« PreviousContinue »
so much edification before the simple, as some other parts of the same canonical Scriptures may be thought to have. "93
As the Reformation proceeded, the attention of the bishops and other reformers was turned to the principality of Wales. A bill was brought into the house of commons, on the 22nd of February, 1563, enjoining that the Book of Service in the church should be in the Welsh tongue, in Wales. On the second reading, March 4th, it was added, that the Bible also should be in the Welsh tongue. It was read a third time and passed on the 27th of March. This act contained these clauses amongst others; I.“The bishops of Hereford, St. David's, St. Asaph, Bangor, and Landaff,* and their successors, shall take such order amongst themselves for the soul's health of the flocks committed to their charge, within Wales, that the whole Bible, containing the New Testament and the Old, with the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, as it is now used within the realm in English, be truly and exactly translated into the British or Welsh tongue: and that the same so translated, being by them viewed, perused, and allowed, be imprinted to such number at least, that one of every sort may be had for every cathedral, collegiate, and parish church, and chapel of ease, in such places and countries of every the said dioceses, where that tongue is commonly spoken or used, before the first day of March, anno Domini 1566. And that from that day forth the whole divine service shall be used and said by the curates and ministers, throughout all the said dioceses, where the Welsh tongue is commonly used, in the said British or Welsh tongue, in such manner and form, as is now used in the English tongue, and differing nothing in any order, or form, from the English book. For the which books so imprinted, the parishioners of every the said parishes shall pay the one half, or moiety, and the said parson and vicar of every the said parishes, (where both be,) or else the one of them, where there is but one, shall pay the other half or moiety. The prices of which books shall be appointed and rated by the said bishops, or their successors, or by three of them at the least. The which things, if the said bishops, or their successors, neglect to do, then every one of them shall forfeit to the Queen's majesty, her heirs, and successors, the sum of £40. to be levied of their goods and chattels.”
(93) Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, I. ch. iv. p. 155.
* These were John Scory, bishop of Hereford ; Richard Davies, bishop of St. David's; Thomas Davies, bishop of St. Asaph; Roland Merick, bishop of Bangor, who was succeeded by Nicholas Robinson in 1566 ; and Anthony Kitchen, bishop of Landaff, succeeded in 1566, by Hugo Jones,
II. “And one book containing the Bible, and one other book of Common Prayer, in the English tongue, shall be brought and had in every church throughout Wales, in which the Bible, and Book of Common Prayer, in Welsh, is to be had by force of this act, (if there be none already,) before the first day of March, one thousand five hundred and sixty-six. And the same books to remain in such convenient places within the said churches, that such as understand them, may resort at all convenient times to read and peruse the same; and also such as do not understand the said language, may, by conferring both tongues together, the sooner attain to the knowledge of the English tongue; any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding."
Except the LORD'S PRAYER AND TEN COMMANDMents, published by Sir John Price, in 1546, 4to.,95 the only attempt towards translating the Sacred Scriptures into Welsh, of which we have any account, prior to the passing of this act, was made by William SALISBURY, or SALESBURY, of Denbighshire.
(94) Herbert's Typog. Antiq. III. pp. 1606, 1607. Lond. 1790, 4to,
Journals of the House of Commons, I. (95) Le Long, I. p. 445.
This was a translation of “The LESSONS and PORTIONS of the SCRIPTURE that are read in the church, at the time of service, on all Sundays and holy days throughout the year,” 1551, 4to.* Strype says, this translator was joined with John Waley, a printer, living in London, in a patent for seven years, to print the Bible in Welsh.96
The important work of translating the whole of the Bible into the Cambro-British or Welsh language, was, however, deferred long after the time stipulated by the act of Elizabeth, owing partly to the defect of not appointing any particular person to have the charge of it, and partly from her majesty not having considered the poverty of her Cambrian subjects, and provided a fund for defraying the expenses of the undertaking. The first part of the Welsh Scriptures which was printed after the passing of the act, was the New TESTAMENT, printed in 1567, by Henry Denham, who had a privilege granted him for printing the New Testament in Welsh. It was a small quarto, printed with the gothic or black-letter type, containing 399 pages, divided into books and chapters, but not into verses, except towards the conclusion. The greater part of this translation was made by Mr. WILLIAM SALISBURY, assisted by Dr. RICHARD DAVIES, bishop of St. David's, and Mr. Thomas Huatt. Bishop Davies introduced the work with an Address to his countrymen, exhorting them to forsake the superstitions of popery, and to read the Word of God: and Mr. W. Salisbury prefixed a Dedication to the queen, in which he complained of the superstitions of the Welsh, and earnestJy entreated her Majesty to promote the pious undertaking of publishing the Old Testament, as well as the New, in the language of the principality.
