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Importing books to London in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries: evidence from the London overseas customs accounts.

This paper expands on research on the importing of books into England in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries by utilizing a valuable but underused resource: the overseas customs accounts. The customs accounts can improve our knowledge about the early book trade by analyzing the importation of books into England, a lucrative business, given the inability of printers in England to meet a rising demand for books at this time, which led to a subsequent dependence on printed texts from overseas. (1) This import trade in books can be tracked in the overseas customs accounts enrolled with the Exchequer, which contain quantitative data on the value, volume, and description of books imported through the Port of London. Further information on the importers, many of whom were printers and publishers, shows that the trade developed from a craft to an international business within a few decades of the development of movable type and the printing press.

With mass production of texts made possible by the handpress, printers needed to develop larger distribution areas, as local markets were unable to consume a press's entire output. Paris, Antwerp, Cologne, Venice, and Lyon became centers of book production because as cities on well-established trade routes, they already had the warehousing, distribution, and financing infrastructure. (2) Mass production also made books more affordable and thus promoted greater demand. Demand also increased as literacy rose, and merchants, tradesmen, and craftsmen saw the need to keep accounts of transactions, submit bills, and keep gild records. (3) Due to the domination of Latin as the main language of texts, where a book was printed did not matter, as long as it could be economically delivered to its customers. (4)

Previous Research on the Importation of Books to England

The development of early book history as a discipline has encouraged research into the origins of books imported into England. Most of that research has been bibliographic studies focused on determining the place of production by examining extant collections and analyzing date and origin of imprints (e.g., by Lotte Hellinga, Nicholas Barker, and Margaret Lane Ford). Ford's survey of institutional catalogues shows that 85 percent of the late fifteenth-century books available in England came from just eight different cities; Hellinga and Barker both find that Italy and Germany accounted for a high proportion of early sixteenth-century books, or at least those in university and monastic libraries. (5)

The downside of this research method is that it can only attest to a particular tome having made its way to England at some point, because we do not know if the book was purchased abroad by an individual or imported to be sold locally. The institutional libraries that this method concentrates on had very particular needs, notably specific texts for the education and training of their communities. Thomas Bodley, for example, considered pamphlets and popular works unworthy of inclusion in the library he founded at Oxford in 1603. (6) These types of publications seem, moreover, to have been valued less than religious, scientific and legal works and would thus not have been given the care necessary to survive to the present day, a bias that skews studies of the type done by these three scholars in favor of expensive editions. (7) Analyzing fifteenth-century bookseller's advertisements in Germany, Curt Buhler finds that few of the 176 books exist today, as the copies were "literally read to pieces." (8) This point is important, as areas producing deluxe works may appear to have dominated the trade, when this might not have been the case.

Subject specialization also often developed in a given city or region. Nicholas Barker shows that imprints from Venice accounted for 45 percent of pre-1500 printed books at Oxford University. (9) Venice was a center of the printing of humanist and legal texts, the type of books one would expect to find at a university. (10) In contrast, of the 395 books with identifiable origins at Syon Abbey, only 34 (8.7 percent) were printed in Venice. (11) This small number is understandable, as a monastery would have less need for works of humanism or law. Lotte Hellinga uses the incunable catalogues of several Scottish and English universities to determine the places of origin of the texts in their collections. (12) Her survey of 1,000 books shows that the Low Countries and Germany were the main suppliers of printed books before 1490, but their influence waned as the Latin textbooks that these countries were supplying began to be printed in England. On the other hand, imports from Italy and France increased up through 1500, as Italy provided humanist works and France supplied liturgical books. (13)

Other scholars have examined wills and inventories for similar information discerned from title lists. (14) Carol Meale shows that often a medieval woman would list only her most expensive book in her will. (15) Although these sources list specific texts of their owners or institutions, they cannot tell us when or how these texts arrived in England.

The Customs System

We can gain a more precise idea of the scope, organization, and value of the import trade in books by turning to the overseas customs accounts that record merchandise imported and exported plus the duty imposed, which depended on the type and value of the merchandise and status of the importer. (16) Duties collected from customs were a significant source of royal revenue in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries--amounting to more than 50 percent of crown revenue in the late fourteenth century. (17) The summary accounts that record the total customs survive in a nearly continuous series for five hundred years to the eighteenth century. (18)

The detailed accounts, which would itemize merchandise such as books, are called the particular accounts and were used as the basis for the summary accounts. The survival of particular accounts is somewhat spotty, but they provide far more details than the summary accounts, including the date the ship entered the port, information on its shipmaster (and occasionally the ship name and home port), its cargo and merchants, and customs valuations. There are two types of particular accounts: those kept by the collectors of customs tend to be fuller than the audited accounts compiled by the controller. (19) Both the collector's and the controller's accounts would be sent to the Exchequer, where they would be compared against each other. (20) There were different accounts depending on the specific type of customs duty assessed. Some duties targeted only alien (foreign) merchants, not denizens (English merchants, or those who had been named denizens and had rights similar to natives). Other duties were applied only to certain goods, such as wine (called tunnage), wool, hides, or cloth. (21) Separate accounts were kept for the wool customs, petty customs, and cloth customs and tunnage and poundage. (22)

The most important particular customs accounts for the study of book imports were poundage accounts and petty accounts. Both poundage and petty duties were applied to a large range of goods and based on an ad valorem tax. Petty customs were paid by denizens, aliens, and Hanseatic merchants, although certain individuals, groups (primarily Hanse merchants), or entire towns could be exempt or be given special privileges. (23) Alien merchants paid petty and poundage duties on all merchandise, while poundage duties, plus customs on cloth, wool, woolfells, and hides, plus a subsidy on wine were also paid by all other merchants regardless of status. (24) Individual particular accounts could record several types of customs, not only petty customs and poundage but also tunnage, or subsidies on cloth exports, or ancient customs on wool and hides. Both petty and poundage accounts for London are incomplete for the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. (25)

Several changes occurred during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in how books and other merchandise were assessed for customs charges. The valuations given to book imports when they first appeared in the fifteenth century were part of a system that began in 1303, in which customs duties were charged on a particular group of imports and exports as an ad valorem rate, usually 3d. per 1[pounds sterling] of value. (2) Although this implies that the rate represents the true value of the commodity, N. S. B. Gras and other scholars argue that these customs valuations were often below real market price and denoted the lowest value the merchant knew the customs official would accept. (27)

Over time, these low evaluations became fairly standardized, particularly for the most frequently traded commodities. In 1507 a Book of Rates was created, which Gras believed was compiled from previous agreements between London customs officials and the Merchant Adventurers of London; it is likely that the Book of Rates merely recorded valuations that had been employed for a long time, although the Book had no official status when it was compiled. (28) Cobb's comparison of the 1507 rates with customs account entries from 1502/3 and 1506, for instance, finds few differences between the recorded values and those listed in the 1507 rates book. (29) Cobb suggests that the 1507 rates represent a first attempt officially to fix customs duties for London, although for the most part these rates were already in place. (30)

Complaints about widely fluctuating rates at different ports led Henry VIII in 1532 to put a new national customs system in place; this development consisted in part of applying the 1507 Book of Rates to the entire country. (31) Books do not appear among the 1507 rates, but primers are listed at 20d per dozen. (32) In 1545 a new rate book, The Rate of the Custome House both Inwarde and Outwarde, was issued, containing more than twice as many commodities as the previous version, with many of the old commodity values remaining unchanged. (33) Books finally appeared in the rate book of 1545, rated at 4[pounds sterling] per basket or maund of unbound books and 40s per half-maund of unbound books. (34)

The consistency of the data in the customs accounts makes them an ideal economic source for analyzing the business side of the book trade. A typical customs account entry from 1537 reads: "Item: In the ship of William Johnson, entered on the 16th day of November ... Frances Brykman, alien, for one basket containing bokes unbounde price 4 pounds." (35) The entries give us a limited amount of information to work with: the name of the importer, whom we may or may not be able to identify, plus his or her status; a vague description of the type of book; the container it was shipped in (for a rough idea of quantity); and the duty collected. This is still enough information to establish an image of the book trade when we examine accounts over several decades.

This type of data allows us to address several questions: Did any particular person or group of persons dominate the book trade for any length of time? Is it possible to establish where these books came from? What was the value of those books? More specifically, was a trend developing of merchants who specialized in importing books or were books just one of many commodities that could be imported to turn a profit? (36)

Previous Use of the Customs Accounts by Book Historians

The customs accounts have been used previously to research book importation into London in the late Middle Ages. The earliest study is a number of short surveys by Henry Plomer in the 1920s focused on a few well-known printers and publishers who appeared in the accounts (e.g., Francis Birckman and Wynkyn de Worde). (37) Julian Roberts, C. Paul Christianson, and N. J. M. Kerling also examine customs accounts while researching the early book trade. (38) Julian Roberts uses the London customs accounts and port books as sources while researching the book collection of Oxford University, but seems to be interested only in the importers involved and does not discuss any other data found in the accounts. (39) Similarly, Christianson's research on the book trade in London led him to use the customs accounts as one of many sources for investigating the stationers and printers of that time.

Although Nelly Kerling examined all extant London customs accounts from 1460 to 1492 and sometimes goes into great detail, she gives only a few specific examples of particular importers. (40) Paul Needham shows how customs accounts can be used when researching the early book trade but focuses on the workings of the customs system and type of information in the accounts. (41) Despite their thorough examination of some accounts, these scholars do not present their findings statistically, making it difficult to establish any patterns. (42)

These earlier studies of book imports using the overseas customs accounts tend to provide only a snapshot of the book trade for a very specific time or place or focus on particular individuals, and there is currently no large-scale overview. More information about book imports through the Port of London from 1450 to 1540 can be found by examining a larger collection of customs accounts. For my research I created an Access database to analyze information culled from the accounts and identify large patterns, such as changes in how values were assessed and the total customs levies on imported books per year; other sources provided information on the people involved and their roles in the trade.

