William Morgan Bible Comes Home

Article excerpt

Byline: HYWEL TREWYN @HywelTrewyn

ONE of the few remaining bibles originally printed in Welsh is to return to the birthplace of its translator.

Bishop William Morgan is revered as the saviour of the Welsh language and the bible he translated from Greek and Hebrew into Welsh was in the library at cash-strapped Coleg Harlech before it was bought for around PS30,000 by the National Trust.

WILLIAM Morgan was born in Ty Mawr in 1544/5, the son of John Morgan and Lowri Williams. John Morgan was a sub-tenant of the Wynn family of Gwydir, and it appears was a fairly affluent yeoman.

William's church career began while he was still a student at Cambridge in 1572 when he was appointed minister of Llanbadarn Fawr, followed by periods at Welshpool, Denbigh, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Llanfyllin and Pennant Melangell. In 1595, he was appointed bishop of Llandaf and bishop of St Asaph in 1601.

On the orders of Elizabeth I, Morgan not only translated the Old and New Testaments but did so into eminently readable Welsh. Archdeacon of St Asaph, the Venerable Bernard Thomas, said: "It saved the Welsh language without a shadow of a doubt and the style of William Morgan's translation established the style of Welsh literature."

SAVIOUR OF WELSH BIBLICAL DISPLAY THE first edition of the Welsh Bible appeared in 1588 with a revised version published in 1620. It is this later version which continues to be used in Wales today.

The translation marked a very important moment in the history of the Welsh language and in the history of Christianity. William Morgan gave the Welsh people easy access to biblical teachings and created a standard version of written Welsh for the first time.

As well as the newly-bought bible, copies of the bishop's translation, as they were first published in 1588 and in 1620, will be on display in Ty Mawr. There is also a small collection of family bibles and religious works in Welsh. Visitors from around the world come to see Morgan's birthplace and over the years have given a copy of the bible written in their language to Ty Mawr. …