Celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the introduction of printing to Scotland began in 2007, and in 2008 institutions and organisations throughout Scotland marked the quincentenary with exhibitions and events highlighting the heritage of Scotland’s printing industry. Throughout 2008 institutions and organisations throughout Scotland marked Scotland’s Year of the Printed Word, led by the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Printing Archival Trust and Print Scotland.
On 15 September 1507, James IV of Scotland granted Walter Chepman, an Edinburgh merchant, and his business partner Androw Myllar, a bookseller, the first royal licence for printing in Scotland.
Although the licence was actually granted to enable the printing of the Aberdeen breviary (a book of Scottish church practices and the lives of local saints complied by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen) ‘The Complaint of the Black Knight’ by John Lydgate is the first known work from the press, printed by Chepman and Myllar on 4 April 1508 near what is now Edinburgh’s Cowgate. A plaque commemorating the event was unveiled on 4 April 2008, and a celebratory dinner for over 100 people was held that evening.
Printing spread gradually through Scotland, with a press established in St Andrews in 1552, a short-lived one in Stirling in 1571 and in Aberdeen in 1622, with other major towns such as Glasgow following later in the seventeenth century.
There is a full record of these celebrations on the Scottish Printing Archival Trust's website.
Androw Myllar — Scotland's first printer