1586: Decree of Star Chamber grants the University one printer and printing press.

In 1584, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Chancellor of the University, petitions Queen Elizabeth I for royal recognition of a press at Oxford. A Star Chamber document mentions the legal existence of Oxford’s press in 1586. Joseph Barnes becomes Oxford’s first printer under these conditions.

The Oxford University Press Archive and Library has been generously providing us with snippets and artifacts from the Press’s history every Sunday and the information above is taken from our ‘timeline’. Please visit their website, or if you’re in Oxford this summer, make an appointment to visit the Museum. 

Image credits: Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth I. Both portraits are public domain via Wikimedia Commons.