What a shrewd fellow!

June 10th, 2014, 11pm

It was 16°C with no clouds detected. The breeze was gentle.

This is the cover page of my father’s copy of The Bishop’s Bible, 1588 edition (which makes it 426 years old this year). This Bible was produced in an attempt to replace the Geneva Bible, which was the first English Bible to contain extensive marginal notes. These notes had a distinct Calvinistic and Presbyterian flavour, which didn’t go down well with the largely ‘high Anglican’ Church of England, hence the production of this version which was far more acceptable!

1588 was also the year in which the Spanish Armada was defeated, and the year that Bishop William Morgan’s Welsh Bible was first printed, credited with saving the Welsh language, no less!

An interesting fact came to light as I was looking into these things. One man links all three Bibles that I’ve mentioned (the Geneva Bible, the Bishop’s Bible and the Welsh Bible): Christopher Barker, Printer to Queen Elizabeth I. What a shrewd fellow he was!

In 1576 he managed to secure the rights to print the Geneva Bible (first produced in 1560). Just a year later he bought the rights to print “all statutes, books, bills, Acts of Parliament, proclamations, injunctions, Bibles, and New Testaments, in the English tongue of any translation, all service books to be used in churches, and all other volumes ordered to be printed by the Queen or Parliament” (see this Wikipedia article). This included the Bishop’s Bible, first produced in 1568. This meant that between 1576 and 1599 he and his deputies (George Bishop and Ralph Newbery) had supplied about 70 editions of the Scriptures. Quite something, and of course, this must have made Christopher Barker a very wealthy man.

As I said at the start - what a shrewd fellow!

Christine and David Wade said thanks.

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Adrian Tribe

A follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and father, a Kentish Man (not a Man of Kent), a commuter to London

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