- Academic Life
The printing of a language often ensures its survival, particularly when it is faced with competition from the language of an economically and culturally powerful and ambitious neighbour. Although printing in Welsh began in 1546, it was the production of this work, the first complete Bible in Welsh, that ensured the continuing vitality of literature in Welsh.
William Morgan (1540?-1604) was a Welsh vicar, who had been a sizar (an undergraduate who performed menial tasks for Fellows in return for meals and lodgings) at St John's College. He was also a scholar in Hebrew and Greek, and had begun, voluntarily, to translate the Pentateuch into Welsh. Summoned to Lambeth, his abilities were vetted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, who then made him his chaplain and encouraged Morgan to complete his translation of the whole Bible. The work was printed in the latter half of 1588, and the dedication makes reference to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in July of that year. Such was the quality of the translation produced that nearly 300 years later it influenced the 1881-85 revision of the English Bible. After its completion Morgan went on to become Bishop of Llandaff, and of St. Asaph.
Given by Herbert Watney.