Crafting The Past
booksellers coney street york

Printing in York

In 1649, Parliament passed an ‘Act against Unlicensed and Scandalous Books and Pamphlets, and for better regulating of Printing.’ This meant ‘printing presses were restricted to London, the two Universities, York, and one press in Finsbury used to print the Bible and the Psalms.’[1] The Act allowed York to continue printing and all books of divinity were licensed by the Archbishop of York. This supported York to become an important ecclesiastical centre — a role it has retained to this day. Printing in the city even developed Royal connections as, after deserting parliament, King Charles I moved himself, his printer (Robert Barker), the royal press and his court to York to publish royalist propaganda


Henry Pulleyn

registered as apprentice in 1564-65

Listed on pageant records in 1572 at station 6

He is also listed in a deeds records here

Booksellers,  BookBinders and Engravers

Thomas Sotheran

Nr 9 – 1823: Sotheran Thomas;Booksellers, Stationers, Binders, &c 

John Glaisby

Number 9 1850-1851 +1872 Glaisby John book and print seller and city library

Wm & Franicis Lawson


Nr 13: 1810: Lawson Wm. & Francis, Engravers. 

1823: Lawson Francis; Booksellers, Stationers, Binders, &c 

John Sampson

Nr 14 1872 – Sampson John; bookseller, print seller, fancy stationer, and library 

Henry Sotheran

Nr 40 1829 Sotheran Henry; Booksellers and Stationer Printers-Letter-Press 

  1827 + 1840 – Henry Sotheran; Bookseller 

 Then 44 Coney Street

John Francis Monkhouse

Nr 34.5 Copley’s Court 1870/72 – Monkhouse Francis John; lithographer and engraver 

Robert Hawkswell

Judges Court 3 1870/1872 Hawkswell Robert; lithographer 

Robert Johnson

Nr 47 1840 – Printers, (See Booksellers & Newspapers also) Johnson Rt, ct 47 Coney St; h 8 Blossom St 

Charles Davies

 Nr 52 1850/51 *Charles Davies Booksellers Assistant 



Charles Geo Hamlen

Assistant Book Seller (1881) 13 Coney Street

Gray Pawson 1824

Bookbinder (1861) 10 Coney Street

John C Wilson 1868 - ?

John C Wilson (1868 – ?) 

Book Seller, Stationer & Book Binder (1901) 

Coney Street

Thomas Wilson

Book Seller (1789) 

Christopher Hetherington

Bookseller at the sign of the Pope’s Head, opposite the George Inn.

He then moved to Pavement, and set up a printing press in Coppergate where he published the York Chronicle on the 18th December 1772

He was made bankrupt in 1777

printer coney street york


Fridericus Freez 1450?

In 1497 Frederick Freez was enrolled as a freeman as bokebynder and stacyoner. (Showing in Find My Past Freeman records) his name may have been Vries originally.

Printer wasn’t a coined term at that date in the catalogue of York crafts, but he is listed in 1510 in legal documentation  as buke prynter

In 1506 the Corporation made an order that ‘Frederick Freez a dutchman and an alien enfranchised, should dwell and inhabit on the common ground at the Rose, otherwise the Bull in Conyngestrete for 10 years at three pounds yearly rent’ Originally a mediaeval merchants mansion of the 15thC. In 1459 it was “ordained that from this day forth, no aliens coming from foreign parts, shall be lodged within the said city, liberties or suburbs thereof, but only in the Inn of the Mayor and Commonalty, at the sign of the Bull in Conying Street” There was also a piece of ground attached belonging to the corporation, it may be that he was granted the land to build on.
By 1515 he is listed as living in the Parish of St Helen on the Walls

His brother Gerard, later takes the name Wanesford, is a dealer in printed books but unsure where. It is likely they were both part of the dutch printers who worked with Caxton, there is an extant book containing 2 church service. Printed for him in Rouen

He had 2 sons who were the victims of religious persecution Valentine a cordwainer and Edward apprenticed as a painter and then a Novice Monk he escaped to secular life in Colchester and married; eventually being arrested for heresy,

taken from A Memoir Of The York Press: With Notices Of Authors, Printers, And Stationers, In The Sixteenth, Seventeenth, And Eighteenth Centuries (1868)

Thomas Broad 1600 ?

