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Middleton, William (fl.1541-1547) (DNB00)

MIDDLETON or MYDDYLTON, WILLIAM (fl. 1541–1547), printer, worked at the sign of the George, next to St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street, London. He succeeded to the press which had belonged successively to Richard Pynson [q. v.] and to Robert Redman [q. v.], and which had been carried on after the death of the latter, in October 1540, by his widow, Elizabeth Pickering, until her marriage with Ralph Cholmondeley in 1541. Like his predecessors, Middleton confined himself almost entirely to the production of learned works. The earliest dated books which issued from his press were Richard Whitforde's ‘Dyuers holy instrucyons and teachynges very necessarye for the helth of mannes soule,’ and the ‘Perutilis Tractatus’ of John Perkins, a law book in Norman-French, both printed in 1541. About 1542 he printed in folio ‘The great boke of statutes cōteynyng all the statutes made in the parlyamentes from the begynnynge of the fyrst yere of the raigne of kynge Edwarde the thyrde tyll the begynnyng of the xxxiiii yere of … kyng Henry the viii,’ as far as the end of the twenty-first year of Henry VIII, the volume being completed with the acts of the subsequent sessions printed annually by the king's printer, Berthelet. Many other law books issued from his press, including ‘The greate abbrydgement of all ye statutes of Englāde,’ 1542, Saint Germain's ‘Dialogues in English between a Doctor of Divinity and a Student in the Laws of England,’ 1543, ‘Carta Feodi,’ 1543, ‘Returna Brevium,’ 1543, Littleton's ‘Tenures,’ 1544, ‘Natura Brevium,’ 1544, ‘Manner of Keeping a Court Baron,’ 1544, ‘Institutions of the Laws of England,’ 1544 and 1547, ‘Office of Sheriffs,’ 1545, and the ‘Book for a Justice of Peace,’ and two editions of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert's ‘Book of Surveying,’ without date. He printed also some medical books, among which were the ‘Treasure of Poor Men,’ 1543, ‘The Seeing of Urines,’ 1544, an ‘Herbal,’ 1546, Carey's ‘Hammer for the Stone,’ 1546, Borde's ‘Breviary of Health,’ 1547, and Moulton's ‘Mirror or Glass of Health,’ undated. Among miscellaneous works his chief productions were the ‘Chronycle of Yeres,’ 1544, Robert Whittington's translation of the three treatises of Seneca, ‘The Form and Rule of Honest Living,’ 1546, ‘The Mirror or Glass of Manners,’ 1547, and ‘Remedyes agaynst all casuall chaunces,’ 1547, Richard Smythe's ‘Defence of the Mass,’ 1547, Erasmus's ‘Flores Sententiarum,’ 1547, and Æsop's ‘Fables,’ Taverner's ‘Garden of Wisdom,’ Gosynhyll's ‘Praise of all Women,’ and John Heywood's ‘Foure PP.,’ without date. He also reprinted twice in folio the first volume of Pynson's edition of Lord Berners's translation of Froissart's ‘Chronicles,’ but both of his editions are undated.

Middleton used two devices. The smaller consists of a shield bearing a rebus on his name, with supporters. The larger, of which there are three sizes, has the shield with the rebus hanging from a tree, and supported by two nondescript male and female figures, having at their feet a scroll, which, in the smallest of the three devices, bears the printer's name. Henry Middleton [q. v.] was probably his son.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ed. Dibdin, 1810–19, iii. 547–54.]

R. E. G.