For Welsh children of years past, the story of Mary Jones and her Bible is legendary. In 1563, Parliament passed a law allowing for the translation of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into Welsh. However, no Welsh version of the complete Bible existed until 1588, when it became the first non-state language of Europe to have a translation. Many couldn’t afford to buy a Bible of their own, but 15-year-old Mary Jones saved pennies for six years. In 1800, she walked barefoot, 25 miles across rugged mountain terrain, just to buy a Bible for the church from Thomas Charles. According to tradition, Charles was inspired to form a Bible society, and Mary’s story became one of the great legends in Welsh culture.
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