In 1644 Thomas broad was employed by the corporation of York as a printer. listed in the corporation accounts. 2 or 3 years later he moved from Stonegate to Coney Street, near the Guildhall gates.

For the next few years he published sermons and literary productions, of the puritan and non conformist clergy.

In 1647 he was granted freedom of the city

William Blanchard

John Blanchard 1784

Son of  William Blanchard, claimed “Printer” by “Birthright” on 11 Feb 1806, in the City Of York Apprentices And Freemen 1272-1930, (subcategories “Apprentices”) 

Benjamin Blanchard 1780-

Son of  William Blanchard, claimed “Printer” by “Birthright” on 07 Apr 1802, in the City Of York Apprentices And Freemen 1272-1930

Henry Duncason

Apprentice Printer, at least 1784-1792.  Apprentice “servitude” to William Blanchard, Recorded 1792 City of York apprentices and freemen 1272-1929 

John Hargrove

Apprenticed to William Blanchard by 1779, Britain, Country Apprentices 1710-1808 

In 1820, was potentially publisher of the York Herald with William Hargrove and Henry Cobb 

Joshua Threapland  

Apprentice Printer, at least 1794-1801. Apprentice “servitude” to William Blanchard, Recorded 08 Dec 1801

Alice Broad

Alice was Thomas Broad’s wife and inherited the business on his death. Her work was as significant as that of her husband’s.

She left the business to her son in law John White, who continued running it in the original Stonegate premises. White’s 2nd wife Grace inherited the business on his death and printed the 1st York newspaper the York Mercury on 23rd February 1719

Philip Knapton 1788 - 1883

Engraver and Printer of Sheet Music (1820) 

Coney Street  

“Some time about or before 1820 the firm was a very flourishing one, and much sheet music, beautifully engraved and printed, is found bearing the imprint,  ‘Knapton, White, & Knapton, Coney Street, York.’ I do not know the history of the business after the death of Phillip Knapton.” (British Music Publishers – Sheet Music Printers and Engravers) 

  • Born October 20th, 1788 to  Samuel Knapton & Mary Knapton (born Merry) 
  • Siblings:Walter,  Mary Ann Birkett (born Knapton),  Jane Knapton,  Philip Knapton 
  • Also mention of Knapton S. and P., music and musical instrument warehouse in Coney st. 
  • Also mention of  Knapton Philip, professor of music; with a house in St. Saviourgate. 

Source: British Music Publishers – Sheet Music Printers and Engravers:  

The York Courant & York Herald

Alexander Staple

In 1734 John White, (son of the previous John White mentioned) sold his newspaper the York Courant to John Gilfillan; it later came into the possession of Alexander Staples of London who moved the press to Coney Street, almost opposite St. Martin’s Church; Staple’s business failed in 1738 and the press passed to Caesar Ward and Richard Chandler

Caesar Ward 1710-1759

Caesar Ward had a bookshop over the Black Swan in Coney Street, as well as Temple bar in London, and in Scarborough

He took over the running of the York Courant, based in the bagnio in Leopard Yard in 1738, along with his partner Richard Chandler. The newspaper was published in Ward‘s sole name. Indiscretions of Chandler and the resultant bankruptcy of the firm led to Ward‘s sale of the printing house in 1745; the York Courant of 25 June was published by Ward‘s former assistant, Richard Bucktrout. With the help of the historian Francis Drake and others, Ward was able to re-establish his business, and by 4 February 1746 the York Courant was again appearing under his name. It was Ward‘s successful management of the newspaper which forced Gent to discontinue his own paper. In 1745 Ward was reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons for contemptuous reporting of parliamentary proceedings. Under White the York Courant was a four-page quarto; under Staples and Ward it was a four-page folio. (fn. 3) Taken from the

More information about the works published by Ward can be found here

Ann Ward 1715-1789

Ann Ward was the wife, then widow of Caesar Ward Printer and Editor of the York Courant, which was based at the old bagnio building in Leopards Yard.

