Posts Tagged William Morgan
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.
Over the past two – three years, I have been sporadically presenting and producing a documentary on Welsh Bible translator William Salesbury.
Salesbury was born c 1520 in Llansannan, Wales. He was educated at Llanrwst and Oxford and spent time in London where he became involved with the printing press. However, during the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-1558) he returned to Wales and went into hiding. Upon the accession of Elizabeth 1 Salesbury appealed to Parliament to translate and publish the New Testament. He was granted his request and he became the first person to translate the New Testament into the language of Welsh.
Salesbury was a mysterious character, who suffered for the faith and although many aspects of his life remain unknown, it is the legacy of the man which is arguably of the greatest interest. From my perspective, researching ancient Welsh, Latin and English Bibles is always a joy, and travelling hundreds of miles around the beautiful countryside of North Wales, and the great cities of England, in the footsteps of the 16th century Linguistic Reformed Scholar has been an intriguing adventure.
The documentary will be released in the future. Keep posted!
I was recently in a second hand, part antique, part book shop in North Wales. An old Welsh Bible with crumbling binding and unbound leaves was amongst the books. I took the Bible, purchased it and looked for points of interest within it.
The Bible dates from 1857, so it is not that ancient. It was published, as most 19th century Welsh bibles are in “Llundain”. It is likely to be a print of the 1620 revision of ‘William Morgan’s’ translation, and from the notes an inscription inside, it appears to have been owned by a 19th century preacher. His name was “John Davies”.
From the handwritten inscription written on a blank page between the Old and New Testaments, it appears that Mr Davies lived on Anglesey in the village of “Llannerchymedd” in the 19th century.
Back in those days, the village was home to a busy market, perhaps Anglesey’s most popular. The handwritten tribute in this Welsh Bible says Mr Davies was a “manufacturer” so perhaps he continued his trade in Llannerchymedd.
The handwritten notes pay tribute to Mr John Davies and says that he was from “Flintshire” in North Wales and died “the 4th day of April 1859”. This was the same year of the shipwreck of the “Royal Charter” at Moelfre, where I purchased the book.
The writer says he died “in the 73 years of his age” of which 34 years of his life had been spent a member of a Christian church and was “a local preacher with Baptists”.
So I have written these thoughts on him and hope on my part that it offers just a tiny tribute to a man whom, like so many, time has forgotten.
I would have liked to have visited his grave this time and to have taken that Bible with me, but time forbid me such. So maybe in the future, should I return, I hope to visit his resting place and lay some mark of respect on his grave, a flower or something. It is the least I can do.