London was medieval England's largest port; around 1480, London controlled almost 61 percent of the country's overseas trade by value. (43) Through the first decade of the sixteenth century, it accounted for more than 50 percent of overseas customs income, reaching 58 percent in 1506/7.44 From around 1400 to 1540, approximately 80 percent of goods by value went through the Port of London. (45) London was also the center of political, cultural, and social life in England, along with nearby Winchester. (46) Consumer demand for goods such as spices, jewels, and books was also higher in London than in provincial towns. (47) Those living outside London would frequently purchase luxury goods there, either in person or via an agent. (48) In addition, London handled a large proportion of trade by aliens, who were leading participators in the early book trade. (49) This prominence was partly due to favorable regulations initially governing aliens involved in the book trade when England was still dependent on the Continent for books. (50)

This study focuses on the London customs accounts because London was clearly the center of the British book trade in the late Middle Ages. An examination of the customs accounts in print for other ports finds few book imports outside of London. Several accounts have been published for Southampton covering the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. (51) The cargoes of books were very small; for example, one in 1480 was for seven cases of printed books on paper and another, in 1509, was for five dozen service books and psalters. (52)

For this paper I examined eleven overseas customs accounts enrolled at the National Archives, chosen for their coverage of a full year of data and spread as evenly as possible over the period studied. (53) Of the accounts I examined, nine were petty customs accounts and two were tunnage and poundage accounts, with eight petty accounts and one tunnage and poundage account containing book imports. (54)

The two earliest accounts (1457/8 and 1471/2) I examined contained no imports of books. (55) This agrees with Kerling's findings that there were no imports of books through the Port of London before 1477.56 Kate Harris believes evidence of the printing of books in English on the Continent in the 1450s shows that commercial importing of books began much earlier. (57) As I have no data from my two earliest customs accounts, this article focuses on book imports to London between 1480 and 1540.58

Estimating Customs Values

The nine accounts examined for this study allow us to get a rough idea of the values of book cargoes over time. Problems arise, however, with books imported along with other items, as a single valuation is given for a whole cargo, not the individual books. There are several different ways to estimate a value for the books alone. For example, in 1480/1 Henry Franckenbergk twice imported a hogshead containing books, both valued at 14[pounds sterling]. One contained only books, while the second hogshead included books and three pieces of Holland linen cloth eighty ells in length. (59) The total customs duties paid for book-only cargoes for the customs year 1480/1 was 150[pounds sterling] 10s, but this does not include Franckenbergk's hogshead containing books and linen nor five other book imports, also part of mixed cargoes, for which separate values for the books in each shipment are not provided. To include these book imports in our totals, we need to find a way to estimate the value of the books. If we look elsewhere in the account, we can find an entry for Holland cloth alone and extrapolate its average price to subtract from the total for the books and cloth, for a customs value of 13s 2d per piece. (60) We can then subtract the value of the cloth from the total value of the cargo in order to determine what part of the valuation can be attributed to book imports (11[pounds sterling] 1s 6d). The method is not perfect, but it does allow us to get a better idea of the total value of book imports over time.

Unfortunately, establishing a value this way is not always possible, depending on the number and type of items included in the cargo. On June 2, 1481, for instance, Lewis Aufan, an alien, imported a large mixed cargo in a barrel containing, among other things, "two small books." (61) Although these two books may only amount to a few shillings or pence in value, there are also some large quantities of books in other cargoes each year with valuations that need to be estimated in order not to skew our totals. In these cases, we can calculate an average price from books in other entries, which range anywhere from a shilling per book to 6s 4d, with an average of 2s 6d. But these values are all for cargoes described as "diverse histories," whereas we are also applying them to cargoes of "libris" "parvus libris" and "prentyd bokes" (62) Without further research we cannot be sure of the difference between these categories.

When considering the totals, therefore, it needs to be kept in mind that values were estimated for a number of cargoes. Sometimes an estimate is not possible, as, for example, with two mixed cargoes in 1507/8 that record libris impressus and alys (other); we do not know what else was in the container. (63) It is also important to remember that the early valuations were for declared value (ad valorem), but this changed to a fixed rate (discussed further below), so we need to be careful comparing fluctuations in the values of book imports from year to year.

Even given these difficulties in calculating values, the accounts do provide good information about the duties collected on book imports (Table 1). (64) The import of books fluctuated greatly, increasing and decreasing substantially within a few years, and value decreased by 30[pounds sterling] 6s (about 20 percent) between 1480/1 and 1490/1. This reduction may be explained by the appointment by Henry VII of Peter Actors as royal stationer for life in December 1485. This position exempted him from paying customs duties on books "printed and not printed" imported into any port in England. (65) Actors was responsible for more than half the recorded imports by value (58[pounds sterling] worth) in 1480/1, and his freedom from paying duties could account for the significant decrease in the number of recorded imports. (66)

Import totals rose again in 1502/3 by almost 16[pounds sterling]) but then decreased by more than one third by 1507/8 and another fifth by 1512/3 (from 136[pounds sterling] 0s 4d to 89[pounds sterling] to 71[pounds sterling] 13s 4d). Another substantial drop of nearly 56 percent occurred in just two years (to 40[pounds sterling] by 1514/5). Some of the decrease could be attributed to England's war with France, which may have affected imports from overseas. (67) Not only might merchants fear for the safety of their goods, but the impressment of merchant ships for naval service during wartime was not uncommon and would cause further disruptions in trade. (68) According to the economist Richard Britnell, these disruptions were especially strong in 1512/3, 1522 to 1524, and 1528, and we see this reflected in the steep decline in imports in the totals from the 1510s. (69) Trade in Europe was also impeded by civil unrest on the Continent at this time. On several occasions in the first decade of the sixteenth century, Anton Koberger wrote to the Basel printer-publisher Johann Amerbach that trade had come to a standstill: "We are beset with terrible war and costs to us grow greater every day. There is absolutely no trade at all, and nobody can do any business because of the war." (70)

From 1514/5 to 1520/1, imports rose more than fourfold, to 181[pounds sterling] 13s 4d, the highest total for the period surveyed. 1520/1 is the one year a poundage account instead of a petty account was used, which means it contains not only alien importers but also native and denizens. Although we find the greatest number of importers and highest total of books imported by value, this is not due to the number of nonalien imports, as they amount to only 4[pounds sterling] of the total customs collected, with an additional portion of a mixed cargo totaling another 4[pounds sterling]. This 8[pounds sterling] makes up slightly more than 4 percent of the yearly value. (7) Unfortunately there is large gap in surviving accounts through the 1520s, and the next full year's account available is for 1534/5, when we see a 23 percent drop to 140[pounds sterling] (1534/5).

In 1534 the importing of bound books, along with the privilege of selling such books retail, was revoked by Henry VIII. (72) An Acte for Prynters and Bynders of Bokes required books to be imported unbound because English binders were "destitute of worke and lyke to be undon, except somme reformacion here in be hade." (73) The total of imports for 1537/8, after this ruling went into effect, dropped 45 percent to 78[pounds sterling]. One prominent importer in 1534/5 who does not appear in the 1537/8 account is the French printer Francois Regnault. Regnault complained to Thomas Cromwell about the act concerning imported bound books because he was unable to sell bound books he had previously brought over. (74) His specialty, primers in English, was also affected by another proclamation forbidding the translation of Scripture into English, and by 1538 Regnault had stopped printing primers for the English market. (75)

Fluctuations in yearly import totals over the decades were due to various reasons, such as war affecting trade and regulations that may have limited or frustrated would-be importers. What is clear is that the numbers of small importers, who brought in single cargoes and were never seen again, can be seen as making up the bulk of the yearly differences. One or two importers dominated each year's trade and made up the majority of the year's total by value, with the most prominent reaching 30 percent to 40 percent and even up to 60 percent. Studies of other commodities and additional accounts could show whether there was an overall decline in trade in the early sixteenth century (for example, due to unrest making trade difficult) or whether there was a slump specifically in the demand for books from overseas. In addition, a survey of more poundage accounts could show if aliens truly dominated the trade, as appears from the small number of native importers in 1520/1.

The method of assessing customs duties for books changed over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and needs to be taken into account when comparing totals over time. There is the possibility that standard customs rates on books (although unofficial until 1545) were already being applied as early as 1490, as 72 percent of cargoes from 1490/1 were given rounded values (e.g., 40s, 60s, and 100s), while less than half (46 percent) of the books-only cargoes from 1480/1 were given rounded values. This is assuming that a rounded value would be a sign of a move toward a standard rate, while a nonrounded value (e.g., 10[pounds sterling] 3s 4d for a chest of 67 volumes) would reflect an ad valorem value. Rounded values rise to 100 percent for all book-only consignments from 1507/8 on. With ad valorem rates, each book in a cargo should have been valued separately, and the values then added up to determine the duty to be charged. Rounded values imply that factors and customs collectors were not examining each book but giving an approximate value to either each book or the entire cargo. I believe this is evidence that books were becoming a common enough commodity that the customs collectors knew the general value of books and no longer saw a need for a detailed review of the contents of a shipment of books. In addition, by 1507, when the first rate book was issued, baskets of books were already conforming to the future 1545 rate of 4[pounds sterling] per basket and 2[pounds sterling] per half-basket. In 1507/8, five of eight baskets were assessed at 4[pounds sterling]. In 1512/3 and 1537/8, all the baskets were rated for 4[pounds sterling], with all half-baskets for 2[pounds sterling], and in 1534/5, eighteen of twenty basket and half-basket shipments were at the future rate. Although books did not appear in the customs rates book until 1545, it seems that they had already become a common enough commodity to be given a standard, if not official, rate decades earlier. (7) It is possible that books were inadvertently left out of the 1507 rate book, since it seems the rate of baskets of books was already standardized and being applied by this time.

International Connections of the Printer-Publishers

The customs accounts also illustrate the multinational scope of the early book trade. It is important to remember, however, that the origin of the book importer or of his ship was not an indication of where the books originated or were printed. (77) On July 8, 1502, one Frederick Vanegmond imported a basket of libris impressus and paid 40s in customs. (78) This Vanegmond was in fact Frederick Egmondt, who was a stationer in London and Paris. (79) He was having books printed for him in Venice by Johannes Hertzog (80) and seemed to be importing them on Dutch ships, if the names of their shipmasters are any clue, (81) which could also explain how his name became "Vanegmond" in the rolls. (82) Here is an example of a Flemish merchant in Paris and London who was importing Venetian books on Dutch ships. This is just a single case where we have evidence of all the parties involved. Another complicating factor was that merchant ships often visited more than one port before arriving at their final destination. (83)

We can account for where some of these imported books were printed, particularly in the later years, by focusing on merchants who not only specialized in importing books but also had them printed on commission specifically for the market in England. Many of these imprints can be identified through the English Short Title Catalogue (STC), although more publishers can be identified in the later decades than in the fifteenth century. (84) There was no equivalent to a printer's mark in earlier manuscript books, although on occasion a text is found with a scribe's signature. (85) A study of German incunables from the 1470s through the 1490s shows that the number of books that included the name of the printer rose from 42.6 percent in the 1470s to 54.7 percent in the 1490s. (86) By 1500, about 70 percent of French incunables included the name of the printer. (87) Once the appearance of the printer's name became more common, the names of publishers also begin to appear. It therefore becomes possible to match the names of importers who were also publishers by using the STC to identify imprints where their names occurred. (88) It was not until 1542 that England began requiring the name of the printer, author, and date of publication to be included in any books to be sold in the country; many earlier texts may have only a title or title and date and no publisher information. (89)

Another invaluable resource is E. Gordon Duff's Century of the English Book Trade, which provides background information on merchants and others involved with the book trade in England. (90) He compiled this information from various sources, including the letters of denization and act of naturalization, returns of aliens, and marriage licenses. Less useful are records of the Stationers' Company, which do not start until 1554. The company had existed informally from 1403 as a guild of textwriters, limners, and stationers (in various combinations), but was not incorporated until 1557. (91)

