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St David’s Day and the Bible in Welsh

Posted on Feb 19

1 min read

College Events & News

As St David’s Day approaches, we have been looking into the history of the first complete printed Bible in Welsh. Johnian alumnus William Morgan (c.1565), a Welsh vicar and scholar in Hebrew and Greek, had begun to translate the Pentateuch into Welsh while at St John’s. He is credited with having ultimately translated the whole Bible and it was printed in the latter half of 1588. Morgan also mentioned alumnus Edmwnd Prys (c. 1565), a contemporary of his from St John’s, with having assisted in the preparation of his translation.

William Morgan (c. 1565)

A first edition of the Welsh Bible is housed in the Upper Library of St John’s and is borrowed annually for the Chapel’s St David’s Day service.

All are welcome to attend a service in St John’s Chapel for St David’s Day on Friday 1 March 2024 at 6:30pm. The Evensong service will be sung and conducted in Welsh in celebration of St David’s Day and in honour of the Johnians who first translated the full Bible in Welsh, William Morgan and Edmwnd Prys.

You can read more about the Welsh Bible and see a digitised copy here: