Corbett's bookshop

Inventory page 6 - image and transcription

In 1626 when William Corbett was running his bookshop, there was no printer in Newcastle, so he had to import his books from elsewhere. The inventory records that when he died, Corbett owed debts of £15 to ‘John Wright of Londone’, £5 to ‘John Margaite of Londone’ and £10 to ‘John Grisman of London’ – presumably for books he had purchased. John Wright and John Grisman were both booksellers. John Wright had a shop at the Kings Head in the Old Bailey, and is famous as one of two booksellers who sold Shakespeare’s sonnets in 1609. He also printed early newspapers and ballads, and was official printer for parliament from 1643. John Grisman (also spelt Grismand or Grismond) had a shop near St Paul’s, also printed ballads, and was one of four authorised type-founders (makers of type for printing presses) in London.

At this date, it tended to be booksellers rather than printers who bound books. The London booksellers probably sent books to William Corbett in sheets, as they were easier to transport this way. The inventory gives evidence that Corbett bound his own books: it includes 'parchment for covering books'sheep and calf skins (also used for covering books), and also unbound books in 'quires' (i.e. folded in half in gatherings of pages).

Find out more about other seventeenth-century printers and booksellers in Newcastle on the next page.

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Sources and Further Reading

Philip Gaskell (1972) A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Henry R. Plomer (1907) A Dictionary of the Printers and Booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1642 to 1667. London: Bibliographical Society.