The numbers of merchants who were associated with at least one imprint generally increased over time (Table 3). In 1480/1, only one book importer is known to have been involved with the printing of a book: John van Acon, who was responsible for 6.2 percent of the total value of books imported in that time. (92) By the 1530s, printer-publishers were responsible for more than 80 percent of the totals by value, accounting for 88.5 percent for 1534/5 and 82 percent for 1537/8, an almost fourteen-fold increase from 1480/1. (93)

The growing participation of professional printers and publishers in the importation of books is also evident in the family connections between importers, printers, and publishers. Francis Birckman, who imported 19.2 percent of the 1534/5 total by value, was the son of another Francis, who was responsible for 4.5 percent of 1502/3's imports. The elder Birckman was from Cologne and in partnership with the Antwerp printer Gerard Cluen, a relative of his wife, Gertrude van Amersfoordt. (94) In the colophon of a book of English canon law printed for him in 1525 in Antwerp by Christopher Ruremond, (95) he is identified as "honesti mercatoris" (96) Five years later, a Sarum Use missal was printed for him in Paris by Nicholas Prevost. (97) This extended Birckman family had shops all over Europe, and members were known to attend the Frankfurt fair in search of books. (98) Both John and Arnold Birckman worked as agents for many booksellers in London. (99)

In addition to the Birckmans, other family connections within the book trade included the brothers Andrew and John Rewe, who were importing from the 1480s into the 1500s. (100) Andrew Rewe imported books printed by Basel printer Johann Amerbach in the 1490s. Rewe also asked Amerbach to send specific authors and titles, along with general requests for works in areas like moral philosophy and law. (101) One letter asks "if there are new books anywhere, don't hesitate to notify me," implying that Amerbach would send not only his own books but also books by other printers. (102) Amerbach, along with fellow Basel printers Johann Petri and Johann Froben, worked closely with Anton Koberger of Nuremberg, whose business acumen made him the biggest printer in Germany until he turned to focusing his energies on publishing. (103)

The employment of numerous printers by publishers in many different cities was quite common at this time. (104) Like Francis Birckman, the London stationer and bookbinder John Reynes also employed the printing services of both Prevost and van Ruremond. In 1527 a Sarum Graduale was printed for him by Prevost, and eighteen years later, a Sarum Processionale was printed for him by van Ruremond. (105) Along with Reynes, two other bookbinders, Godfrey Bac and Nicholas Spiernick, also imported books into London. Godfrey Bac appears only once in the customs accounts: for 1[pounds sterling]-worth of printed books in May 1503.106 Bac is mentioned as a bookbinder in the Register of the Guild of St. Luke in 1492 and later married the widow of the Antwerp printer Mathias van der Goes. (107) He was one of the overseers of the will of the London bookseller John Boeidens, who was the godfather of Bac's daughter Elizabeth. (108) Boeidens imported 3[pounds sterling]-worth of books in 1490/1 and 9[pounds sterling]-worth in 1502/3.109 There are no specific titles linked to Bac in the STC before 1510, but it is not unreasonable to think he might have been supplying Boeidens with the Latin grammars he specialized in printing. (110) Nicholas Spiernick, who imported books in 1507/8, was a stationer and bookbinder in Cambridge descended from a family of bookbinders in the Low Countries. (111)

Some importers, many of whom were printers themselves, even collaborated to have texts published. The colophon of a 1519 edition of a Book of Hours printed in Paris by Nicholas Higman shows it was made on behalf of Francis Birckman and Francois Regnault. (112) An edition of Terence was printed in Paris in 1504 with the title page ending "venundantur londinie in edibus optimorum bibliopolarum winandi de worda, Michaelis Morini & Iohannis Brachij" (113) De Worde and Morin both appear in the accounts as importing books in 1502/3, and Iohannis Brachij, or John Bray, was a binder from Oxford. (114) De Worde produced an edition of Sarum Hours in 1497 with Julian Notary and later published a liturgical book in 1509 with Jacob Ferrebouc; both of these were printed in Paris. (115)

These multinational connections show that it is not possible to determine where a particular cargo of books could have been printed using just the customs accounts alone. But the customs accounts in conjunction with other sources show the book trade as an increasingly large-scale international commercial venture that drew on family networks that crossed national borders.

A Growing Specialization in the Book Trade

A small group of people had begun to dominate the market at an early date. The two biggest importers in each year were responsible for nearly 40 percent or more of the trade, with the exception of 1502/3 at 29.4 percent (Table 1). Along with these prominent importers were merchants importing books with other types of goods. One third of the shipments in 1480/1 included other goods, and that includes those from the two biggest book importers, Peter Actors and Henry Franckenbergk. (116) In contrast, in later years other goods were imported along with books on only a few occasions, a sign that the book trade had moved out of the hands of the general merchant completely. (117) Two of the fourteen other mixed cargoes included consignments of paper for printers Julian Notary and William Faques in 1502/3.118 On the same ship as William Faques, John Syton imported two fattes (containers similar to vats) of books plus a barrel of pouch-rings and other goods. (119)

There was a single mixed-cargo consignment in 1490/1 that included 1,200 primers for Nicholas le Pelletre. (120) Primers appear in accounts from two other years (Table 2). In 1512/3, there were three cargoes totaling 19 gross and 8 dozen for Cornelius van Kessel and another cargo of 8 gross for Anthony Vivaldi. (121) There were four consignments of primers in 1520/1. William Fever imported two cargoes of primers totaling 15 gross and 2 dozen, including 3 gross described as "borded primers." (122) Thomas Thorne and Stephen Litler imported smaller quantities of 4 gross and half a gross respectively during the same period. (123) These must have been the type of primers that Paul Needham mentions were imported by the dozen or gross outside the purview of the Stationers and were imported and sold with other cheap goods, (124) because these primer cargoes included items such as spectacles, combs, caps, and beads. There was only one other mixed shipment for 1512/3, and that was for George Chastelain, who also imported thirty-three rolls of latten plate.

Shipments with cargoes listed as "libris impressus" and "other" ("alys"), making it impossible to estimate the book values, occur twice in 1507/8 for Wynkyn de Worde and Nicholas Gerall and in 1520/1 for the London printer-publisher and stationer Henry Pepwell. (125)

Although the number of mixed cargoes fluctuated, many included only other printing-related items such as paper and boards, which were probably for binding. Of eleven mixed shipments for 1520/1, one was a shipment of books and paper and three consisted of books and "bordes" or "bordes for books," presumably for binding. (126) Primers accounted for four of the remaining mixed cargoes. (127) Finally, on September 4, 1536, Lambert Johnson imported half a basket of books and--perhaps to keep them safe--one basket of thirteen dozen locks for cupboards, the only mixed shipment found in that account. (128) There were no mixed shipments for 1537/8.

While some merchants were clearly specializing in importing books as early as 1480/1, others were bringing over a few with other goods to see if they, too, could turn a profit from books. As early as the 1490s, specialization was developing, but we also see a doubling in the number of people involved in importing books within ten years. While Actors and Franckenbergk dominated the trade in 1480/1, accounting for 83.1 percent of imported books between them, they seemed to be just merchants who bought and sold books. Later importers, in contrast, were involved in many different aspects of the trade, including printing, publishing, and binding.

In 1480/1 and 1490/1, only one of the book importers was known to be otherwise involved in the book trade. In 1502/3 the number of importers had almost doubled to eighteen, with eleven known to be involved specifically in the book trade (Tables 1 and 3). They accounted for 62.4 percent of the total value of imported books for that year (83[pounds sterling] 0s 8d), although not all of the books they were importing were specifically printed or published for them. Five of these importers were printers: Michael Morin, Wynkyn de Worde, William Faques, George Mittelhus, and Julian Notary, while two were binders: Henry Cony and Godfrey Bac. Each of these men accounted for one shipment each, and Faques and Notary were also importing paper.

One printer who was importing as early as 1502 was Wynkyn de Worde, who took over Caxton's press after Caxton's death in 1491.129 De Worde imported 10[pounds sterling]-worth of books on March 14, 1503.130 In 1507/8, de Worde imported five cargoes totaling 22[pounds sterling] and a sixth cargo also containing "other" (alys) goods whose value could not be estimated; his cargoes accounted for at least 25 percent of that year's total. (131) De Worde and his fellow printer-publisher Francis Birckman were responsible for eleven of seventeen cargoes that year, with the six remaining individuals importing goods on one occasion each. Two stationers also appeared, each importing books valued at 4[pounds sterling]: the London stationer and bookbinder John Richards, and the Cambridge stationer Nicholas Spierinck. (132) The accounts for 1512/3 and 1514/5 were dominated by the London stationer Arnold Harrison, who accounted for 40 percent and 60 percent of the total, respectively. (133) If we discount the primers imported by Cornelius van Kessel and Anthony Vivaldi, Harrison was responsible for 63 percent of the total in 1512/3. Besides Francis Birckman, the only other importer for 1512/3 who had known connections to the book trade as a printer or publisher was George Chastelain. Birckman and Chastelain imported only 14[pounds sterling]-worth, or less than 20 percent of the total consignments. (134) Chastelain was a stationer in London and Oxford and had several works printed for him by Richard Pynson. (135) If the primers are excluded (as chapmen's ware, which was not handled by the Stationers), the number of shipments that include nonbook merchandise decreased each year except for 1520/1.

Although 1520/1 saw an increase in the number of people importing books, the trade was dominated by just a few people: Spierinck, Thomas Bottall, Birckman, Harrison, and William Fever were responsible for 80 percent of consignments by value. (136) Nicholas Spierinck accounted for more than 28 percent of all imports. Twelve other merchants appear only once each, with a few, such as Wynkyn de Worde and John Reynes, bringing in multiple shipments of small cargoes. The number of book importers declined to ten in 1534/5, but six were directly involved in the book trade in other capacities. They accounted for 120[pounds sterling] of the total value of all book imports, or 85.7 percent. This includes the Parisian printers Francois Regnault and Jean Petit, the stationer-publishers John Reynes and Reginald Wolff, and the Antwerp printer Godfried van Haeghen. The sixth was the son and namesake of Francis Birckman, taking over from his father, who died around 1529. (137) Birckman, Reginald Wolff, and the stationer-publisher John Cockes were three of the five importers in 1537/8 who were known to be directly involved in printing and publishing. (138) Their imports totaled 64[pounds sterling] or 83 percent of books by value for that period.

All but one of the accounts that recorded evidence of book imports were for petty customs, which was paid only by aliens. The account for 1520/1 was for tunnage and poundage, a duty also paid by natives and denizated aliens. Only three importers were identified as indigena in this account: two natives, the author Henry Pepwell and London stationer John Gough, plus an as-yet unidentified Thomas Thorne. (139) They imported 4[pounds sterling]-worth of books and a mixed cargo worth another 4.140[pounds sterling] The total for imports was over 181[pounds sterling], showing that nonaliens made up an insignificant part of the trade for this year. Obviously a single account does not provide enough evidence to draw firm conclusions, and more tunnage and poundage accounts will have to be examined to determine if aliens truly dominated the import business.

