Smaller King James Version Bible, Inscribed
English Bible. The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall Tongues: & with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by his Majesties Speciall Comandement.
London: Robert Barker, 1612. (00046/A)
The tall, 16 x 11 inch Bible published in 1611 was in folio format, in which the original sheets of paper were folded once, to create two large leaves. Smaller formats began to appear in 1612: quarto, in which slightly smaller sheets were folded once and then again cross-wise to create four smaller leaves from the sheet; and octavo, in which the sheets were folded three times to create eight still smaller leaves. The quarto and octavo formats used smaller, less expensive paper, and the printing of the text in small type required far less paper. These portable volumes were ideally suited for use in the home and for visits to church and chapel. Bridwell Library’s copies contain inscriptions that attest to their long use by English families. This first quarto edition of 1612 bears several inscriptions, including these on the blank page facing the beginning of Genesis:
“Richard Goddard, son of John Goddard and Joane Goddard, was born on this day, the 24th of August about 10 o’clock in the morning in the year of our Lord 1654 [...] Richard Goddard, Esquire of Chatford, died on Sunday about eleven of the clock in the fore-noon, being the 12th of April 1684. He was buried on Wednesday the 15th of April 1684.”
While the upper inscription likely was written by one of his parents, the later inscription was added by one of his survivors. Below this are signatures written by a girl named Anne Barnard, who noted that this Bible was “gave her by her master, 1750.” This indicates that the Bible was still in use 138 years after it was printed.