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William Caxton (abt. 1422 - abt. 1491)

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William Caxton
Born about in Kent, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died about in London, Englandmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 16 Mar 2018
This page has been accessed 75 times.

Categories: Company of Merchant Adventurers of London | St Margaret, Westminster.

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William Caxton was born in Kent about 1422 to parents whose names are not known. [1] In 1438 he was apprenticed to Robert Large, a silk mercer of London and by 1453 was settled in Bruges and becoming very successful in business. [2] His trade in expensive commodities brought him into contact with the rich and the fashionable and in those days nothing was richer or more fashionable than the Burgundian Court. [3] On 3 July 1468 Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV of England was married to Charles the Bold, the Burgundian Duke [4]and William entered her service but he still remained a businessman at heart.

He began translating books but also took up the new trade of printing using copper engravings. He collaborated with Colard Mansion and in 1473 they produced the first book ever printed in English: "Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye" which he himself had translated. By 1476 he was back in England with a press of his own, his first known book produced there being Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. [5]

William died in 1491 or 1492 and was buried at St Margaret Churchyard in Westminster. [6]His will, which is no longer extant, caused a great many problems for his daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Gerard Croy. [7]


  1. The Dictionary of National Biography Caxton, William (1415x24–1492)
  2. William Caxton Wikipedia: William Caxton
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Wikipedia: Charles the Bold
  5. William Caxton Wikipedia: William Caxton
  6. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 24 July 2018), memorial page for William Caxton (c.1422–c.1491), Find A Grave: Memorial #7073, citing St Margaret Churchyard, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  7. The Dictionary of National Biography Caxton, William (1415x24–1492)

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No known carriers of William's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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