Archive for category The Welsh Bible
Over recent weeks many people have mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth 11 and since many have written tributes and messages of condolences, I thought I too should write some brief reflections.
In this post I would like to reflect upon my earliest memories of the Monarch and conclude with a brief perspective on her faith.
In the 1980’s (when I was a boy), my parents took me to London. This was a memorable event and seeing that city for the first time was a monumental experience.
I grew up in the north of England and the Lake District was my favourite place on earth. But still, the thought of going to London took my breath away.
It was a warm day when we arrived in England’s capital. I gazed up at Big Ben in awe and wonder. All around me were red telephone boxes and London taxis. ‘The Queen lives near here‘ I thought.
My parents bought me a souvenir. This was a small Britain’s Deetail Queens Guard metal figure. Afterward they took me to the area of Buckingham Palace. These are memories I cherish very deeply.
Back in those days my parents loved the Royal Family and whenever the Queen appeared on television we all sat around and watched. In our home there was never any challenge of those who were in authority, we accepted rules and that was that. But growing up in the north of England was tough and life was difficult. Many working class people hated the lifestyles of the rich and as a youngster I was horrified to learn that a certain group of protesters had thrown eggs toward the Queen during one of her visits to Manchester. Why would they do that I thought?
Times were changing I suppose. But change does not always bring stability and stableness does not always bring change. Life became tougher and the north became a difficult place to live. But for me, Queen Elizabeth 11 remained an enormous presence and gave our nation a sense of hope, identity and continuity.
I will remember Elizabeth 11 with fondness as the only Queen who will ever reign in my lifetime. All of us have been affected in some way by this extraordinary person and all of us will be effected by the Queens absence. As the saying goes you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
When I learned of the passing of Elizabeth 11 on 8th September 2022, I felt chocked. I didn’t believe it. But when I realized it was true, I sat in silence and cried. Perhaps you also felt this way?
On Friday September 9, 2022, I attended an evensong service at Manchester Cathedral and read some of the tributes people had written. There for my first time “God save our gracious King” was sung.
“The removal of the crown, orb and sceptre to be returned to the high alter at the Queen’s committal was full of appropriate symbolism reminding the world that all human authority is on loan from the King of Kings himself and that he is the one who rightly holds all the instruments of power; conferring them for a finite time onto one of his servants before taking them back at the end of their life to pass onto their successor.”
This is perhaps reflected in the choice of a particular hymn sung at her funeral. It was based upon Psalm 121: 1, “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills” a favourite Scripture of Mary Jones who’s story inspired the founding of the Bible Society in 1804.
I believe the Queen will leave behind an enormous legacy to this country. We will never see the likes of her reign again. Like many people, I am very thankful for the commitment, loyalty and uprightness with which the Queen lived out a life of service.
But no matter who we are, rich or poor, blind or lame, weak or strong, all our lives will come to an end. What happens then? For those who live for this life only, life is but a fleeting moment. But those who live for Jesus Christ live for an eternal destiny in glory.
As a Christian I believe all those who are in the faith are brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no inequality in Him. All my life my late mother Joyce, would sing the words of the famous hymn, “I will cling to the Old Rugged Cross, and exchange it some day, for a crown.” It is an eternal truth that in heaven there will be no kings or queens, no rich or poor, no hatred or division, we will all be made equal and we will all wear a crown.
Queen Elizabeth 11 believed that Jesus Christ has made all things new and when He returns the dead will rise again, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5: 29)
Speaking about her faith, in 2011, the Queen said this, “God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”
I believe those words are thoughtful, and to be cherished.
As we remember the Queen, please do not forget her faith. Because we all have evil within us and power in the wrong hands can be lethal. We all have the Queens faith to thank for her many years of service and strength. In this world we need peacemakers who are willing to give their lives in the service of others. Let us not forget that as God loves us, He gave us so great a gift, Christ Jesus King of Kings, and without Him we have no hope.
In 1800 Mary Jones set off on an epic journey 26 miles barefoot to buy a Bible. Living in extreme poverty and having worked and saved 6 years, Mary managed to acquire enough money.
In those days Welsh Bibles were very rare, so rare in fact that Mary had to walk 2 miles to nearby farm to read one. In Bala however, a man by the name of Thomas Charles was known to supply them. So Mary, determined to own one followed her heart and her destiny.
In 2018 I was blessed to visit Bala for the very first time. The house where Thomas Charles lived is on the high street and it was here where Mary received the Bible she had so eagerly desired.
