Seres, William (DNB00)

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SERES, WILLIAM (d. 1579?), printer, is said by Ames to have been in partnership with John Day (1522–1584) [q. v.] as a printer as early as 1544, but the earliest known book published by Seres is dated 1548. He also printed in connection with Anthony Scoloker [q. v.] and William Hill. Day and Seres separated about 1550, and the latter established himself at ‘St. Peter College’ in St. Paul's Churchyard. When that building was occupied by the Stationers' Company, Seres set up at the sign of the ‘Hedge Hog’ at the west end of St. Paul's Churchyard. The use of this device—the badge of Sir Henry Sidney—has led to the assumption that Seres was Sidney's servant. It is more probable that he was in the service of Cecil, who on 11 March 1553–4 procured for him a patent to be sole printer of all primers (i.e. forms of private prayer) and psalters. On the accession of Mary, Seres, who had published a large number of protestant books, was deprived of his patent and thrown into prison (Egerton Papers, Camden Soc., p. 140). Elizabeth, however, renewed the patent, including in it Seres's wife and son. Subsequently Seres parted with some of his rights to Henry Denham, and this led to a protracted dispute between Denham and Seres's widow (Ames, ed. Dibdin, iv. 194–5; Timperley, Typogr. Encycl. pp. 362–3). Seres took an active part in the affairs of the Stationers' Company; he was a member of the old company existing before the charter of 1556; in the new company he was master five times, namely, in 1570, 1571, 1575–6–7; he was also a generous benefactor to the company. He died between March 1577–8 (Arber, ii. 676) and June 1580 (ib. ii. 682). The business was carried on under the name of his son, William Seres, junior, until 1603. Dibdin enumerates more than sixty works printed by Seres between 1548 and 1577. Among the more important were Sir John Cheke's ‘Hurt of Sedition,’ 1549 and again in 1569, and Sir Geoffrey Fenton's ‘Monophylo,’ 1572. In 1562 he published a verse translation of ‘A Prayer,’ by himself, and apparently he was also author of an ‘Answer to the Proclamation of the Rebels in the North,’ 1569, in verse (Maitland, Index of English Books at Lambeth, p. 98; Ames, ed. Dibdin, iv. 216; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. viii. 345). He must be distinguished from one William Seres, a Scot, who ‘departed out of Scotland because he had stolen away the sheriff of Linlithgow's wife, the Lord Semple's daughter; after that he was three years in Almaine with the Palsgrave and the emperor; then with others he came by a ship and was taken in Brittany and condemned to the galleys’ (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566–8, No. 183). Having been released, he was actively concerned in the rebellion of 1569, and afterwards lived abroad (Murdin, Burghley State Papers, pp. 215–7; Hatfield MSS. ii. 17, 26; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. viii. 345).

[Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Reg. passim; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, pp. 686, 705, ed. Dibdin, iv. 193, 226; Timperley's Encycl. pp. 362–3; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1563, Nos. 1414, 1461, 1531; Archæologia, xxv. 108; Egerton Papers (Camden Soc.), pp. 138, 143; Strype's Works, index, passim; Corser's Collect. Anglo-Poet.; Hazlitt's Handbook and Collections, passim; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. viii. 345.]

A. F. P.