St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham, home to a rare and recently discovered first edition of the King James Bible, is to feature in BBC TV’s Songs of Praise on Sunday (2 October).
Filmed at Wrexham’s Parish Church the programme will hear from the town’s Vicar, the Revd Dr Jason Bray who found the seventeenth century book in a store cupboard last year.
Dr. Bray who is a former lecturer in biblical studies at St Michaels’ College, Llandaff explains to Songs of Praise presenter, David Grant, how the language of and phrases from of the King James Bible still influence popular culture today. He said: “The programme celebrates Black History Month and Songs of Praise came to Wrexham to consider how the King James Bible has impacted on the music scene and Caribbean culture in particular.
“A good example of this is the words of Bony M’s ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ which come straight from Psalm 137 in the King James Bible.
“As part of the programme I explain how I came to find our first edition when I was clearing out cupboards in the church last October. The National Library of Wales authenticated the book and we hope one day to property display it inside the church.”
The first edition of the King James Bible dates from 1611. Some 54 Greek and Latin scholars worked on what was to become the official version of the bible for the Church of England and one of the greatest literary works in the English language.
Dr Bray added: “Every church would have had such a bible at the time but it’s remarkable that this has remained within the church for more than four hundred years.
“St Giles itself dates from the 1330s but was completely rebuilt in the late fifthteenth century.
“We still have the wooden lectern dating from 1524 on which the bible would have been placed.”
St Giles also has a copy of the Welsh Bible dating from 1620. Both are currently housed in a secure storeroom.
You can watch Dr Bray and find out more about Wrexham’s King James Bible on Songs of Praise, BBC1, on Sunday 2nd October at 4.15pm.