Conclusion

A systematic analysis of a wide range of overseas customs accounts helps to illuminate and extend our understanding of the early trade in books in England. The first entry for the import of books in extant London customs accounts was in December 1477, and by 1480/1 there was already a lively book trade, with several merchants specializing in importing books. Since Peter Actors was named Stationer to the King within several years of his first appearance in the accounts, there is a good chance that he and several others had already been involved in the book trade when they first surfaced in the customs accounts. Although the customs accounts do not provide title lists or exact numbers, we can make general estimates, using duties paid, about the most prominent importers and their role in the trade.

The increase in the number of book importers who were also involved in printing or publishing texts shows that within thirty years of the first shipment of books appearing in the customs accounts, the importing of books moved out of the hands of general merchants--those who were involved in importing non book-related goods--and into the hands of specialists, a sign of the development of a formal book industry. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, books were being imported by people involved in printing, publishing, and binding books (Table 3). It is possible that a higher percentage of earlier importers were involved in the book trade, but there are difficulties involved in identifying those importers who were involved in publishing due to nonstandardized spelling of names and the fact that a smaller proportion of incunables identified their printer or publisher. Without the examination of additional poundage accounts, we cannot be sure if aliens truly dominated the import trade, but natives made up an insignificant proportion of the one poundage account included. Difficulties arise in filling out the data due to the number of surviving full-year accounts for either petty or poundage accounts, sometimes forcing large gaps between years examined.

While economic historians have used customs accounts for the study of luxury and nonluxury commodities, so far the study of the movement of books has been overlooked. Changes in the customs duties applied to books over the period studied show them moving from a luxury object, deserving of special individual examination and evaluation, to a common commodity with a fixed price within a few decades of the explosion of printing presses throughout the Continent and England. Economic data has in general been overlooked by book historians, who have tended to rely on title lists and bibliographic surveys when trying to establish the movement of books across countries. This study helps fill out that data with quantitative information provided by the customs accounts which give a good idea of printed texts coming through the Port of London to fill the needs of readers in that country.

APPENDIX A: THE SOURCES

This study draws on eleven fairly complete and legible overseas accounts of petty customs or poundage for the port of London from 1457 to 1535. The accounts were chosen largely on the basis of which were likely to contain information on book imports and which could be most easily filmed in the Public Record Office (PRO). Only one of the accounts is in print: that for 1480/1, edited by H.S. Cobb.

Using the National Archives database, a list was created of accounts that could possible contain cargoes of books (petty customs and tunnage and poundage accounts). All accounts of five membranes or fewer were eliminated, as they were unlikely to cover a full year. Accounts were selected at intervals of five to ten years, although there are no extant accounts between 1523 and 1533.

E122/203/4. 36 Hen. VI. Covers 12 months. The first legible date is November 12, 1457, on fol. 2; the last legible date is August 4, 1458, on fol. 29r. Bound in book form containing 36 folios, all of them recording imports. Tunnage and poundage.

E122/194/19. 11-12 Edw. IV. Covers 10% months from September 29, 1471, to August 4, 1472. Consists of 18 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-17d. Petty customs, particulars of account.

E122/194/25. 20-21 Edw. IV. Covers 12 months from September 29, 1480, to September 29, 1481. Consists of 27 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-11d. Petty customs, controllment of account. Although I worked mainly from Cobb's edition of this account, I checked several entries in the original account to see how he translates the different terms for books.

E122/78/9. 6-7 Hen. VII. Covers 12 months from September 29, 1490, to September 29, 1491. Consists of 18 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-6d. Petty customs, controllment of account.

E122/80/3. 18-19 Hen. VII. Covers 12 months from September 29, 1502, to September 29, 1503. Consists of 29 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-13d. Petty customs, controllment of account.

E122/80/5. 23-24 Hen. VII. Covers 12 months from September 29, 1507, to September 29, 1508. Consists of 32 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-15d. Petty customs, particulars of account.

E122/82/9. 4-5 Hen. VIII. The first legible date for 1512/3 is October 4 in the middle of membrane 1, while the last legible date is September 5 on membrane 29d, with membranes 30 and 30d also containing exports, so it seems to have a full year. Consists of 46 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-30d. Petty customs, controllment of account.

E122/82/3. 5-6 Hen. VIII. Probably covers 12 months. First legible date on membrane3 is November 6, 1514, to September 25, 1515. Consists of 36 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-14d. Petty customs, described as view/controllment of account.

E122/81/8. 11-12 Hen. VIII. Covers 11 months from October 3, 1520, to August 22, 1521. Consists of 44 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-43d. Nearly half of membranes 11-15 are missing. Tunnage and poundage, particulars of account. Account is not catalogued as tunnage and poundage but includes imports by indigena, so it cannot be petty customs.

E122/82/8. 26-27 Hen. VIII. Covers 12 months from September 29, 1534, to September 29 1535. Consists of 48 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-22d. Petty customs, controllment of account.

E122/81/18. 28-29 Hen. VIII. Covers 11% months from October 6, 1537, to September 26, 1538. Consists of 17 membranes; imports cover membranes 1-16d. Petty customs.

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Westchester Community College

NOTES

(1.) Dennis Rhodes, "Don Fernando Colon and His London Book Purchases, June 1552," in Studies in Early European Printing and Book Collecting (London: Pindar Press, 1983), 163-180. Ninety percent of the 80 surviving texts were printed outside England, and the "English" texts were all printed by foreign printers. David Rundle notes that the purchase was for more than 200 books. See David Rundle, "English Books and the Continent," in The Production of Books in England 1350-1500, ed. Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 176-178.

(2.) Andrew Pettegree, "Centre and Periphery in the European Book World," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 18 (2008): 104-105.

(3.) Marjorie Plant, The English Book Trade: An Economic History of the Making and Sale of Books (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1974), 36. Malcolm Parkes refers to this group as "pragmatic readers," those who needed to read for business. They joined the "professional readers," scholars associated with the universities and the church. Another group was "cultivated readers," who read for pleasure. See Malcolm Parkes, "The Literacy of the Laity," in The Medieval World, ed. David Daiches and Anthony Thorlby, Literature and Western Civilization 2 (London: Aldus Books, 1973), 555, 558-559; J. B. Trapp, "Literacy, Books and Readers," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 32-33.

(4.) Rundle, "English Books," 280. In addition, French was also prominent at this time, but losing favor.

(5.) Lotte Hellinga, "Importation of Books Printed on the Continent into England and Scotland before c1520," in Printing the Written Word: The Social History of Books circa 1450-1520, ed. Sandra Hindman (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 205-224; Nicholas Barker, "The Importation of Books into England, 1460-1526," in Beitrage zur Geschichte des Buchwesens im Konfesionellen Zeitalter, ed. Herbert G. Gopfert (Wiesbaden, Germany: In Kommission bei O. Harrassowitz, 1985), 251-266; and Margaret Lane Ford, "Importation of Printed Books into England and Scotland," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 179-201.

(6.) Alexandra Halasz, The Marketplace of Print: Pamphlets and the Public Sphere in Early Modern England (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 1.

(7.) Kate Harris, "Patrons, Buyers and Owners: The Evidence for Ownership and the Role of Book Owners in Book Production and the Book Trade," in Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475, ed. Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 166.

(8.) Curt F. Buhler, The Fifteenth-Century Book: The Scribes, the Printers, the Decorators (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1960), 59-60. George Winship notes that of the 1,300 fifteenth-century imprints of Cologne, two thirds could be described as "assigned readings" for the university and were only six to twelve leaves each. See George Parker Winship, Printing in the Fifteenth-Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940), 57-58.

(9.) Barker, "Importation of Books," 263. Venetian imprints were 600 of 1,328 books.

(10.) One reason Venice became the center of humanist printing is that there was little chance of humanist texts being suppressed in the republic. Elizabeth Eisenstein estimates that Venice accounted for half of Italy's output in the fifteenth century. Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 389-389. See also Horatio F. Brown, The Venetian Printing Press, 1469-1800: An Historical Study Based upon Documents for the Most Part Hitherto Unpublished (Amsterdam: Gerard Th. Van Heusden, 1969), 40.

(11.) Barker, "Importation of Books," 266.

(12.) Hellinga, "Importation of Books," esp. 209-210. Universities include Cambridge, St. Andrews, Oxford, and Aberdeen. She also examined books at the National Library of Scotland.

(13.) Hellinga, "Importation of Books," esp. 218-222.

(14.) For example, Alan Piper and Meryl Foster, "Evidence of the Oxford Book Trade, about 1300," Viator 20 (1989): 155-160; and Barker, "Importation of Books," 251-266.

(15.) Carol Meale, "Alle the Bokes that I Have of Latyn, Englisch, and Frensch': Laywomen and their Books in Late Medieval England," in Women and Literature in Britain: 1150-1500, ed. Carol Meale (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 128-158. Meale was discussing fifteenth-century women; the books for the latter half of the century could possibly be printed. See also Margaret Spufford, "Libraries of the 'Common Sort,'" in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, Vol. 1: to 1640, ed. Elisabeth Leedham-Green and Teresa Webber (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 520-521. Discussing sixteenth- and seventeenth-century collectors, Spufford notes that cheap books would show up in probate inventories if the owner had a collection worth more than a pound.

(16.) N. S. B. Gras, The Early English Customs System: A Documentary Study of the Institutional and Economic History of the Customs from the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1918), 59-77; see also Henry Cobb, "Local Port Customs Accounts Prior to 1550," Journal of the Society of Archivists 1 (1959): 213-224.

(17.) Henry Cobb, "'Books of Rates' and the London Customs, 1507-1558," Guildhall Miscellany 4 (1971): 1.

(18.) The national system was in place as early as the thirteenth century, with local customs existing possibly as far back as the eighth century; see Gras, Early English Customs, 14; Cobb, "Local Port Customs," 214. The summary accounts are in The National Archives, UK, PRO E356 class.

(19.) Gras, Early English Customs, 96; 142; H.S. Cobb, The Overseas Trade of London Exchequer Customs Accounts, 1480-1, London Record Society Publications 27 (London: London Record Society, 1990), xxii-xxvi. Gras refers to the controller's account as a "poor duplicate" of the collector's account, although the controller's account can be used if the collector's account does not survive. After 1478 there were accounts compiled by a surveyor in a similar manner to the controller. See Cobb, Overseas Trade, xxvi.

(20.) Gras, Early English Customs, 96.

(21.) Ibid., 94-99; 130; Cobb, "Local Port Customs," 214.

(22.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, xiii.

(23.) See Cobb, "Books of Rates," 2; Cobb, "Local Port Customs," 222-223; also Paul Needham, "The Customs Rolls as Documents for the Printed-Book Trade in England," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 154. Henry II declared the merchants of Gotland (who later formed the core of the Hanse) free of customs duties and tolls on imports and exports in 1237, although the Hanse needed to reestablish its privileges on a regular basis, often with limited success. The Hanse was charged the 1303 duty but was exempt from the cloth duty of 1347 as well as a temporary subsidy on wine and wool that year. This exemption did not prevent some customs officials from attempting to collect these duties anyway. In 1471, Edward IV confirmed Hanse privileges, but continuation of privileges depended on an annual renewal. See T. H. Lloyd, England and the German Hanse, 1157-1611: A Study of Their Trade and Commercial Diplomacy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), esp. 17, 34, 57, 61-62, 204.