Nearby is a museum called Mary Jones World and the grave of Thomas Charles is in the church grounds. Here visitors can learn all about the story and find ways of connecting with it. In our day and age it is not so easy to understand why any person would save for such a long time and walk such a distance to get a Bible, after all you can get a copy anywhere. But this reality is a reality because of Mary Jones herself. Thomas Charles was so inspired by what Mary Jones did, that he helped establish the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. Because of Mary Jones, billions of Bibles have been printed and distributed around the world.
What a wonderful gift.
Mary Jones was an outstanding individual and she followed her election and knew that the Bible was worth more than all the materialistic wealth this world can offer.
But if we look at the world around us, ask yourself a question; have we gotten any better since our nation abandoned the Bible and turned to its own ways? Have we united? Has the Church grown or improved? And what about you, have you improved and made this world any better? Have you found any better ethic than the Sermon on the Mount?
Go out, look at the world around you and see for yourself. Ask the question, are we any better as a nation since they abandoned the very Book that established her values?
Or will you learn the lesson, and take that gift and read it for yourself and believe. All I know is that for all this world can offer, for all her worldviews and all her happenings, the Bible is for me the greatest Book in the world and for all my faults, I know that faith in Jesus Christ is enough to save a man. And prayer changes things!
One of the many things I appreciate about Britain, is her incredible amount of archival and documented history. She’s remarkable. Whenever I visit any town or city, something of history can be found on almost ever street. Whenever I see a statue or plaque, if it interests me, I take note.
Most of the time I find my way to the Parish Church and work my way from there. This is how I learned about William Salesbury.
About 2014 I visited St Asaph Cathedral. I had recently completed the production of my documentary Martyr George Marsh and while visiting the Translators Memorial, I was taken back by the history. There before me stood the 19th century memorial, and the proud image of the 16th century Welshman. Salesbury is depicted holding his New Testament in one hand and his letter from Parliament in the other. He is alive and well. Immaculately dressed, holding firmly on to what he, by the grace of God, achieved. I was immediately drawn to this striking artistic representation.
While visiting the Cathedral, I learned more about his New Testament translation and could see similarities between William Salesbury and William Tyndale. From then on, I knew there was a story and I needed to make a documentary about him.
I read books, numerous biographies and as many articles as I could. But I always returned to the statue on every visit.
This statue features throughout my present documentary and in this film, I wanted to bring the man behind the statue down to a viewable level, that his story could be brought to life, made known and understood.
May Britain never forget her own past. Good or bad, evil or righteous, may she never forget her own history. May it stand strong and clear, bold and powerful, lest she find herself, through ignorance and foolishness, condemned to repeat it.
History may not always be good, many may not like it, but when we know the truth, things generally get a little better.
After many years of difficult and complex filming, production and research, WILLIAM SALESBURY The man from Llansannan will be broadcast tonight (06 June) on Revelation TV @ 18:30 UK time.
The film is completely uncommercial and is my contribution to the 500th anniversary of the birth of William Salesbury. I am hoping to continually promote this important Welsh history for as long as I can.
This documentary is grassroots and it is up to the people to continually help promote this history and this story. This documentary has been the most difficult production I have made to this day. My hope, for Wales, is that her people return to the Bible once again and may the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ fill the country with the salvation of souls.
The Bible Society have digitised William Salesbury’s 1567 New Testament and you can download your free eBook here.
WILLIAM SALESBURY The man from Llansannan will also be broadcast on 16 June @ 01:00, 20 June @ 22: 30, 29 June @ 07: 30 and I hope, many more years to come.
No William Salesbury, no Mary Jones.
Thank you to revelation tv for broadcasting this film.
In the 18th century, William Williams (1717-1791) wrote the well known Welsh hymn “Guide me O, Thou great Jehovah”. This hymn in the original Welsh was known as “Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch”.
Today in Wales, it is known as “Cwm Rhondda”. In the Anglican Church it is often known as ‘Guide me O, Thou great Redeemer‘. In other traditions ‘Bread of Heaven‘.
When I was a boy, I often looked through my fathers record collection. He had a vinyl LP called “Songs of the Valleys” by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. The sleeve had a green cover with a picture of the Welsh hills on it. I loved that album, and the track “Bread of Heaven” stood out to me more than most.
There was something about the sound of the Welsh Male Voice Choir singing the chorus “Bread of Heaven”. The sound called my soul to stand up and rejoice and know that some things are beyond us.
The above YouTube video is my version of this timeless and wonderfully powerful hymn. I love Anglican music and my version reflects that tradition of that great organ sound.
I originally recorded the track as part of a larger project. But I have decided to give it a brief, none commercial hearing, for now, during the ‘Coronavirus’ pandemic.
