Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Newcombe, Thomas

NEWCOMBE, THOMAS, the elder (1627–1681), king's printer to Charles II, was born at Dunchurch, Warwickshire, in 1627. Between 1656 and April 1660 he was the proprietor and printer of the ‘Mercurius Publicus’ and the ‘Parliamentary Intelligencer.’ On 26 May 1657 he produced at Thames Street the first number of the ‘Public Advertiser,’ a weekly newspaper consisting almost entirely of advertisements and shipping intelligence. From about 1665 he reprinted the ‘Oxford Gazette’ under the title of the ‘London Gazette,’ which up to 19 July 1688 is entered in the ‘Stationers' Register’ as the property of ‘Thomas Newcombe of the Savoy.’ He was also the proprietor of the ‘Public Intelligencer.’ On 24 Dec. 1675 the patent of king's printer ‘for the printing of all bibles, new testaments, books of common prayer, of all translations, statutes, with notes or without, abridgments of the same, proclamations and injunctions,’ was granted to Thomas Newcombe and Henry Hills for thirty years, commencing after the various terms previously granted to Charles and Matthew Barker, which began 10 Jan. 1679, and came to an end 10 Jan. 1709. The patent of Newcombe and Hills consequently expired in 1739, when it was assigned by their executors to John Baskett [q. v.] and others.

The third volume of Dugdale's ‘Monasticon’ was printed by Newcombe in 1673. He was called to the bar of the House of Commons on 7 Nov. 1678 to account for a material error in a translation of the ‘Gazette’ into French (Journals of the House of Commons, ix. 534). He explained that the error was due to his translator, M. Moranville. He was an office-bearer of the company of Stationers, and left the company a silver bowl. He died 26 Dec. 1681, in his fifty-fifth year, and was buried at Dunchurch, where, in the south aisle of the church, a tablet was erected by his son. His widow, ‘Mrs. Dorothy Hutchinson,’ died 28 Feb. 1718.

Thomas Newcombe the younger (d. 1691), king's printer to Charles II, James II, and William III, son of the above, died 27 March 1691, and was buried at Dunchurch, Warwickshire. He left money to build almshouses at Dunchurch.

[Colvile's Warwickshire Worthies [1870] pp. 541–3; Dugdale's Warwickshire, 1730, i. 285; Andrews's History of British Journalism, 1859, i. 49, 65–6; Bourne's History of Newspapers, 1887, i. 23, 39; Hansard's Typographia, 1825, pp. 179–82; Timperley's Encyclopædia, 1842, pp. 525, 561–2; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 551, Illustr. Lit. Hist. iv. 204, Library Chronicle, ii. 165.]

H. R. T.