Henry VIII in 1538 commanded that ‘one book of the whole Bible … in English’ should be placed in every parish church. Each volume was expensive, so from the mid 16th century the cathedral provided a small recess in the wall of the north choir aisle near the north-east transept for chained bibles. The volumes displayed here will have changed over time, each chained to a metal stump. From the 1540s there could well have been an English version together with the ‘Paraphrases’ of the gospels by Erasmus. The King James Authorised Version appeared in 1611, and others followed.
What to see:
- two niches for display of bible, beneath Tudor arches which indicate their mid 16th century origins
- in the left display cabinet, currently (September 2012) a copy of the New Revised Standard Version of the bible (1990)
- in the right display cabinet, currently (September 2012) a copy of the Miles Coverdale bible – compiled in 1540 but this version published in 1838
- both displays are liable to change over time
Source: standard cathedral sources