Commentary on the Stationers' Royal Charter 1557

Ronan Deazley, Lionel Bently (Editor), Martin Kretschmer (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


Royal Charter providing the Company of Stationers with corporate legal status within the City of London, and conferring on them exclusive control over printing within England. The grant of the Charter ensured that the Company's licensing procedures became the standard by which members of the book trade secured the right to print and publish literary works, giving rise to what is generally referred to as ‘stationers' copyright'.
The grant of the Charter by Mary is often understood as the point at which the monarchy established an effective regulatory institution to control and censure the press, in the guise of the Stationers' Company, in exchange for an absolute monopoly over the production of printed works. In fact, the commentary suggests that censorship of the press throughout the Tudor period remained an essentially ad hoc and reactive phenomenon, and that both Mary and Elizabeth relied, not primarily upon the Company of Stationers, but on the use of statutory instruments and royal proclamations to censure heretical and treasonous texts.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on the Stationers' Royal Charter 1557', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


  • copyright history


Dive into the research topics of 'Commentary on the Stationers' Royal Charter 1557'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this