Posts Tagged William Morgan

William Salesbury’s Book of Common Prayer and Psalms

William Salesbury St Asaph © 2020 Simon Peter Sutherland

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.

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WILLIAM SALESBURY The Man from Llansannan, now on YouTube

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.

Simon

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William Salesbury’s 500th Anniversary

William Salesbury St Asaph © 2020 Simon Peter Sutherland2020 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.

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William Salesbury The Man from Llansannan Trailer 2020

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William Salesbury Welsh Bible documentary interview

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William Salesbury, Welsh Bible documentary

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William Salesbury documentary © 2016 Simon Peter Sutherland

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!

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The Welsh Bible and a forgotten preacher

 

Welsh Bible from Anglesey

19th century Welsh Bible from Anglesey  © 2013 Simon Peter Sutherland

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”.

DSC05493The text says “his end was peace”.

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.

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