A Monument in Language History

Article excerpt

WILLIAM Morgan (1545-1604) was Bishop of Llandaf (Cardiff) and later St Asaph and the translator of the first version of the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew.

He was born at Ty Mawr Wybrnant near Betws-y-Coed. As his father was a tenant of the Gwydir estate, he was probably educated at Gwydir Castle, near Llanrwst. Morgan then attended St John''s College, Cambridge where he studied subjects including philosophy, mathematics and Greek.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Morgan was a clergyman of the Church of England, having been ordained in 1568 by the Bishop of Ely. His first clerical benefice was the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr in 1572. Three years later he moved to Welshpool, and then Llanrhaeadrym- Mochnant. Morgan was still at Cambridge when William Salesbury published his Welsh New Testament in 1567. Morgan firmly believed in the importance of having the Old Testament translated into Welsh.

He began work on his own translation of the Old Testament in the early 1580s and published this, together with a revision of Salesbury''s New Testament, in 1588. …