Rare 1611 'Great She Bible' found in Lancashire church

Rare bible found in Lancashire Image copyright Rev. Alexander Baker
Image caption The book is known as the "Great She Bible" because of a suspected 17th Century typographical error

A rare 400-year-old Bible worth about £50,000 has been discovered in a Lancashire village church.

Printed in 1611 and known as the "Great She Bible", it is one of the earliest known copies of the King James Version (KJV) of the Christian holy book.

It will be displayed at St Mary's Parish Church in Gisburn on Saturday.

The Reverend Anderson Jeremiah and the Reverend Alexander Baker found the old book following their appointment at the church last August.

'A treasure'

It is called a "She Bible" because Chapter 3, Verse 15 of the Book of Ruth mistakenly reads: "She went into the city".

Thought to be typographical mistake, this verse was changed from another KJV edition which said "He".

The Bible has been assessed and authenticated by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association.

Only a handful of the "She Bibles" still exist. Oxford and Cambridge Universities have one, as do Salisbury, Exeter and Durham cathedrals.

Image copyright Rev. Alexander Baker
Image caption St Mary's parish history made reference to a few "old prayer books and an old Bible" amongst the historical assets

The historical significance of the Bible was not highlighted in the parish records so it was stored in a cupboard at the back of the church.

Mr Baker said: "It was a really exciting thing to discover - it looks just like something out of Harry Potter.

"One of the wonderful things about worshipping in a church as old as ours is the sense of history that oozes from its walls and discovering the treasures it has to offer.

"But we were stunned to discover a treasure as rare as this. We knew as soon as we saw the date of the New Testament it was a significant find."

Dr Jeremiah added: "It's amazing to think we are able to hold a book printed as the direct result of the command of King James 400 years ago."

"This English language version of the Bible was created to encourage ordinary people to discover the Good News of Jesus Christ for themselves and it is likely that it was the book that first took God's word into many people's homes in this part of Lancashire.

"Now we hope to encourage the people of Lancashire and elsewhere to visit our church and discover this Bible for themselves."

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