Hundreds flock to see unusual bibles in Sidmouth

Holy books belonging to Florence Nightingale and King Henry II featured in exhibition

A COLLECTION of unusual bibles went on display in Sidmouth last week – and caught the imagination of hundreds of residents and school children.

Holy books belonging to Florence Nightingale and King Henry II featured in an exhibition which ran at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Manstone Lane from last Monday to Thursday, writes Annie Wallace.

A 300-year-old Hebrew scroll, a bullet-blocking book that saved a soldier, and the smallest bible in the world - with pages the size of postage stamps – were also on show. Curator Tristan Macdonald put his ample collection of bibles and historical documents on display. “I’ve spent 40 years collecting these bibles, so I’m really glad people appreciate my life’s work,” he told the Herald.

On Monday, Year Seven students from Sidmouth College were invited to visit the exhibition and given an educational talk.


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Pupils particularly enjoyed learning about the pocket bible which stopped a bullet and saved the life of a soldier, Sergeant G Russel, in the First World War.

Student Cameron Retter was even given the opportunity to dress up as a Hebrew scribe.

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Mr Macdonald said: “My objective was to show everyone the importance of the bible and I really feel I’ve done that. The youngsters really enjoyed it.

“A man has won the oldest bible competition on the first day. He brought in a 1630 original worth about �1,000.

“I’ve been really pleased with the response of the public, it has been a really worthwhile event.”

He added the most popular items were the postage stamp-size bible and the smallest printing block - with the Lord’s Prayer on a pinhead.

A free talk took place at the church on Wednesday with Dr John Blanchard, a bible teacher of 50 years. Events took place as part of Sidmouth’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

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