(24.) Cobb, "Books of Rates," 1; Cobb, Overseas Trade, xii.

(25.) For a complete picture of the London overseas trade, all of these accounts (wool customs; petty customs and cloth customs, and tunnage and poundage) would be needed for a given year, but not all the accounts survive. Paul Needham estimates that only 30 percent of petty customs (which would include book imports) between the years 1475 and 1554 survive, while Henry Cobb establishes that there is no single year from 1461 to 1509 where all three accounts survive See Needham, "Customs Rolls," 155-156; Cobb, Overseas Trade, xiii-xiv.

(26.) Gras, Early English Customs, 121.

(27.) Ibid., 122. See also H. S. Cobb, "Introduction," in The Overseas Trade of London Exchequer Customs Accounts, 1480-1, London Record Society Publications 27 (London: London Record Society, 1990), xxv; Peter Ramsey, "Overseas Trade in the Reign of Henry VII: The Evidence of Customs Accounts," Economic History Review 6 (1953): 178.

(28.) Gras, Early English Customs, 123. Ramsey, "Overseas Trade," 178; Henry Cobb, "The Medieval Royal Customs and Their Records," Journal of the Society of Archivists 6 (1979): 229.

(29.) Cobb, "Books of Rates," 5; PRO, E122/80/2 and E122/79/12. Changes were for woad, salt, and pewter.

(30.) Cobb, "Books of Rates," 6.

(31.) Ibid., 8. Gras, Early English Customs, 124. In an earlier article, Gras says that the local customs "by no stretch of the imagination or misinterpretation of facts" expanded into national customs. See N. S. B. Gras, "The Origin of the National Customs-Revenue of England," Quarterly Journal of Economics 27 (1912): 128.

(32.) Gras, Early English Customs, Appendix C, 694-706. Additions and corrections in Cobb, "Books of Rates," Appendix.

(33.) Cobb, "Books of Rates," 11. The 1507 book contained 300 items, while 790 were listed in the 1545 book.

(34.) Needham, "Customs Rolls," 159-160.

(35.) PRO, E 122/81/18, membrane 1d.

(36.) For example, if they were importing only books or book-related goods such as paper, or a wide range of merchandise. Needham discusses cheap books (e.g., primers) sold outside the regular book trade and belonging to the realm of "chapmen's ware," which included playing cards, knives, spectacles, and other small items. These books were imported by the dozen or gross and are considered under a different category here. See Needham, "Customs Rolls," 159.

(37.) Henry Robert Plomer, "The Importation of Books into England in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: An Examination of Some Customs Rolls," The Library 4 (1923): 146-150; expanded upon in Henry Robert Plomer, "The Importation of Low Country and French Books into England, 1480 and 1502-3," The Library s.4, 9 (1928/9): 165-168. Plomer examined PRO, E122/194/24 (1480/1), E122/78/9 (1490/1), E122/79/5 (1494/5), and E122/80/2 (1502/3). Plomer writes that he abandoned his research due to the "monotony" of seeing the same names over and over again.

(38.) Julian Roberts, "Importing Books for Oxford, 1500-1640," in Books and Collectors, 1200-1700: Essays Presented to Andrew Watson, ed. James Carley and Colin G. C. Tite (London: British Library, 1997), 317-333; C. Paul Christianson, "The Rise of London's Book-Trade," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 128-147; and N. J. M Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade in Printed Books," Book Collector 4 (1955): 190-199.

(39.) Roberts, "Importing Books for Oxford," 322-324. Roberts examined PRO, E122/81/9 (1520/1), E122/80/2 (1502/4), E122/86/6 (1534/5), and E122/86/8(1556/7).

(40.) Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade," 193.

(41.) Needham, "Customs Rolls," 148-163. His article has been an invaluable guide.

(42.) Needham himself complains of this more than once in his own article. See Needham, "Customs Rolls," 149, 153.

(43.) Maryanne Kowaleski, "Port Towns: England and Wales 1300-1540," in The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol. 1, ed. Peter Carter (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 477-478 and table 19.1.

(44.) Ramsey, "Overseas Trade," 179-181; and Cobb, "Books of Rates," 2. Accounts not cited.

(45.) Caroline Barron examined petty customs, and customs on wool, cloth, and wine. See Caroline M. Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People 1200-1500 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 84-117 and figs. 5.2, 5.10, and 5.12. See also Howard W. Winger, "Regulations Relating to the Book Trade in London from 1337 to 1586," Library Quarterly 26 (1965): 158.

(46.) James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 9, 54.

(47.) Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages, 46, 69.

(48.) Christopher Dyer, "The Consumer and the Market in the Later Middle Ages," Economic History Review 42 (1989): 308-309, 320, 325. Dyer examined household accounts dated between 1280 and 1500.

(49.) Kowaleski, "Port Towns," 481-483. London handled 65.4 percent of alien trade from 1478 to 1482, although this accounted for only 37.1 percent of total London overseas trade at that time. See also Ramsey, "Overseas Trade," 180; Olive Coleman, "The Collectors of Customs in London under Richard II," in Studies in London History Presented to Philip Edmund Jones, ed. A. E. J. Hollaender and William Kellaway (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969), 185.

(50.) Raven, Business of Books, 30-31. For a discussion of the regulations affecting aliens and trade, see Winger, "Regulations"; and A. W. Reed, "The Regulation of the Book Trade before the Proclamation of 1538," Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 15 (1917): 157-184.

(51.) Covering 1439-1440; 1443-1444; 1469-1467, 1477-1481 and 15091510.

(52.) Liber Alienigenus (Southampton local customs account), vol. II, fol. 6 (Dec. 22, 1480) and account fol. 23r (Dec. 23, 1509) in D. B. Quinn, The Port Books or Local Customs Accounts of Southampton for the Reign of Edward IV, Vol. II, 1477-1481, Publications of the Southampton Record Society 38 (Southampton, UK: Cox and Sharland, Ltd., 1938), 247; and Thomas B. James, ed., The Port Book of Southampton, Vol. I (Weeks 1-26), Southampton Record Society 32 (Southampton, UK: University of Southampton, 1990.) See also D. B. Quinn, The Port Books or Local Customs Accounts of Southampton for the Reign of Edward IV, Vol. I, 1469-1471, Publications of the Southampton Record Society 37 (Southampton, UK: Cox and Sharland, Ltd., 1938); Thomas B. James, ed. The Port Book of Southampton, Vol. II (Weeks 27-52), Southampton Record Society 33 (Southampton, UK: University of Southampton, 1990); Henry Cobb, The Local Port Book of Southampton for 1439-40, Southampton Record Series 5 (Southampton, UK: University of Southampton, 1961); Olive Coleman, The Brokerage Book of Southampton, 1443-4, Southampton Record Series 4 (Southampton, UK: University of Southampton, 1961). Coleman notes that much of the luxury goods entering Southampton were immediately brought to London, with Italians accounting for over 80 percent of goods sent to London. See Olive Coleman, "Trade and Prosperity in the Fifteenth Century: Some Aspects of the Trade of Southampton," Economic History Review 16 (1963): 12. C. Paul Christianson has found imports of books through Southampton in 1494/5 (6 cargoes), 1502, and 1504. See C. Paul Christianson, "The Rise of London's Book-Trade," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 141-142. Christianson lists accounts for only 1502/5, E122/209/2 (15-17 Henry VIII). The only additional information he provides is the names of two of the importers. I did not examine printed accounts that fall outside the time period of this paper. Stuart Jenks is currently working on transcribing all extant customs accounts for London.

(53.) I transcribed all cargoes from digital photographs of the originals. Dr. Maryanne Kowaleski photographed the import section of seven accounts (1457/8, 1471/2, 1490/1, 1502/3, 1507/8, 1512/3, and 1534/5); I photographed the accounts for 1514/5, 1520/1, and 1537/8. To this group I added the print account for 1480/1 in Cobb, Overseas Trade. For a full description of the accounts, see Appendix A. I would like to thank Dr. Maryanne Kowaleski for allowing me to use her photographs for this project, Dr. Heather Wolfe at the Folger Institute for help in transcribing some difficult entries, and Dr. Mary Erler for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. The fiscal year for collecting customs ran from Michaelmas (Sept 29) to Michaelmas, and I am abbreviating the 12-month period as 1514/5, e.g., to represent Sept. 29, 1514, through Sept. 28, 1515.

(54.) Eight of the petty accounts and one of the poundage accounts contained book imports. The tunnage and poundage account is E122/81/8 (1520/1).

(55.) PRO, E122/203/4 (1457/8); and PRO, E122/194/19 (1471/2).

(56.) Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade," 191. She examined London accounts from 1460 to 1492.

(57.) Harris, "Patrons, Buyers and Owners," 182.

(58.) The 1457/8 and 1520/1 accounts are for tunnage and poundage; all the remaining accounts examined are petty customs, which only aliens were liable to pay. See Needham, "Customs Rolls," 154.

(59.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, nn.23 and 30; 7-8; 11-12.

(60.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, n.181; 62-63. Although the two entries vary slightly in number of ells per piece, there are only a few entries that contain only Holland cloth, and this one was the closest in size per piece, so it is the best available figure there is. Based on the value given for Holland cloth for July 21 1481, (13 13s 4d for 20 pieces), it averages out to 13s 2d per piece. The only difference is that the entry is for 20 pieces at 554 ells, or an average of 27.7 ells per piece, while our entry is 3 pieces at 80 ells, or 26.6 ells per piece.

(61.) For example, on June 2, 1481, on the Valentyn of London, Lewis Aufan, alien, imported 1 barrel with 17 mirrors; 4 pounds of thread; 2 small books; 2,000 bone beads; 1 small box; 1 old feather-bed; 2 images; and 12 pounds of pineapple kernels, worth 33s 4d combined. Cobb, Overseas Trade, n.139. Cobb identifies pineapple kernels as "the edible seeds of the pine cone." Perhaps pine nuts? Cobb, Overseas Trade, Glossary, 184.

(62.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, n.1, 139 (parvus libris), n.156 (libris), n.144 (prentyd bokes). I discuss the various descriptions of books and shipping units in a forthcoming paper, Yvonne Rode, "Sixty-Three Gallons of Books: Shipping Books to London in the Late Middle Ages," in Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe 1350-1550: Packaging, Presentation and Consumption, ed. Susan Powell and Emma Cayley (Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2012).

(63.) PRO, E 122/80/5, membranes 8 and 13.

(64.) The "values" are the customs duties collected, not the actual values of the books.

(65.) William Campbell, ed., Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII, from Original Documents Preserved in the Public Record Office (London: Longman, 1873), 211; see also Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade", 193; Winger, "Regulations," 164; and E. Gordon Duff, "Actors (Peter)," in A Century of the English Book Trade (London: Bibliographical Society, 1948), 1.

