one Master and two Keepers or Wardens and the community of the same mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid city of London, and we incorporate the Master, Keepers or Wardens and community, and we will, grant, create, erect, ordain, make, declare and appoint them by these presents to be a corporate body by the name of "The Master and Keepers or Wardens and Community of the mistery or art of Stationery of the City of London," for ever to endure really and in full; and that the same Masters, Keepers or Wardens and community may have for the future perpetual succession; and that the Master and Keepers or Wardens and community and their successors shall be for ever entitled, named, and called by the name of "The Masters and Keepers or Wardens and Community of the Mistery or Art of Stationery of the City of London" and by that name shall have power to plead and be impleadel and answer and be answered in all and several matters, suits and complaints, actions, demands and causes before any judges and justices, and in any courts and places; and they shall have a common seal to serve and make use of for their matters and business, and for the sealing of all and several their deeds and writings in any wise touching or concerning their affairs and business; and the Masters and Keepers or Wardens and community and their successors from time to time may make and ordain and establish, for the good and sound rule and government of the free men of the art of mistery aforesaid and of the foresaid community, ordinances, provisions and statutes whenever it shall seem to them to be opportune and fit, so as those ordinances, provisions and statutes are not in any way repugnant or contrary to the laws or statutes of this our kingdom of England, or to the prejudice of the common wealth of the same, our kingdom; and that they and their successors for ever shall have power to form lawful and honourable assemblies of themselves for statutes and ordinances of this kind and other things for the good of this mistery or art and of the same community, and for other lawful causes, in the foresaid form, whenever it shall please them, freely and with impunity, without molestation or disturbance of us of the heirs or successors of us the foresaid Queen, or of any other; and that the foresaid Master and Keepers or Wardens and Community of the said mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid city and their successors or the greater part of them assembled lawfully and in a fitting place yearly for ever, or oftener or more seldom, at such times and places within the foresaid city as they shall please, may elect and make of themselves one Master and two Keepers or Wardens of the same mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid City to rule, govern, and oversee the mistery and community aforesaid and all the men of the same mistery and the business of the same, and to remove and put out of their offices their former Master and their former Keepers or Wardens as it seems best to them; and tht if and whenever is shall happen in any election that the Master and Keepers or Wardens and community aforesaid are equal in one vote one part against another, in such elction then that and so often the Master of the foresaid mistery, if there is any Master at that time, or the elder Keeper or Warden of that mistery if there is no master of that mistery at that time, shall have two votes in such elections; and that the Masters and Keepers or Wardens and the community in the foresaid mistery and their successors for the time being for ever shall be persons, able and capable in law to give, grant and let their lands and tenements, goods and chattels, and to acquire, possess, take and receive for themselves and their successors lands, possessions, goods, chattels, and hereditaments to have, enjoy, and possess for themselves and their successors for ever, notwithstanding the statute passed concerning lands and tenements not to be put in the mortmain, or any statute, act or ordinance made, or to be made to the contrary, so that said lands, tenements and hereditaments thus by them acquired and received are within our said city of London or the suburbs or liberties of the same city, and so that they do not exceed in any wise the yearly value of twenty pounds of lawful money of England.

Besides we will, grant, ordain, and appoint for ourselves and the successors of us the foresaid Queen that no person within this our realm of England or the dominions of the same shall practise or exercise by himself or by this ministers, his servants or by any other person the art of mistery of printing any book or any thing for sale or traffic within this our realm of England or the dominions of the same, unless the same person at the time of his foresaid printing is or shall be one of the community of the foresaid mistery or art of Stationery of the foresaid City, or has therefore licence of us, or the heirs or successors of us the foresaid Queen by the letters patent of us or the heirs or successors of us the foresaid Queen

Further we will, grant, ordain and appoint for ourselves, the heirs and successors of us the foresaid Queen to the foresaid Master, Keepers or Wardens and community of the mistery or art of the Stationery of the City of London aforesaid and their successors for ever, that it shall be lawful for the Master and Keepers or Wardens aforesaid and their successors for the time being to make search whenever it shall please them in any place, shop, house, chamber, or building of any printer, binder or bookseller whatever within our kingdom of England or the dominions of the same of or for any books or things printed, or to be printed, and to seize, take, hold, burn, or turn to the proper use of the foresaid community, all and several those books and things which are or shall be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made or to be made; and that if any person shall practise or exercise the foresaid art of mistery contrary to the foresaid form, or shall disturb, refuse, or hinder the foresaid Master or Keepers or Wardens for the time being or any one of them for the time being, in making the forsaid search or in seizing, taking, or burning the foresaid books or things, or any of them printed or to be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, that then the foresaid Master and Keepers or Wardens for the time being shall imprison or commit to jail any such person for practising or exercising the foresaid art of mistery contrary to the foresaid form, or as is stated above, disturbing, refusing or hindering, there to remain without bail for the space of three months; and that the same person so practising or exercising the foresaid art ot mistery contrary to the foresaid form, or so, as is above stated, disturbing, refusing or hindering, shall forfeit for each such practising or exercising aforesaid against the form aforesaid and for each such disturbance, refusal or hindrance a hundred shillings of lawful money of England, one half thereof to us, the heirs and successors of us the foresaid Queen, and the other half thereof to the foresaid Master, Keepers or Wardens and community.

Notwithstanding that express mention of the true yearly value, of of the certainty of the premises, or of any of them, or of other gifts or grants made by us or by any of our progenitors of the foresaid Master and Keepers or Wardens and community before these times, is not made in these presents, or any statute, act, ordinance, provision or restriction to the contrary hereof previously made, published, ordained or provided, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatever in any wise.

In witness of which thing we have caused to be made these our letters patent.

Witnesses - The King and Queen at Westminster the fourth day of May.

By Writ of privy seal, etc.

[Pat. 8 & 4 Phil. & Mar., part 10. m. 46.]