A VELLUM COPY OF THE GREAT BIBLE,' 1539. Among the most valued possessions of the National Library of Wales is a fine copy of the Great Bible of 1539, printed on vellum and handsomely illuminated. Only two copies of this edition were produced on vellum, and while one of these has long been in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge, the other copy remained generally unknown until in 1921, through the generosity of Miss Gwendoline E. Davies, C.H., and Miss Margaret S. Davies, of Gregynog, Newtown, it was acquired by the National Library of Wales. That a volume of such beauty and historic interest should have found a permanent home in the National Library must be a matter for gratification to all. Before entering on a description of the book and the history of its production, it may be well to recall in a few words what had already been accomplished in the translation of the Scriptures into the English tongue at the time when this Bible was printed, leaving aside the Wycliffite versions. The first printed edition of the New Testament translated into English by William Tyndale had appeared some thirteen or fourteen years earlier, and had been followed by his versions of the Pentateuch and the book of Jonah before the translator met his death at the hand of the executioner. The great labour of translation was then taken up and brought to completion by Miles Coverdale, and in October, 1535, appeared the first English Bible. This was followed two years later by the Bible generally known as Matthew's Bible. Purporting to be truly and purely translated by Thomas Matthew,' it embodies the previous work of Tyndale and Coverdale, save that the portion Joshua­-II Chronicles is a fresh translation, usually considered to be the material left by Tyndale in manuscript at the time of his arrest. In the shape of prologues and side-notes it contained much that was obnoxious to the authorities, and the text as a whole shows few signs of revision. In Dr. Westcott's phrase it was essentially a transitional work,' and, within a year of its issue, a plan took shape for the pro- duction of yet another edition-that which came to be known as the Great Bible.' The project may have originated with Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, the King's Vicar-General, who strongly favoured the translation and diffusion of the Scriptures in English, and who, in a letter addressed to him by Coverdale concerning the printing of the edition, is spoken of as the causer therof.' It is equally possible that the prime movers were Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch, the two London