Worcester Cathedral Library and Archive Blog

In Worcester Cathedral Library we have, amongst the collection of incunabula (i.e. printed books produced before 1501) a small but fascinating group of books or fragments printed by the father of English printing, William Caxton. These include two leaves from Caxton’s first edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, published in Westminster in 1478. These two leaves are recorded in a letter from the donor in 1919 as being “spare ones” in a copy of the first edition which he calls the “earliest and I think rarest of the Caxton books”. In addition the Library also has a small folio of fragments from what was effectively the fourth edition of Canterbury Tales, published from the same premises in Westminster in 1498 by Caxton’s successor Wynkyn de Worde.

Wynkyn de Worde was a native of Wörth in Alsace. He is believed to have been in Caxton’s…

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