* For this information, and whatever relates to the Welsh Scriptures, unless otherwise acknowledged, I am indebted to the Rev. John Hughes, the learned author of " Horæ Britannicæ; or Studies in ancient British History,” 2 vols. 8vo. (96) Strype's Agnals, I. ch, xxxvii. p. 391.
William SALISBURY, or SALESBURY, who was the principal translator of this New Testament, was born at Llanrwst, or Lansannan, in Denbighshire; and studied for some time at Oxford, whence he removed to Thaives-Inn, London. Here he applied to the law, but does not appear to have risen to any eminence in that profession, his principal object being the cultivation of the Welsh language, and the translation and dissemination of the Scriptures. During the persecutions of Queen Mary's reign, he withdrew from the storm; but on the accession of Elizabeth he renewed his labours for the good of his countrymen, “among whom his name will be beld in the highest veneration, as long as the language of ancient Britain continues to be spoken by them." He
He compiled, 1. A Dictionary in English and Welsh,” 1547, 4to., which appears to have been reprinted, without date, by Whitchurch; and again in 1551, by Robert Crowley. 2."A little treatise of the English pronunciation of the letters.” 3. “A plain and familiar introduction teaching how to pronounce the letters in the British Tongue.” This was twice printed, in 1550 by Robert Crowley, and in 1567 by Henry Denham. 4. “Battery of the Pope's Bottereulx, commonly called the High-Altar;" Lond. 1550, 8vo. 5. “ The Laws of Howell Dha.” 6. “A Welsh Rhetorick," revised, enlarged, &c. by Henry Perry, B. D. The period of his death is uncertain, but he was living in 1567. Anth. Wood speaks of him as living in his latter days in the house of a bookseller, in St. Paul's ChurchYard.97
RICHARD DAVIES, or Davies, D. D. was the son of David ap Gronw, and born in the county of Denbigh. He was educated in the university of Oxford. In the reign of Queen Mary, he fled to the continent, to avoid
(97) Hughes's MS,
Chalmers' Gen. Biog. Dict. XXVII. p. 67.
the persecutions raised against the Protestants. On his return to England, he was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph, January 21st, 1560; and was translated to the see of St. David's, May 21st, 1561. He died November 7th, 1581, aged 80, and was buried in the church of Abergwilly, near Caermarthen. He translated into Welsh, the second Epistle to Timothy ; the Epistle to the. Hebrews; and the Epistles of James, Peter, and John, with that of Jude. He also assisted in the English translation of the Bible.
Thomas HuAtt was precentor of St. David's. He translated into Welsh, the Book of the Revelation. In the year 1588, the whole of the Sacred Scriptures were published in Welsh, under the superintendence of Dr. WILLIAM MORGAN, vicar of Llanrhaiadr yn Mochnant, in Denbighshire. The archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. John Whitgift, liberally contributed to the expenses of the translation, in conjunction with Dr. Gabriel Goodman, dean of Westminster, a native of Ruthin, in the principality; and entertained Dr. Morgan, while he continued in London.
This Bible, which was printed by Christ. Barker, London, was a fine black-lettered folio, and the typographical execution elegant and correct. The New Testament of this edition was formed from Salisbury's Translation, but revised and corrected. The coadjutors of Dr. Morgan, in this important undertaking, were the Drs. WILLIAM Hughes, Hugh Bellott, David POWELL, EDMUND Price, and RICHARD VAUGHAN; to whom Willis adds John SALISBURY, bishop of Man.
Of the Welsh version, including the subsequent revisions, Mr. Hughes says, “ It reflects great credit on the persons engaged in it. It is the Word of God faithfully rendered from the original tongues, for which the English version (98) Godwin, De Præsalibus, II. p. 292. Cantab, 1743, fol.