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4 Bibles, 3 languages, 1 Good News Story

Thu 21 December 2017 - Wed 31 January 2018


The Christmas exhibition in the  St Davids Cathedral library features the Nativity story as told by St Luke in four very different rare and precious Bibles

  • 1620 Bible in Welsh  – much of it translated in St Davids:

This edition of the Bible in Welsh was translated by Dr John Davies, Mallwyd and his brother-in-law Richard Parry. Parry became Bishop of St Asaph in 1604, succeeding William Morgan, the translator of the whole Bible into Welsh in 1588. Morgan’s version had succeeded that of the 1567 translation the New Testament into Welsh by William Salesbury, Richard Davies, Bishop of St Davids and Thomas Huett, Precentor (Dean) of St Davids. Parry’s Bible is the equivalent of the 1611 King James Bible in English.



  • 1633 Rheims Bible translated into English from Latin by English Catholics as part of the counter Reformation attempts:

Bible translated into English from Latin at the English College established in Douai by Catholics from England as part of the Catholic Reformation. At one time they had a temporary home at Rheims, hence the name Rhemes bible. Both Elizabeth I and James I had ordered that any copies found in Britain should be burnt. They clearly missed this one.

This Bible was conserved and rebound by the National Library of Wales in the 1990’s

  • 1611  “Breeches” Bible:

Known as a “Breeches” Bible as Genesis III, 7 reads: Then the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig tree leaves together and made themselves breeches. This copy was owned by Thomas Havard, bishop of St Davids 1950-1956 to whom the Cathedral Library is a memorial. It was given to the library in 1991 by his son Dr. WH Havard and repaired and rebound by the National Library of Wales in 1994

  • Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German:

Translated into German from the original Greek and Hebrew by Martin Luther. It was a key part of the movement for the Reformation of the Church. The New Testament was published in 1522 and the whole bible in 1534. At various times, while both Henry VIII and Mary I ordered the destruction of Luther’s books, many scholars in Britain worked to keep them in existence.


Thu 21 December 2017
Wed 31 January
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