Cromwell's Edinburgh press and the development of print culture in Scotland

R. Scott Spurlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alasdair Mann, the noted scholar of book culture in early modern Scotland, has suggested that a significant change had occurred in Scotland's relationship with the printed word by the late seventeenth century. This study sets out to explain how the interregnum served as a 'watershed' during which a consumer demand was created for popular print and how this in turn necessitated a significant increase in the production and distribution of printed material. Beginning with the sale of the press and patent of Evan Tyler to the London Stationers' Company in 1647, the article charts the key factors that transformed Scotland's printing industry from the production of official declarations and works for foreign markets to the production of polemical texts for a Scottish audience. These developments also witnessed publication of the first serial news journal and the growth of a competitive market for up-to-date printed news. More than just an anomaly that flourished during a decade of occupation, these fundamental changes altered Scotland by introducing the large-scale consumption of chapbooks and printed ephemera, thereby initiating the nation's enduring print culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-203
Number of pages24
JournalScottish Historical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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