Bishop Marks

Henry Bishop | Bishop MarkFollowing the restoration in 1660, Henry Bishop was made Postmaster General and granted the farm of the Post for £21,500 per year starting on the 25th June.The first type of British postmark was introduced in 1661, at the London Chief Office, when Henry Bishop, (Postmaster General June 1660 to April 1663.), refuting charges of delays in the post, claimed: –
“A stamp is invented, that is putt upon every letter shewing the day of the moneth that every letter comes to this o ice, so that no letter Carryer may dare to detayne a letter from post to post; which, before, was usual.” Bishop published the announcement of the “Bishop Mark” in the Mercurius Publicus. The Bishop Marks varied in size and in lettering, and they remained in general use until 1787 with some use continuing into 1788, at which point the design was altered and they started to resemble the more standard circular date stamps of later years.

This document includes all the original pictures used by Eunice Shanahan with the addition of other items to illustrate the points. The entire text has been checked and revised to ensure that the information presented is as full and correct as possible. At the end of this work is a catalogue type listing of the various marks that are known to exist.

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