William Morgan (Bible translator)

Last updated


William Morgan
BpWilliamMorgan.jpg
Born1545
Died10 September 1604
OccupationFirst translator of whole Bible into Welsh
Bishop of Llandaff and St Asaph

William Morgan (1545 – 10 September 1604) was a Welsh Bishop of Llandaff and of St Asaph, and the translator of the first version of the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew.

Contents

Title page of Morgan's translation of the Bible 1588 First Welsh Bible.jpg
Title page of Morgan's translation of the Bible
The opening page of The Book of Genesis in Morgan's Bible 1588 First Welsh Bible f.1.r Genesis.jpg
The opening page of The Book of Genesis in Morgan's Bible

Life

Morgan was born in 1545 at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, in the parish of Penmachno, near Betws-y-Coed, North Wales (there is some doubt about the exact year of his birth, his memorial in Cambridge, for example, gives 1541). [1] [lower-alpha 1] As his father was a tenant of the Gwydir estate, he was probably educated at Gwydir Castle, near Llanrwst, along with the children of the Wynn family. [4] Morgan then attended St John's College, Cambridge, where he studied a range of subjects including philosophy, mathematics and Greek. He graduated BA in 1568 and MA in 1571, before seven years of Biblical studies, including a study of the Bible in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and the works of the Church Fathers and contemporary Protestant theologians. He graduated BD in 1578 and DD in 1583. [5] At Cambridge he was a contemporary of the Welsh poet Edmwnd Prys, who later assisted Morgan with his translation of the Bible.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Morgan was a clergyman of the Church of England, having been ordained in 1568 by the Bishop of Ely. His first clerical benefice was the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr, which he gained in 1572; in 1575 he moved to Welshpool, and then became vicar of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in 1578, where he made his Bible translation. In 1579 he became rector of Llanfyllin, which he held concurrently with being vicar of nearby Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. [6]

Morgan was still at Cambridge when William Salesbury published his Welsh New Testament in 1567. [7] While he was pleased that this work was available, Morgan firmly believed in the importance of having the Old Testament translated into Welsh as well. He began work on his own translation of the Old Testament in the early 1580s and published this, together with a revision of Salesbury's New Testament, in 1588. [6]

Following the publication of his Bible, Morgan worked on a revision of the Book of Common Prayer (which had also been translated by Salesbury), published in 1599. He also began work on a revision of the 1588 Bible, which contained a number of printing errors. This work was continued after Morgan's death by bishop Richard Parry and scholar John Davies, and a revised version of the Bible was published in 1620. This edition is still known as William Morgan's translation, and it is this rather than the previous edition which became the standard Welsh Bible until the 20th century and continues to be used to this day. His achievement is now looked on as a major monument in the history of the Welsh language; it meant that the Welsh people could read the Bible in their first language at roughly the same time as their English neighbours had the privilege.

William Morgan was appointed Bishop of Llandaff in 1595 [8] and was translated to the bishopric of St Asaph in 1601. [9] He died on 10 September 1604. [6]

Family

He married twice, first to Ellen Salesbury, before going to Cambridge, and later to Catherine, daughter of George ap Richard ap John. He had one son, Evan, who became vicar of his father's old parish of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. [6]

Memorials and commemorations

Morgan's birthplace Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant is preserved by the National Trust as a historic house museum. [10]

A slate plaque close to the gates of the parish church of St Dogfan in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant commemorates Morgan. It was while at this church that he made his historic translations. [11]

There is a memorial in St John's College Chapel, Cambridge, where Morgan was a student.

In 2019 it was announced that the new office building for the UK Government in Central Square, Cardiff, was to be named 'Tŷ William Morgan - William Morgan House', in Morgan's honour. [12]

See also

Notes

  1. He was the son of John Morgan and his wife, Lowry. [2] Morgan was one of five children and the youngest child in his family. [3]

Related Research Articles

William Salesbury

William Salesbury also Salusbury was the leading Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh New Testament.

Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant Human settlement in Wales

Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant is a village, community and an ecclesiastical parish in the extreme north of Powys, Wales; about 9 miles west of Oswestry and 12 miles south of Llangollen, on the B4580. It lies near the foothills of the Berwyn mountains on the river Rhaeadr. At the top end of the valley is the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, one of the Seven Wonders of Wales in the old rhyme. One mile north of the town is the hill Moel Hen-fache. The community includes the hamlet of Llanarmon Mynydd Mawr.

Richard Davies (bishop)

Richard Davies was a Welsh bishop and scholar.

Bible translations into Welsh

Parts of the Bible have been translated into Welsh since at least the 15th century, but the most widely used translation of the Bible into Welsh for several centuries was the 1588 translation by William Morgan, Y Beibl cyssegr-lan sef Yr Hen Destament, a'r Newydd as revised in 1620. The Beibl Cymraeg Newydd was published in 1988 and revised in 2004. Beibl.net is a translation in colloquial Welsh which was completed in 2013.

