Above is a copy of the first page of the Wynkyn de Worde edition of ‘a lytell geste of Robyn hode and his meyne.’ (Cambridge University Library Ms. Sel.5.18). The date of this edition is difficult to put more precisely than between 1492 and 1534.
Wynkyn de Worde (Jan van Wynken) d.1534/5 was William Caxton’s journeyman who arrived in England about 1481. After Caxton’s death in 1491 de Worde took over his former master’s print shop in Westminster and in about 1500 moved his presses into ‘flete street at the sygne of the sone.’ Fleet Street later became known as the ‘spiritual home of British journalism.’
During his career de Worde published over 400 books in 800 editions, on subjects like religion, poetry, husbandry and household practice. But he also printed children’s books, Christmas carols, ballads and romantic novels for a mass audience, including this surviving edition of ‘A Gest of Robyn Hode’.
To read more about ‘A Gest of Robyn Hode’ please click on the Robin Hood Ballads and Robin Hood History labels.