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Mary Jones & her story

Many years ago, a young girl lived with her parents in a small cottage in the Welsh countryside. On Sunday mornings Mary and her parents walked to the little chapel in the village two miles away, and one particular Sunday caused Mary a great deal of excitement. The minister announced that a school was to open in the village, and Mary thought to herself, "Now I can learn to read, and one day read the Bible."

Mary saved all she could, until she had enough money to buy a Bible. She was told that a man in a town called Bala had a number of Bibles so Mary decided she would walk there, which was about 45 kilometres.

The journey seemed endless. Mary followed many paths, crossed valleys and streams, and found her way around hills until eventually she arrived. She then set out to find a gentleman called Mr Charles and, after knocking on several doors asking for directions, she found his house.
As his door opened, Mary made her request for a Bible.

"You are fortunate," Mr Charles informed her, "this is the very last one." He held out a brand new Bible and Mary stared at it for a long moment before taking it with both hands. Then she expressed her heartfelt thanks.

Soon after Mary's visit Thomas Charles went to London, and he shared the story of Mary Jones with some important men. They were as moved as he was.
In 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed by some of these people in response to the need for Bibles, which stories like that of Mary Jones brought to light.

Over many years this story has been recounted with some variations, because Mary herself never wrote down her own account of it. Many of the facts are uncertain and, sadly, cannot be verified so we must therefore call it a legend.

This material is adapted from the book Mary Jones and her Bible
Three's Company 1992, text Mig Holder 1992, published as a worldwide co-edition by Angus Hudson Ltd. for The British and Foreign Bible Society.

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