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Bibliographical Notes: John Kyngston and Fabyan's Chronicle (1559)


The chronicle of Robert Fabyan, one of the best known historical works of the 16th century, appeared in four posthumous editions, 1516, 1533, 1542, and 1559. John Kyngston, a prolific London printer, produced two versions: the 1559 edition and also revised and extended it for the years 1542-1559. Today Kyngston's work is the most widely cited 16th century edition of Fabyan's Chronicle.

This essay examines the two versions of the chronicle, the new narrative, as well as editorial emendations to the 1542 text. Kyngston acknowledged the assistance of only two persons, Robert Recorde, the Tudor mathematician and sage, whose work he had previously printed and the Geman scholar, Johann Funck. Internal evidence, however, indicates that Kyngston's narrative drew on the work of another contemporary printer and chronicler, John Mychell of Canterbury. Historians have generally neglected the role of printers as chroniclers. In addition to Kyngston and Mychell, other 16th century printers including Richard Grafton and Robert Crowley contributed to chronicle scholarship. A study of Kyngston's work reveals his importance as a chronicler and his role in the formation of the national history.

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