(66.) Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade," 195. Nelly Kerling believes that Henry Franckenbergk, the second largest importer in 1480/1, may have also taken advantage of Actors' privileges and imported books under his name to avoid paying. Kerling does not elaborate on why she believes this but states that it may explain why "hardly any" imports of books by aliens are recorded around this time.

(67.) Lloyd, England and the German Hanse, 204.

(68.) Clifford S. L. Davies, "Henry VIII and Henry V: The Wars in France," in The End of the Middle Ages? England in the 15th and 16th Centuries, ed. John L. Watts (Thrupp, UK: Sutton Publishing Ltd., 1998), 245; and Richard Britnell, "The English Economy and the Government 1450-1550," in The End of the Middle Ages? England in the 15th and 16th Centuries, ed. John L. Watts (Thrupp, UK: Sutton Publishing Ltd., 1998), 103.

(69.) Britnell, "English Economy," 103.

(70.) Barbara C. Halporn, ed., The Correspondence of Johann Amerbach: Early Printing in Its Social Context (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), n. 174; also nn. 175-180.

(71.) Indigena importers were Henry Pepwell, John Gough, and Thomas Thorne. The mixed cargo totaling 4[pounds sterling] was not figured into the total so no estimate could be made for the proportion of books to other goods (see Table 4 for explanation).

(72.) Both bound and unbound books are listed in this account.

(73.) 25 Henry VIII, c15. (15 Jan. 1534) in James Gardiner, ed., Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Vol. 7, (London: Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1883), 23-24, Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online, http://tannerritchie.com/memso.php; The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), Appendix, 609-10. Howard Winger believes this regulation has more to do with keeping an eye on incoming texts than to benefit local book artisans, as the unbound sheets would be sent in bulk to wholesalers instead of being dispersed to numerous retailers, making them easier to control. See Winger, "Regulations," 169.

(74.) Winger, "Regulations," 176. Regnault is not listed as importing bound books in 1534/5.

(75.) Mary C. Erler, "The Maner to Lyue Well and the Coming of English in Francois Regnault's Primers of the 1520s and 1530s," The Library (1984): 239-240; and Erler, "Devotional Literature," in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain III, 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 503-504. For examples of his primers, see STC 15984, 16208, 15394, 16148, and 16204. It was one of Regnault's Books of Hours that Sir Thomas More took with him to the Tower of London before he was executed. See also Eamon Duffy, Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers 1240-1570 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 136-137.

(76.) Needham, "Customs Rolls," 160.

(77.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, xxxviii.

(78.) PRO, E 122/80/3 membrane 11.

(79.) Egmondt himself was Flemish. See Erler, "Devotional Literature," 501502.

(80.) E.g., STC 16167, 15874, 15801.5, and 16168. Hertzog specialized in liturgical books in red and black. See Barker, "Importation of Books," 256.

(81.) Wigar Johnson, Walter van Delfe, and Jacob Van Larre.

(82.) Vanessa Harding states that we can "safely assume" that surnames with "van" indicate a Dutch origin. See Vanessa Harding, "Cross-Channel Trade and Cultural Contacts: London and the Low Countries in the Later Fourteenth Century," in England and the Low Countries in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Caroline Barron and Nigel Saul (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), 162.

(83.) Ibid., 157.

(84.) The English Short-Title Catalogue lists pre-1642 books printed by or for the English market. Available online at http://estc.bl.uk (accessed March 28, 2008).

(85.) Rudolf Hirsch, Printing, Selling and Reading 1450-1550 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974), 25-26.

(86.) Ibid., 25-26.

(87.) Margaret M. Smith, The Title-Page: Its Early Development 1460-1510 (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2000), 95.

(88.) Nonstandardized spelling of names can make it difficult to identify printer-publishers; e.g., "G. Back" (STC 18873.7), "Govaert Bac" (STC 13606.3), and "Godfry Back" (STC 23155).

(89.) 33 Henry VIII, c177 (17 March 1542), in James Gardiner, ed., Letters and Papers, 78-79. See also Raven, Business of Books, 55-56.

(90.) E. Gordon Duff, A Century of the English Book Trade (London: Bibliographical Society, 1948). The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, however, includes only two of the importers discussed in this paper (Wynkyn de Worde and Julian Notary) and concentrates on their lives and activities within England. See Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004-2011), http://oxforddnb.com.

(91.) Peter W. M. Blayney, The Stationers' Company before the Charter, 1403-1557 (Cambridge: Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, 2003), 15, 18; Duff, Century, xv-xvii; Graham Pollard, "The Company of Stationers before 1557," The Library 18 (1937): 9, 11. Only members of the Stationers were permitted to sell books retail in London. To join the guild, it was necessary to become a citizen. See Christianson, "Rise of London's Book Trade," 145.

(92.) Plomer, "Importation of Low Country," 165.

(93.) There is no way to know what proportion of texts in a given consignment make up books printed or published by their importer.

(94.) Duff, "Birckman (Francis)" and "Birckman (Francis), II," in Century, 14.

(95.) P. J. A. Franssen, "Jan van Doesborch (?-1536), Printer of English Texts," Quaerendo 16 (1986): 262; Duff, "Ruremond, Remonde, or Endhoven (Christopher van)," in Century, 140-141.

(96.) STC 1711; he also printed Sarum missals for Birckman, e.g., STC 15822 and 16207. See also Duff, "Ruremond," in Century, 140-141.

(97.) STC 16240. Marjorie Plant surveyed 105 pre-1540 Sarum Missals in the British Museum and found that only 24 of them were printed in England. The majority (67) are French. See Plant, English Book Trade, 25.

(98.) Christianson, "Rise of London's Book Trade," 140. About the Frankfort fair, see Hirsch, Printing, 63-64.

(99.) E. Gordon Duff, The Printers, Stationers, and Bookbinders of Westminster and London from 1476 to 1535 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906): 219.

(100.) Duff, "Ruwe or Rue (Andrew)" and "Ruwe or Rue (John)," in Century, 142.

(101.) Halporn, Correspondence, nn. 43-44. Rewe signed letter 43 (8 Aug. 1495) as "Andreas Ruwe, German bookdealer" but letter 44 (8 Feb. 1496) as "Andreas Ruwe, Bookdealer in London."

(102.) Ibid., n. 44.

(103.) Ibid., 207-211; see also n.65.

(104.) Hirsch, Printing, 56-57.

(105.) Duff, "Reynes (John)," in Century, 135-136; e.g., STC 15863. Ruremond's printing activities were to come to an end in 1531, when he died in prison in Westminster for selling English-language New Testaments. His illicit activities had been known to Cardinal Wolsey as early as 1526, but Ruremond avoided arrest by staying out of England until 1530. See Duff, "Ruremond," in Century, 140-141.

(106.) PRO, E 122/80/3, membrane 9d.

(107.) Plomer, "Importation of Low Country," 166.

(108.) Ibid.

(109.) PRO, E 122/78/9, membrane 3d, and E 122/80/3, membranes 5d, 9d, and 11 (1490/1 and 1502/3 respectively).

(110.) These were printed especially for the English market, e.g., STC 18873.7, 23155, 231641, and 13606.3. See also Franssen, "Doesborch," 263.

(111.) Duff, "Speryng (Nicholas)," in Century, 151.

(112.) STC 15924.

(113.) STC 23885.3.

(114.) Duff, "Bray (John)," in Century, 17.

(115.) STC 15884 and STC 16160.

(116.) Cobb, Overseas Trade, n.1, 30. Franckenbergk is the first importer of books recorded in the customs accounts, for 6[pounds sterling]-worth in December 1477 (PRO, E 122/194/22). See Kerling, "Caxton and the Trade," 192.

(117.) Pollard, "The English Market for Printed Books, The Sandars Lectures, 1959" Publishing History 4 (1978): 19-20. He also credits the decrease in the number of general merchants involved in the book trade to the registration of copyright, although nonmembers of the Stationers' Company were able to purchase publishing rights.

(118.) PRO, E122/80/8, membranes 13 and 6; Faques became Royal Stationer upon Actors' death ca. 1504, restyling himself Printer to the King. See Duff, "Actors (Peter)" and "Faques (William)," in Century, 1, 45; and Winger, "Regulations," 164.

(119.) PRO, E 122/80/8, membrane 6.

(120.) PRO, E 122/78/9, membrane 6.

(121.) PRO, E 122/82/5, membranes 17, 19, 22, and 29d.

(122.) PRO, E 122/81/8, membranes 21 and 26d.

(123.) PRO, E 122/81/8, membranes 43 and 23.

(124.) Needham, "Custom Rolls," 159.

(125.) PRO, E 122/80/5, membranes 8 and 13, and PRO, E 122/82/8, membrane 9. See Duff, "Pepwell (Henry)," in Century, 119-120; Frederic Avis, "England's Use of Antwerp Printers 1500-1540," Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 48 (1973): 234-235.

(126.) PRO, E 122/81/8, membranes 30d (paper), 21 (two entries), and 23d ("bordes" and "bordes for bokes"). Excluding primers and printing-related items, there were only two mixed cargoes for this year (7%).

(127.) PRO, E 122/81/8, membranes 21, 23, 26d, and 43.

(128.) PRO, E 122/82/8, membrane 21.

(129.) Duff, "Worde (Wynkyn de)," in Century, 173.

(130.) PRO, E 122/80/8, membrane 6d. Duff says he was granted denization in 1496. If so, he should not have paid customs in 1503 or 1508. See Duff, "Worde (Wynkyn de)," in Century, 173-174.

(131.) PRO, E122/80/5, membranes 6d (2 cargoes), 9, 9d, and 13 (2 cargoes). One of the cargoes on membrane 13 included "other" ("alys") goods and could not be estimated.

(132.) PRO, E122/80/5, membranes 14 and 15. See also Duff, "Speryng (Nicholas)," in Century, 151. Speryng/Spierinck was from a family of bookbinders in the Low Countries. Richardson is also from the Low Countries. See Christianson, "Rise of London's Book-Trade," 138, 145.

(133.) Christianson, "Rise of London's Book-Trade," 141. Christianson notes that Harrison was not a Stationer and could only sell books wholesale.

(134.) Duff, "Birckman (Francis)," and "Birckman (Francis) II," in Century, 14.

(135.) Duff, "Chastelain (George)," in Century, 26.

(136.) I have been unable to identify Thomas Bottall.

(137.) Duff, "Birckman (Francis)" and "Birckman (Francis) II," in Century, 14.

(138.) Duff, "Cockes (John)," in Century, 29.

(139.) Duff, "Gowghe, Gouge, or Gough (John)," and "Pepwell (Henry)," in Century, 58-59, 119-120.

(140.) PRO, E122/81/8, membranes 9 and 43 (two entries).

