Caxton Gardens

Caxton Gardens, is one of the many streets in Manadon, named after famous British literary figures. William Caxton was in Kent, 1422, and is regarded and rightly respected as the first English printer. He is thought to have learnt his trade in Cologne, in 1471-2, and set up his first printing press with Colard Mansion, a Flemish calligrapher, in Bruges. In 1474, he printed the first book in the English language, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, which he translated himself. Another of his early publications was, The Game and Playe of the Chesse.

In 1476 he set up the first press in England. The wooden press was stationed in Westminster, where Tothill Street now stands. The first book printed here was the Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres. Caxton printed works by many other authors, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Gower’s Confessio Amantics and Malory’s Morte d’arthur. He also translated many texts into English, from French and Latin, before he died in 1491. Of the one hundred or so books he printed a little over a third survive as either unique copies or in fragments.