First edition of King James Bible from 1611 found in church cupboard

Rev Jason Bray found the forgotten tome when doing a stock take at St Giles Church, Wrexham

The Rev Dr Jason Bray and the first edition King James Bible

The Rev Dr Jason Bray and the first edition King James Bible Photo: Cascade

A vicar clearing out a cupboard at his church found a forgotten first editionKing James Bible dating back to 1611.

There are believed to be fewer than 200 such Bibles still in existence.

The Rev Dr Jason Bray stumbled upon it as he was taking stock at St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham town centre.

He said: “We basically found it when we were going through the cupboards.

“We didn’t know it was a first edition, but we sent photographs to the National Library of Wales and they confirmed that it was, dating back to 1611.

“It has been authenticated, and as far as we know, has always been here.”

He added: “King James wanted everybody to use the same Bible and have it put in all the churches. What he was trying to do was create some sort of uniformity.”

The Bible is an important find for the church as it is one of just a few copies of the first edition of the authorised Bible, which set guidelines not just for Christian worship in the English language, but also for the English language itself.

It was printed in London by Robert Barker, printers to King James I, who commissioned the Bible’s translation at Hampton Court in 1604.

“We basically found it when we were going through the cupboards.”
Rev Dr Jason Bray

Known as the Authorised Version (AV) of the Bible in English, the King James Bible was the third Bible to be translated into English and officially approved by the Church, putting together a number of translations agreed on by scholars working in Westminster, Oxford and Cambridge.

It went on to become the internationally accepted and authorised version of the Bible in English, although parts of the Bible were first translated into English by William Tyndale and published nearly 100 years earlier.

The St Giles copy is not completely intact, with a frontispiece missing from the Old Testament and some pages missing from the back.

But it is otherwise in good condition and the text is still legible due to the use of woven paper, which has a low acid content.

Rare £10,000 bible discovered in Devon

A similar copy found in Great St Mary’s at Cambridge University in 2011, also a first edition, was valued at several thousand pounds.

Dr Bray, who has been at St Giles Church since April, said he read Alfred Palmer’s The History of the Parish Church of Wrexham and decided to go looking for some of the items mentioned as being in the church’s collection.

He added he was unable to guess at the value of the Bible.

“I have absolutely no idea of its value. I don’t know how many there are in existence and you can buy pages on the internet for about £500 each.

“It’s not absolutely complete, but it’s not far off.”

Dr Bray is now keen to see the church’s first edition given a proper storage and display space.

“We’re keeping it safe at the moment, but we would like to have somewhere to display it – but to do that, we’ll need money.”


Filed under Humor and Observations

2 responses to “First edition of King James Bible from 1611 found in church cupboard

  1. Pingback: Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  2. Pingback: Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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