HIGDEN, Ranulph (d.1364). Polycronicon. Translated into English by John Trevisa (1326-1412). Edited and with continuation for the years 1387-1460 by William Caxton (c. 1420-1491). Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde, 13 April 1495.
Chancery 2° (246 x 184mm). Collation: aa8 bb-hh6 a-y8 z6 A-S8 T6 V-X8 (aa1r xylographic title with full-page woodcut, aa1v blank, aa2r Caxton's preface, aa4r table, hh6 blank, a1 dialogue between a clerk and his lord, a2v Trevisa's letter to Thomas, Earl of Berkeley, a3r prefaces to books 1-4, a6v text, books 1-4, z6v blank, A1r books 5-8, X7v colophon, X8 blank. 391 leaves (of 396, without blank hh6 and X8 and with title, X1 and 7 in facsimile); X2-6 possibly supplied from another copy, quire gg misbound between aa and bb. 41 lines and headline, double column, printed foliation. Type: Duff 4. Woodcut initials. (X2-6 extended at lower margin, neatly repaired tear into text in two leaves, marginal tear in aa2, one repaired, headline very occasionally trimmed, a few light stains.) Brown morocco panelled in gilt and blind, gilt spine, gilt edges, by F. Bedford (lightly scuffed at extremities). Provenance: references to the pope deleted in accordance with the new religion after 1534, occasional contemporary marginal annotations, one naming Shaftesbury (f.85v), and underlining; Maggs Bros. (clipped catalogue description laid in).
SECOND EDITION. After Caxton's death in 1491, his foreman, Wynkyn de Worde, took over his printing shop, continuing to print with Caxton's materials, including his device and even signing some books 'in domo Caxton'. De Worde also followed Caxton by printing books in English for a primarily 'gentyll & noble' audience. His edition of Higden's Polycronicon reprints Caxton's of 1482.
De Worde's edition is THE FIRST BOOK IN ENGLAND TO CONTAIN PRINTED MUSIC (on fo. 101). It appears here in the discussion of Pythagoras. The word 'pope' is deleted in accordance with censorship following Henry VIII's break with Rome. HC 8660; Duff 173; STC 13439; R. Steele, The Earliest English Music Printing, Oxford: 1903, no. 1); Goff H-268.