Yvonne Rode is Reference/Instructional and Archives Librarian at Westchester Community College (NY). Her research interests include the economic aspects of the early book trade. She has published "Sixty-Three Gallons of Books: Shipping Books to England in the Late Middle Ages" in Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, 1350-1550: Packaging, Presentation and Consumption (edited by Emma Cayley and Sue Powell), University of Exeter Press, 2012.
Table 1. Total Value and Percent of Book Imports into
the Port of London by Merchant

Year       Merchant                   No. of
                                      Shipments

1480/1     Peter Actors (a)           7
           Henry Franckenbergk (b)    5
           Andrew Rewe                1
           John van Acon *            1
           Bernard van Utrecht        1
           John de Barde              1
           Paul van Malder (c)        1
           Lewis Aufan (c)            1
           Peter Walkyn (c)           1
           Francis Mathew (c)         1

                                      Totals

1490/1     Gerard Millar              1
           Nicholas Beneland          2
           John Rewe                  3
           Peter Actors               1
           Herman Anngell             1
           John Boeidens *            1
           Elizabeth van Acon         1
           Nicholas Pelletre (d)      1

                                      Totals

1502/3     John Anthoe                1
n          John Coleynse              2
           Frederick Egmondt *        5
           Jacob Hansett              3
           Michael Morain *           1
           Wynkyn de Worde *          1
           John Boeidens *            3
           John Sytonf                1
           Francis Birckman *         3
           William Faques (g) *       1
           George Mittelhus *         1
           John Bars                  1
           John Bonase                1
           Julian Notary (g) *        1
           Henry Cony                 1
           Andrew Rewe                1
           Godfrey Bac (c)            1
           Cornelius Johnson          1

                                      Totals

1507/8     Francis Birckman *         5
           Wynkyn de Worde (h) *      6
           John van Ceffryn           1
           John Coleynse              1
           Adrian Cornell             1
           Jean Richard *             1
           Nicholas Spierinck *       1
           Nicholas Gerall (h)        1

                                      Totals

1512/3     Arnold Harrison (i)        4
           Cornelius van Kessel (j)   3
           Francis Birckman *         1
           Anthony Vivaldi            1
           George Chastelain (k) *    1
           George Bart (l)            1

                                      Totals

1514/5     Arnold Harrison            4
           John Reynes *              2
           Wynkyn de Worde *          1
           Edward Nicholson           1

                                      Totals

1520/1     Nicholas Spierinck *       3
           Thomas Bottall             7
           Francis Birckman *         3
           Arnold Harrison            5
           William Fever              2
           Ambrose Geron              1
           John Reynes *              2
           Wynkyn de Worde *          3
           Roland Franke              2
           Bernard Gauton             1
           Cornelius Hermann          1
           John Raymt                 1
           John Thorn                 1
           Ambrose de Viro            1
           Thomas Thorne              1
           John Gough *               1
           Stephen Litler             1
           Godfrey van Howe (m)       1
           Henry Pepwell (m) *        1
           Curt [ ]son (m)            1
           Reginald Oliver (m) *      1

                                      Totals

1534/5     Francois Regnault *        3
           Francis Birckman II *      7
           Godfried van Haeghen *     7
           Jean Petit *               1
           Nicholas Gilles *          1
           Lambert Johnson            3
           John van Hare              1
           James Nicholson *          1
           John Reynes *              1
           Reginald Wolff *           1

                                      Totals

1537/8     Francis Birckman II *      8
           John Cockes *              8
           Reginald Wolff *           3
           Henry van Armann           3
           Herman Evans               1

                                      Totals

Year       Merchant                   Total value

1480/1     Peter Actors (a)           72[pounds sterling] 9s 4d
           Henry Franckenbergk (b)    48[pounds sterling] 8s 4d
           Andrew Rewe                13[pounds sterling]
           John van Acon *            9[pounds sterling] 6s 8d
           Bernard van Utrecht        2[pounds sterling] 6s 8d
           John de Barde              1[pounds sterling]
           Paul van Malder (c)        1[pounds sterling]
           Lewis Aufan (c)            15s
           Peter Walkyn (c)           12s 6d
           Francis Mathew (c)         2s 6d

                                      149[pounds sterling] 1s

1490/1     Gerard Millar              60[pounds sterling]
           Nicholas Beneland          18[pounds sterling] 8s
           John Rewe                  17[pounds sterling] 6s
           Peter Actors               10[pounds sterling]
           Herman Anngell             10[pounds sterling]
           John Boeidens *            3[pounds sterling]
           Elizabeth van Acon         1[pounds sterling] 10s
           Nicholas Pelletre (d)      ?

                                      120[pounds sterling] 4s

1502/3     John Anthoe                20[pounds sterling]
n          John Coleynse              20[pounds sterling]
           Frederick Egmondt *        15[pounds sterling]
           Jacob Hansett              13[pounds sterling]
           Michael Morain *           10[pounds sterling]
           Wynkyn de Worde *          10[pounds sterling]
           John Boeidens *            9[pounds sterling]
           John Sytonf                8[pounds sterling]
           Francis Birckman *         8[pounds sterling]
           William Faques (g) *       4[pounds sterling]
           George Mittelhus *         3[pounds sterling] 6s 8d
           John Bars                  3[pounds sterling]
           John Bonase                3[pounds sterling]
           Julian Notary (g) *        3[pounds sterling]
           Henry Cony                 2[pounds sterling]
           Andrew Rewe                2[pounds sterling]
           Godfrey Bac (c)            1[pounds sterling]
           Cornelius Johnson          13s 8d

                                      136[pounds sterling] 0s 4d

1507/8     Francis Birckman *         25[pounds sterling]
           Wynkyn de Worde (h) *      22[pounds sterling]
           John van Ceffryn           20[pounds sterling]
           John Coleynse              10[pounds sterling]
           Adrian Cornell             4[pounds sterling]
           Jean Richard *             4[pounds sterling]
           Nicholas Spierinck *       4[pounds sterling]
           Nicholas Gerall (h)        ?

                                      89[pounds sterling]

1512/3     Arnold Harrison (i)        28[pounds sterling]
           Cornelius van Kessel (j)   19[pounds sterling] 13s 4d
           Francis Birckman *         8[pounds sterling]
           Anthony Vivaldi            8[pounds sterling]
           George Chastelain (k) *    6[pounds sterling]
           George Bart (l)            2[pounds sterling]

                                      71[pounds sterling] 13s 4d

1514/5     Arnold Harrison            24[pounds sterling]
           John Reynes *              12[pounds sterling]
           Wynkyn de Worde *          4[pounds sterling]
           Edward Nicholson           ?

                                      40[pounds sterling]

1520/1     Nicholas Spierinck *       52[pounds sterling]
           Thomas Bottall             24[pounds sterling]
           Francis Birckman *         20[pounds sterling]
           Arnold Harrison            20[pounds sterling]
           William Fever              15[pounds sterling] 3s 4d
           Ambrose Geron              8[pounds sterling]
           John Reynes *              8[pounds sterling]
           Wynkyn de Worde *          6[pounds sterling]
           Roland Franke              4[pounds sterling]
           Bernard Gauton             4[pounds sterling]
           Cornelius Hermann          4[pounds sterling]
           John Raymt                 4[pounds sterling]
           John Thorn                 4[pounds sterling]
           Ambrose de Viro            4[pounds sterling]
           Thomas Thorne              3[pounds sterling]
           John Gough *               1[pounds sterling]
           Stephen Litler             10s
           Godfrey van Howe (m)       ?
           Henry Pepwell (m) *        ?
           Curt [ ]son (m)            ?
           Reginald Oliver (m) *      ?

                                      181[pounds sterling] 13s 4d

1534/5     Francois Regnault *        47[pounds sterling]
           Francis Birckman II *      27[pounds sterling]
           Godfried van Haeghen *     26[pounds sterling]
           Jean Petit *               12[pounds sterling]
           Nicholas Gilles *          6[pounds sterling]
           Lambert Johnson            6[pounds sterling]
           John van Hare              4[pounds sterling]
           James Nicholson *          4[pounds sterling]
           John Reynes *              4[pounds sterling]
           Reginald Wolff *           4[pounds sterling]

                                      140[pounds sterling]

1537/8     Francis Birckman II *      28[pounds sterling]
           John Cockes *              28[pounds sterling]
           Reginald Wolff *           12[pounds sterling]
           Henry van Armann           10[pounds sterling]
           Herman Evans               4[pounds sterling]

                                      82[pounds sterling]

Year       Merchant                   Percent

1480/1     Peter Actors (a)           48.6
           Henry Franckenbergk (b)    32.5
           Andrew Rewe                8.7
           John van Acon *            6.2
           Bernard van Utrecht        1.6
           John de Barde              0.7
           Paul van Malder (c)        0.7
           Lewis Aufan (c)            0.5
           Peter Walkyn (c)           0.4
           Francis Mathew (c)         0.1

                                      100.0

1490/1     Gerard Millar              50.0
           Nicholas Beneland          15.5
           John Rewe                  14.5
           Peter Actors               8.3
           Herman Anngell             8.3
           John Boeidens *            2.5
           Elizabeth van Acon         0.9
           Nicholas Pelletre (d)      ?

                                      100.0

1502/3     John Anthoe                14.7
n          John Coleynse              14.7
           Frederick Egmondt *        11.0
           Jacob Hansett              10.5
           Michael Morain *           7.3
           Wynkyn de Worde *          7.3
           John Boeidens *            6.6
           John Sytonf                5.9
           Francis Birckman *         5.9
           William Faques (g) *       2.9
           George Mittelhus *         2.4
           John Bars                  2.2
           John Bonase                2.2
           Julian Notary (g) *        2.2
           Henry Cony                 1.5
           Andrew Rewe                1.5
           Godfrey Bac (c)            0.7
           Cornelius Johnson          0.5

                                      100.0

1507/8     Francis Birckman *         28
           Wynkyn de Worde (h) *      25
           John van Ceffryn           22.5
           John Coleynse              11
           Adrian Cornell             4.5
           Jean Richard *             4.5
           Nicholas Spierinck *       4.5
           Nicholas Gerall (h)        ?

                                      100.0

1512/3     Arnold Harrison (i)        40
           Cornelius van Kessel (j)   27
           Francis Birckman *         11
           Anthony Vivaldi            11
           George Chastelain (k) *    8
           George Bart (l)            3

                                      100.0

1514/5     Arnold Harrison            60
           John Reynes *              30
           Wynkyn de Worde *          10
           Edward Nicholson           ?

