The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XVIII. The Book-Trade, 1557–1625

§ 18. John Day

Among all the stationers and printers of this period the most prominent name is that of John Day, whose career, beginning in 1546, extended into four reigns. His important patent for printing the Psalms in metre and the ABC and Catechism has already been referred to; but, in addition to this advantage, he was fortunate in securing the support of those in authority and especially of archibishop Parker, in whom he found a generous patron. With Parker’s encouragement, he did much to set a high standard of printing, and he had several new founts of type cut. About 1567, he published the first book (Aelfric’s Paschal Homily) printed in Anglo-Saxon characters; and this Saxon type was also used in the archbishop’s edition of Asser’s Aelfredi regis res gestae of 1574, which is one of the finest specimens of Day’s typographical art. The purely literary interest of Day’s press is by no means commensurate with the important place which it holds in the history of English printing. Most of the books which bear his imprint are theological and ecclesiastical works of a strictly orthodox character, but among them there stands out the first English edition of Foxe’s Actes and Monuments (1563). He also issued many of the works of Thomas Becon and, in 1570, the first authorised edition of Gorboduc and Ascham’s Scholemaster. William Seres, who printed with Day in the years 1546 to 1550, produced some noteworthy translations, including Thomas Hoby’s English version of Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano, and Arthur Golding’s Caesar and Ovid. In 1569, he published An orthographie by John Hart, Chester herald, which contains examples of phonetic spelling.