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Richard Grafton

d.1572. Chronicler and printer. A prosperous London merchant and a member of the Grocers' Company, Grafton, a convinced Protestant, arranged in association with Edward Whitchurch for the printing of “Matthew's Bible,” produced under royal license at Antwerp in 1537. The following year Grafton was in Paris supervising the printing of the “Great Bible”-Coverdale's revision of Matthew's Bible without the extensive and overtechnical critical aids. Halted in his efforts by the Inquisition, he escaped to England where a year later the Great Bible was published. In its revised edition of 1540 this remained the official Bible of the English Church until the “Bishops' Bible” of 1568. In disfavor after the fall of Thomas Cromwell, Grafton prospered under Edward VI, receiving appointment as official printer of statutes and acts of Parliament as well as of Bibles and Service Books. Briefly imprisoned by Queen Mary, he retired from business but was subsequently a member of Parliament for London, and later for Coventry. In the 1560s he produced a rather pedestrian and controversial chronicle. Grafton's love for the Reformed faith, his zeal for the printing of the Bible in English, and his heroism in Paris in 1538-39 are undoubted. His rather sharp and occasionally dishonest business methods are a reproach.