                                      100.0

1520/1     Nicholas Spierinck *       28.6
           Thomas Bottall             13.2
           Francis Birckman *         11.0
           Arnold Harrison            11.0
           William Fever              8.3
           Ambrose Geron              4.4
           John Reynes *              4.4
           Wynkyn de Worde *          3.3
           Roland Franke              2.2
           Bernard Gauton             2.2
           Cornelius Hermann          2.2
           John Raymt                 2.2
           John Thorn                 2.2
           Ambrose de Viro            2.2
           Thomas Thorne              1.7
           John Gough *               0.5
           Stephen Litler             0.3
           Godfrey van Howe (m)       0.0
           Henry Pepwell (m) *        0.0
           Curt [ ]son (m)            0.0
           Reginald Oliver (m) *      0.0

1534/5     Francois Regnault *        33.6
           Francis Birckman II *      19.2
           Godfried van Haeghen *     18.6
           Jean Petit *               8.6
           Nicholas Gilles *          4.3
           Lambert Johnson            4.3
           John van Hare              2.8
           James Nicholson *          2.8
           John Reynes *              2.8
           Reginald Wolff *           2.8

                                      100.0

1537/8     Francis Birckman II *      34.1
           John Cockes *              34.1
           Reginald Wolff *           14.6
           Henry van Armann           12.2
           Herman Evans               4.9

                                      100.0

Sources: Public Record Office (PRO), E122/194/25 (1480/1); PRO,
E122/78/9 (1490/1); PRO, E122/80/3 (1502/3); PRO, E122/80/5
(1507/8); PRO, E122/82/9 (1512/3); PRO, E122/82/3 (1514/5);
PRO, E122/81/8 (1520/1); PRO, E122/82/8 (1534/5);
PRO, E122/81/18 (1537/8).

Notes: These customs valuations are far below actual retail value.
In general, forenames are anglicized, and surnames preferred by
Duff in Century of the English Book Trade are used. Several cargoes
included other goods, and several methods were used to estimate
the value of books in these shipments, see explanation in text.

* Printer-publishers (see Table 3).

(a) Price of one chest of books estimated to be 9 [pounds sterling] 11s
averaged from prices of chest of books found in other entries in this
account.

(b) Price of 80 ells of Holland linen cloth estimated to be 39s
6d based on 554 ells at 13[pounds sterling] 13s 4d found in same
accounts and deducted from one shipment.

(c) Totals are estimated as 2s 6d per book based on the average
price in other entries (range of 1s to 6s 4d). The prices found
in the entries were all for "diverse histories" but are here
being applied to "books," "printed books," and "small books."

(d) This merchant imported 1,200 primers (normally imported
by the dozen or gross). This is their only occurrence in this
account and there is nothing to compare them to for an estimate
of price.

(e) I treat Hans Conelyns, Hans Conelanyns, and Hans Coxelens
as the same person and associate him with the London mercer and
self-professed bibliophile John Coleyns. See Christianson,
"London's Book-Trade," 142.

(f) Syton imported two fattes (a container similar to a vat) of
libris along with other goods. There is only one other entry for
libris in this account, imported in a basket, which was equivalent
in cost to a basket oflibris impressus. Since those were equivalent
in value, I use an equivalent value of two fattes of libris impressus
for the fattes of libris.

(g) To find the value for books, I deduct 2s 4s per ream of paper
from the total. This is based on the average price of a ream of paper
found in other entries in this account.

(h) Price for mixed baskets of libris impressus including "other"
cannot be estimated.

(i) One cargo cut off after lib. Estimated to be cargo of libris
impressus, like his three other cargoes.

(j) Value of 1512/4 primers (20d per dozen) is taken from the 1507
Book of Rates, see Gras, Early English Customs System, Appendix C.

(k) 6s deducted from cargo for 33 rolls of latten plate. Based on
rate of 20s per 100 rolls of black latten in the 1507 Book of Rates.

(l) Small (parvus) basket interpreted as half-basket and estimated
at 2[pounds sterling] based on the average rate per basket.

(m) Four mixed cargoes of libris impressus and other goods for
which no estimations could be made, totaling 13[pounds sterling]
16s 8d.

Table 2. Value of Books Imported into the Port of London by Type
of Book and Year

Descriptions        1480/1a         1490/1          1502/3

Bokes                                               12[pounds
                                                    sterling] 13s 8d
Prentyd Bokes       12s 6d

Unbound Bokes

Diverse Histories   145[pounds
                    sterling] 11s

Libris, Parvus      2[pounds                        11[pounds
Libris              sterling] 15s                   sterling]

Libris Depictus     2s 6d

Libris Impressus                    85[pounds       112[pounds
                                    sterling] 10s   sterling] 6s 8d

Diverse Libris                      34[pounds
Impressus                           sterling] 14s

Libris Unbound

Libris Impressus
Unbound

Libris Impressus
Bound & Unbound

Libris Impressus
Unbound and Bokes

Primers (b)         ?

Totals              149[pounds      120[pounds      136[pounds
                    sterling] 1s    sterling] 4s    sterling] 0s 4d

Descriptions        1507/8          1512/3             1514/5

Bokes               9[pounds
                    sterling]
Prentyd Bokes       4[pounds
                    sterling]

Unbound Bokes

Diverse Histories

Libris, Parvus      11[pounds                          32[pounds
Libris              sterling]                          sterling]

Libris Depictus

Libris Impressus    65[pounds       44[pounds          8[pounds
                    sterling] (c)   sterling] (d)      sterling] (e)

Diverse Libris
Impressus

Libris Unbound

Libris Impressus
Unbound

Libris Impressus
Bound & Unbound

Libris Impressus
Unbound and Bokes

Primers (b)                         27[pounds
                                    sterling] 13s 4d

Totals              89[pounds       71[pounds          40[pounds
                    sterling]       sterling] 13s 4d   sterling]

Descriptions        1520/1             1534/5       1537/8

Bokes

Prentyd Bokes

Unbound Bokes                          44[pounds    12[pounds
                                       sterling]    sterling]

Diverse Histories

Libris, Parvus      ? (f)              10[pounds
Libris                                 sterling]

Libris Depictus     ? (g)

Libris Impressus    163[pounds         70[pounds
                    sterling] (h)      sterling]

Diverse Libris      ? (i)
Impressus

Libris Unbound                                      20[pounds
                                                    sterling]

Libris Impressus                       10[pounds    46[pounds
Unbound                                sterling]    sterling]

Libris Impressus                       6[pounds
Bound & Unbound                        sterling]

Libris Impressus
Unbound and Bokes

Primers (b)         18[pounds
                    sterling] 13s 4d

Totals              181[pounds         40[pounds    82[pounds
                    sterling] 13s 4d   sterling]    sterling]

Descriptions        Totals

Bokes               21[pounds
                    sterling] 13s 8d
Prentyd Bokes       4[pounds
                    sterling] 12s 6d

Unbound Bokes       56[pounds
                    sterling]

Diverse Histories   145[pounds
                    sterling] 11s

Libris, Parvus      66[pounds
Libris              sterling] 15s

Libris Depictus     2s 6d

Libris Impressus    547[pounds
                    sterling] 16s 8d

Diverse Libris      34[pounds
Impressus           sterling] 14s

Libris Unbound      20[pounds
                    sterling]

Libris Impressus    56[pounds
Unbound             sterling]

Libris Impressus    6[pounds
Bound & Unbound     sterling]

Libris Impressus    4[pounds
Unbound and Bokes   sterling]

Primers (b)         46[pounds
                    sterling] 6s 8d

Totals              1009[pounds
                    sterling] 11s

Sources: See Table 1.

Notes: These customs duties are based on valuations far below
actual retail value.

(a) The values for the various types of books were determined by
averaging the prices of shipments of diverse histories, so these
values cannot be used for comparison. The prices of two chests of
books included in cargoes containing other goods were also
determined by averaging the price of other chests. See explanation
in text.

(b) Only one shipment of primers appears in 1490/1, making it
impossible to value. Price f or primers (20d per dozen) from 1507
on is taken from the 1507 Book of Rates, see Gras, Early English
Customs System, Appendix C. 1520/1 includes one shipment of three
gross "borded primers."

(c) Values for mixed cargoes containing libris impressus cannot
be estimated as remaining goods are described as
"other" ("alys").

(d) Three entries for baskets of libris impressus
were used to estimate other values: One small (parvus) basket is
interpreted as half-basket, estimated at 2 [pounds sterling].
Entries for 2 baskets with prices cut off are valued at
4 [pounds sterling]. One entry cut off after "lib"
entered as libris impressus and valued at 4 [pounds sterling],
as importer had three other shipments, all libris impressus.
One small chest containing libris impressus and 33 rolls of
latten plate valued at 6 [pounds sterling]6s, estimated
to be 6 [pounds sterling]. Based on 1507 Book of Rates for 100 rolls of
black latten at 20s (rates for latten
plate given by 100
weight).

(e) One mixed cargo totaling 8 [pounds sterling]6s 8d includes a basket
of libris impressus and "other" ("alys") that cannot be
estimated.

(f) One cargo of libris and "bordes" that cannot be
estimated, total value 33s 4d.

(g) Four mixed cargoes of libris impressus and other items that
cannot be estimated, totaling
21 [pounds sterling] 6s
8d.

(h) Two mixed cargoes; the first contains libris impressus,
"cardes" and "other"; the second contains 20 reams of paper and
libris depictus that cannot be estimated. Although paper is listed
in the 1507 Book of Rates, there is no value given. See Gras, Early
English Customs System, Appendix C. Total value of shipment is 86s
8d.

(i) One maund of diverse libris impressus and various other items
that cannot be estimated.
Total value 5 [pounds sterling]. One mixed cargo of one
barrel of bokes and a half-basket of libris impressus unbound for
4 [pounds sterling].

Table 3. Value of Books Imported into the Port of London
by Publisher or Printers by Year

Year         No. of      No. of
             Importers   Publishers
                         or Printers

1480/1       10          1
1490/1       8           1
1502/3       18          9
1507/8       8           4
1512/3       6           2
1514/5       4           2
1520/1       21          8
1534/5       10          8
1537/8       5           3
Totals (a)   90          38

Year         Total Value
             Imported by
             Publishers
             or Printers

1480/1       9[pounds sterling] 6s 8d (6.2%)
1490/1       3[pounds sterling] (4.8%)
1502/3       63[pounds sterling] 6s 8d (46.5%)
1507/8       55[pounds sterling] (b) (62%)
1512/3       10[pounds sterling] (c) (14%)
1514/5       16[pounds sterling] (40%)
1520/1       77[pounds sterling] (d) (42.4%)
1534/5       130[pounds sterling] (92.8%)
1537/8       64[pounds sterling] (83%)
Totals (a)   428[pounds sterling] 1s 4d (42.3%)

Sources: See Table 1. Duff, Century; E. Gordon Duff, The
Stationers, Printers and Bookbinders of Westminster and
London from 1476 to 1535 (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1906); C. Paul Christianson, A Directory of London
Stationers and Book Artisans, 1300, 1500 (New York:
Bibliographical Society of America, 1990); STC.

Notes: Printer-publishers marked with an * in Table 1.
This does not mean that all of the books imported by these
merchants were printed on commission for them. Many
importers were difficult to identify.

(a) Several importers appear in multiple accounts; the total
number of individual importers is 75, and the number of
individual printer-publishers is 30.

(b) Two cargoes containing "other" goods could not be estimated.
Total value 11[pounds sterling] 14s 4d.

(c) Average for known printer-publishers is 31 percent
(14[pounds sterling] of 44[pounds sterling]) when imports of
primers are excluded.

(d) One cargo containing "other" goods could not be estimated.
Total value 4[pounds sterling].
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Author:Rode, Yvonne
Publication:The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History
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Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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