Monday, 18 January 2016

Mary Jones' Bible (Welsh History)

Last week I told the story of the Welsh Bible. The Bible may have been translated into Welsh, but few people had one. Here’s a famous story from two hundred years later.

Mari [Mary] Jones was from a poor family, born in 1784, the daughter of a weaver. She lived in Wales at the foot of Cader Idris, in a place called Llanfihangel-y-Pennant. She didn’t have her own Bible, but she wanted one very much. Bibles were scarce in those days. It took her six years to save enough money to pay for a Bible, but there was nowhere locally to buy one.

In 1800 she set off to walk to Bala, 25 miles away, barefoot as usual, to buy a Welsh Bible from the only place she knew they were for sale. The Rev Thomas Charles sold her a Bible and was touched by the lengths she was prepared to go to just to get one.

He later used her story to propose to the council of the Religious Tract Society to form a society to provide Bibles to Wales. That society became the British and Foreign Bible Society, and Mary’s Bible is now in their archives at Cambridge University Library.

In the ruins of her cottage there is now an obelisk as a memorial to her and her search for a Bible. How important is the Bible to you today?

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