On his death she continued to print the newspaper and other works.

She published the first two volumes of Laurence Sterne’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman in December 1759. Sunters coffee house, which was the base of the Good Humour Club, dedicated to Sterne fans was behind the building which became the Courant office in 1759. The deeds for this are here

She continued being a printer for 30 years until her death

George Peacock

 In 1788 Ann Ward took George Peacock into partnership, and the York Courant, still containing four pages, was published in their joint names. After Ann Ward‘s death in 1789, Peacock remained as sole proprietor until 1809

Caesar Peacock

 when he was succeeded by his son Caesar who published the paper until 1819. For six weeks in December 1819 and January 1820 the paper was printed and published by Ann Peacock but she was then succeeded by Henry Cobb;

Henry Cobb

Henry Cobb; renamed the paper the York Courant and Original Advertiser, and it was published under that title until 27 April 1848. The paper had in 1815 been bought by the proprietor of the York Herald,  William Hargrove, and it was amalgamated with that paper in 1848. The York Courant had remained a four-page paper until 24 March 1829 when it was increased to eight pages. (fn. 4)

William Hargrove

The York Herald was first published in 1790 it was controlled by a succession of partnerships, until on 31 July 1813 it was for the first time said to be published by ‘Hargrove and Company’; the publishers in February 1820 were William and John Hargrove and Henry Cobb. (fn. 8)

William and John Hargrove continued as pub lishers until July 1848; William was thenceforth sole publisher until in January 1856 William Wallace Hargrove and Alfred Hargrove were admitted as partners with their father. Alfred had been on the paper’s staff since 1841 and William Wallace since 1843. William Hargrove died in 1862, and in 1873 Alfred retired (daunted by his brother’s plan to publish the paper daily), leaving W. W. Hargrove, as sole proprietor, to found the York Herald Newspaper Company Ltd. in the following year. The Hargroves’ paper was printed in Coney Street at the former office of the York Courant which had been bought by William Hargrove in 1815; the sales advertising office remained in Pavement for some years after the removal of the presses to Coney Street.

The York Herald of 1790 contained four pages, increased to eight in 1843 and twelve in 1855. In 1858 the Yorkshireman was incorporated with the Herald. In 1869 W. W. and A. E. Hargrove founded the weekly Yorkshire Telegraph in order to test the popularity of a 1d. newspaper, (fn. 9) and in 1871 the Yorkshire Advertiser was incorporated with the Telegraph. The success of the experiment with a 1d. weekly led to the York Herald’s becoming a 1d. daily with four pages on 1 January 1874; by February it had been increased to eight pages. An eight-page weekly paper continued to be published as a supplement to the daily paper, however. The Yorkshire Telegraph was incorporated with the York Herald on 1 January 1877; and in 1882 W. W. Hargrove founded the Yorkshire Evening Press, its first number appearing on 2 October. (fn. 10)

In the Herald’s centenary year, 1890, its title was changed to the Yorkshire Herald, and during subsequent years its size was occasionally increased from eight to ten pages for individual numbers. W. W. Hargrove retired in 1899 and died in 1918.

David Russell

  • 1778: Registered deed in York as “Printer” on 26 Sep 1778 
  • 1785: Registered deed on Coney Street as “Printer” on 25 May 1785 
  • 1787: For much of her career, Ann Ward was assisted by the printer David Russell, formerly employed by her husband, Caesar Ward. Russell became part-owner of the business, although his name did not appear in their imprints. About 1787 Ann Ward bought back Russell’s share, so that the whole of her printing business could be passed on to her son-in-law George Peacock. 
  • 1792: Registered deed on Coney Street as “Printer” on  5th Jun. 1792 
  • 1796: Registered deed in Monkgate as “Printer” on 13 Apr 1796 
  • 1798: A David Russell is mentioned in City Of York Militia & Muster Rolls 1509-1829 

Thomas Stone

Newspaper Publisher (At least 1840-1851) 

9, Office, Coney Street 

  • Publisher: The Courant (1840) 
  • York Herald (Thursdays) (1851) 
  • Lived at 36, Stonegate. 
  • Further mention in The Burney Collection