Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Caxton, William, first English printer, was born about 1422 in the Weald of Kent. He began as an apprentice to a London mercer, Robert Laye, who was Lord Mayor 1439-40, and was successful, having gone into business for himself at Bruges. In 1471 he gave up commerce and became attached to the household of Charles, Duke of Burgundy, whose wife Margaret, sister of Edward IV., was subsequently Caxton's patron. He had acquired the art of printing while at Bruges, where in 1474 he printed the first book in the English language, viz. Recuyell of the Historyes of Troy, and in 1476 he returned to England, and in the following year printed the Dietes and Sayings of the Philosophers, the first book printed in England. Another early book of Caxton's was the Game and Playe of the Chesse. He was a remarkably industrious man, and an accomplished linguist. He died in 1491.