May our Lord Jesus Christ guide you, and your spirit, as this East Wind continues to blow.
On May 6, over 450 years ago, William Salesbury published The Book of Common Prayer and Psalms, newly translated, into Welsh.
This 16th century prayer book had been previously written for use within the Church of England by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Book of Common Prayer would become an important spiritual ingredient in the daily diet of Christians throughout England, and beyond, and continues to be used by Anglicans, even to this day.
The Book of Common Prayer and Psalms has been deeply revered within Christianity, and a majority of English Bibles were printed and bound with it from the 16th century up to the 19th century. It was that important.
Early 19th century editions published by the British and Foreign Bible Society are among some of the earliest Bibles to exclude the BCP. But earlier printed Bibles such as the Geneva Bible and King James Bibles, all contained Cranmer’s Prayer book.
In the year 1567, William Salesbury had translated his version into Welsh under the title; Lliver Gweddi Gyffredin. Back in those days Parliament was Biblically minded and Westminster had given Salesbury the deadline of 1 March 1567 (St David’s Day) to publish his translation. Sadly that deadline was missed. The Book of Common Prayer and Psalms into Welsh did not appear until May 6. But it was not without its opponents.
Anger had outburst by opponents of the Welsh tongue, and people had aggressively demanded that the translation be utterly abandoned. But such opposition was unfruitful. Salesbury did not give in.
Lliver Gweddi Gyffredin was published on 6 May 1567. But Salesbury was the translator, not the author.
Cranmer’s original Book of Common Prayer had been a work of absolute genius and Christian devotion. Rather than divide the Church, Cranmer sought to unify her through Scripture and Prayer.
Cranmer’s prayer book is a very special gift and people would always do well to read it. The Book of Common Prayer and Psalms is a monumental work that has echoed on through the centuries and has fed the Church of God with Scripture, through with Prayer.
It is not a book of ‘prayers’, it is a book of prayer. We need more of that today, perhaps more now than ever.
Hello all, I trust you are well. Here is some good news: my long awaited documentary on 16th century Welsh Bible translator William Salesbury is now available from free viewing on YouTube.
To introduce the narrative, William Salesbury was a Welsh man who lived in the 16th century and sought for many years to publish a New Testament in his own language. At that time the Welsh language was being ignored, but Salesbury cared greatly for his own people and wanted to preserve the Welsh language and give the Welsh speaking people a Bible that they could call their own. In order to see his quest fulfilled, he himself underwent much travelling and suffering.
William Salesbury is a hero of Wales and a historically mysterious character and today many have never even heard of him. Yet his legacy has continued on for over 400 years. With this in mind, it should be no surprise to learn that the documentary has taken me many years to complete and I have chosen release it this year, because 2020 is the 500th anniversary of his birth.
Today, (April 17) is also the day Luther went before the diet of Worms. History is not unfamiliar with suffering. So let us remember, even though suffering continues and the world appears to be uprooted and in a mess, let us know that Christ is King and Sovereign. The Bible says that Jesus Christ upholds “all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1: 3)
So focus your attention on the Word of your souls health and take some time out from ‘COVID-19’ and uplift your souls and read, read, read the New Testament.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forevermore.
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Welsh Bible and the 500th anniversary of the traditional birthdate of Welsh New Testament translator William Salesbury.
According to tradition, William Salesbury was born in 1520 and died sometime around 1580 or 1584. He was from a small town in North Wales and became one of the greatest scholars and Christian hero’s Wales has ever known.
He became an Oxford scholar and withdrew into seclusion during the reign of Mary Tudor between 1553-1558. In 1567 he published a Welsh translation of the New Testament which became the foundation for the 1588 Welsh Bible by Bishop William Morgan.
2020 also marks the 400th anniversary of 1620 Revision of the Welsh Bible by Bishop Richard Parry and Dr John Davies and events around Wales will be held to commemorate this event.
My documentary “William Salesbury, The Man from Lllansannan” marks the dawn of my journey into the history of the Church in Wales and Welsh Christian history. This documentary is my contribution to the life and legacy of this most excellent and dedicated Christian man. Of whom Wales owes so much.
Throughout the Bible, people read, spoke and heard people speak in their own languages. Jesus read the Scriptures in Hebrew, one of His own languages (Luke 4: 16). At Pentecost, the people were confounded because they heard people speak in their own languages (Acts 2: 6). The Apostles and New Testament authors wrote in languages people could understand and the early Church translated them into the common tongue.
Let us remember those who were once in great need of reading the Scriptures in their own languages and remember those who gave their lives and dedication to seeing the most important Book in the world translated into the common tongue.