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Bishop William Morgan’s famous Welsh Bible visits North Wales schools

HISTORY came alive for pupils when the first Welsh Bible translated and published in 1588 by Bishop William Morgan, together with a portrait of him by Keith Bowen, paid a visit to Penmachno and Llanddoged Primary Schools in North Wales on Wednesday.

A joint project between the National Trust and the National Library of Wales’ education service, the visit was part of the library’s priority to take masterpieces to schools.

The project stemmed from the library’s work for Masterpieces in Schools, a scheme by Art UK to bring children face-to-face with great works of art inside their classroom, breaking down traditional barriers to art.

This year’s event was a celebration of Bishop Morgan’s achievement in translating and publishing the first Welsh Bible in 1588, widely credited for having saved the Welsh language. Bishop Morgan was a native of Penmachno, Conwy.

The two treasures went to the schools and pupils had the opportunity to take part in workshops by the library’s education service team.

Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, library chief executive, said: “The education team does excellent work in providing experiences that meet the requirements of the curriculum by using the library’s treasures.

“This is a project at the heart of our mission to inspire future generations to learn and to create by going out into those communities and sharing the wealth of our culture which has deep roots in their locality.”

Lois Jones, National Trust senior programming and partnership officer, said the trust is prioritising the inclusion of young people in its work at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant – birthplace of William Morgan..

“By working with the library on this plan, we have been able to offer a package of experiences to the children which will strengthen the local community’s relationship with Tŷ Mawr and William Morgan’s story.”

Elliw Roberts, Ysgol Gynradd Penmachno headteacher, said: “It was a privilege and an unforgettable experience for the pupils, staff and governors of Ysgol Penmachno to welcome the 1588 Bible, together with a portrait of Bishop William Morgan, to the school for a day.

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“It was an amazing occasion and certainly one that will be treasured here at Ysgol Penmachno for years to come.”

On Friday, July 12, both schools will visit the library to see where the two items are kept safe and to learn more about the national collections and how they are preserved for future generations.

As part of the project, the children will also visit the birthplace of William Morgan, Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, which is in the care of the National Trust, to learn about how he lived when he was a young child, and what inspired him to learn.

In addition, the schools will hold a day of art workshops, during which the artist Eleri Jones will visit the schools to show the pupils how to paint portraits.

The library’s work to take masterpieces to schools is part of the strategy to reach out to communities across Wales and support participation in cultural, educational and artistic activities for children and young people.