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant Historic house museum in Conwy County Borough, Wales

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant is a house located in the Wybrnant Valley, in the community of Bro Machno, near Betws-y-Coed in Conwy County Borough, North Wales. It was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, first translator of the whole Bible into Welsh.

Llanfyllin Human settlement in Wales

Llanfyllin is a market town, community and electoral ward in a sparsely populated area in Montgomeryshire, Powys, Wales. Llanfyllin's community population in 2011 was 1,532, of whom 34.1% could speak Welsh. Llanfyllin means church or parish (llan) of St Myllin. The community includes the tiny settlements of Bodfach, Ty Crwyn, Abernaint and several farms.

St Asaph Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of Saints Asaph and Cyndeyrn, commonly called St Asaph Cathedral, is a cathedral in St Asaph, Denbighshire, north Wales. It is the episcopal seat of the Bishop of St Asaph. The cathedral dates back 1,400 years, while the current building dates from the 13th century. The cathedral is part of the Church in Wales and part of the Anglican Communion of Wales.

Thomas Huet

Thomas Huet was a Welsh clergyman and translator of the Bible.

Charles Edwards was a Welsh Puritan cleric and writer, whose works made him a major figure in the literary history of Welsh Puritanism.

Humphrey Toy was a British bookseller and publisher, and the son of bookseller Robert Toy. In 1567, he published the first translation of New Testament in Welsh from the original Greek, translated by his close friend William Salesbury. Along with the Bible, Toy published the first translation of the Book of Common Prayer in Welsh, also translated by Salesbury.

Edmund Prys Welsh poet

Edmund (Edmwnd) Prys was a Welsh clergyman and poet, best known for Welsh metrical translations of the Psalms in his Salmau Cân.

Llanarmon Mynydd Mawr Human settlement in Wales

Llanarmon Mynydd Mawr, occasionally referred to as Llanarmon Fach, is an isolated rural parish in Powys, Wales. It was formerly in Denbighshire, and from 1974 to 1996 was in the county of Clwyd. It measures 2 square miles (5 km2) and has a population of 40.

William Hughes was a Welsh bishop of St Asaph.

Dogfan

Dogfan, also known as Doewan, was a saint and martyr who lived in 5th century Wales. He is venerated in the Anglican Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church, on 13 July.

Alis ferch Gruffudd ab Ieuan ap Llywelyn Fychan or Alis Wen was a 16th-century poet who wrote in Welsh. She wrote several englynion on matters of her personal and family life, and a cywydd aimed at reconciling two men.

Mochnant

Mochnant, a name translating as "the rapid stream", was a medieval cantref in the Kingdom of Powys.

John Davies was a Welsh missionary and school teacher. His family were from the Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa area of Montgomeryshire. Having received some education in one of "Madam" Bridget Bevan's schools, he became a teacher in Thomas Charles of Bala's circulating schools at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Machynlleth and Llanwyddelan. He heard of the work established by the London Missionary Society in Tahiti through his Calvinistic Methodist connections, and volunteered to join the work. He left for the island in May 1800 and remained there for most of the next 55 years. He married twice: Sophia Browning in 1810 and Mary Ann Bicknell in 1824. Davies became superintendent of a school at Papara, established by the London Missionary Society. He also encouraged the setting up of mission schools in Fiji.

<span title="Welsh-language text"><i lang="cy">Y Beibl cyssegr-lan</i></span> Translation of the Bible into Welsh (1588)

Y Beibl cyssegr-lan sef Yr Hen Destament, a'r Newydd, by William Morgan, was the first complete translated version of the Bible to appear in Welsh in 1588.

John Silas Evans

John Silas Evans, Rev. (1864-1953) was a Welsh astronomer and priest. He became a senior figure within the Welsh Anglican Church and is well known for his astronomical writing published in Welsh and English.

Thoms Runcorn was a Welsh Anglican priest in the 16th century.

References

  1. Hughes 1891, pp. 32–33.
  2. Hughes 1891, pp. 33–34.
  3. Hughes 1891, p. 34.
  4. Hughes 1891, p. 46.
  5. "Morgan, William (MRGN564W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Lloyd 1894.
  7. Hughes 1891, p. 75.
  8. Hughes 1891, p. 174.
  9. Hughes, p. 180.
  10. "Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant". National Trust.
  11. "Dyserth – Bishop Morgan". dyserth.com.
  12. Sion Barry (31 October 2019). "Name revealed for huge new office scheme in the centre of Cardiff". Business Live. Reach plc . Retrieved 24 July 2021.

Sources