Notes and Queries, Number 59, December 14, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 51 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 59, December 14, 1850.


The first paper-mill in England.

In the year 1588, a paper-mill was established at Dartford, in Kent, by John Spilman, “jeweller to the Queen.”  The particulars of this mill are recorded in a poem by Thomas Churchyard, published shortly after its foundation, under the following title:—­

“A description and playne discourse of paper, and the whole benefits that paper brings, with rehearsall, and setting foorth in verse a paper-myll built near Darthforth, by an high Germaine, called Master Spilman, jeweller to the Queene’s Majyestie.”

The writer says: 

  “(Then) he that made for us a paper-mill,
  Is worthy well of love and worldes good will,
  And though his name be Spill-man, by degree,
  Yet Help-man now, he shall be called by mee. 
  Six hundred men are set at work by him,
  That else might starve, or seeke abroade their bread;
  Who now live well, and go full brave and trim,
  And who may boast they are with paper fed.”

In another part of the poem Churchyard adds: 

  “An high Germaine he is, as may be proovde,
  In Lyndoam Bodenze, borne and bred,
  And for this mille, may heere be truly lovde,
  And praysed, too, for deep device of head.”

It is a common idea that this was the first paper-mill erected in England; and we find an intelligent modern writer, Mr. J.S.  Burn, in his History of the Foreign Refugees, repeating the same erroneous statement.  At page 262, of his curious and interesting work be says: 

    “The county of Kent has been long famed for its manufacture of paper. 
    It was at Dartford, in this county, that paper was first made in

But it is proved beyond all possibility of doubt that a paper-mill existed in England almost a century before the date of the establishment at Dartford.  In Henry VII.’s Household Book, we have the following:—­

    “1498.  For a rewarde geven at the pulper-mylne, 16s. 8d.”


    “1499.  Geven in rewarde to Tate of the Mylne, 6s. 8d.”

And in Bartholomeus de Proprietatibus Rerum, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1495, mention is made of a paper-mill near Stevenage, in the county of Hertford, belonging to John Tate the younger, which was undoubtedly the “mylne” visited by Henry VII.

The water-mark used by John Tate was an eight-pointed star within a double circle.  In the {474} twelfth volume of the Archaeeologia, p. 114., is a variety of fac-similes of water-marks used by our early paper makers, exhibited in five large plates, but is not a little singular that the mark of John Tate is omitted.

Edward F. Rimbault.

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Specimens of foreign English.

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Notes and Queries, Number 59, December 14, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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