Notes & Queries

Mrs H R Williamson of Malvern writes:

The role of cloth merchants and pedlars, and their bales of cloth, in the smuggling of Tyndale's New Testament into England, is well known. 'Baize' is a kind of cloth, and my father, Leonard BAYES, author of From Reformation to Toleration: c1509-1689, used to recite the jingle:

Hops, Reformation, Bayes (Baize?) and Beer, 
Came to England all in the one year.

He believed that the Bayes family, strongly Baptist and associated with Rushden, Northants, had come from Flanders in Reformation times, and had some connection both with the cloth trade and the Reformers.

At the Bristol Tyndale Quincentenary Day Conference in October 1994, I learnt that a sixteenth-century mayor of Bristol named Clement BAYES had been so much in sympathy with the Reformers that he had walked with a party of companions to Iron Acton, to hear a noted reforming preacher speak from the open-air pulpit there. He later invited Hugh Latimer (who became Bishop of Worcester, and was martyred in Mary's reign) to deliver three Lenten sermons in Bristol in 1533, and these raised a storm of controversy because of their denunciation of various aspects of Catholic practice and teaching.

I hope, when I have time, to follow up the records concerning Clement Bayes. Meanwhile, I wonder whether anyone can throw any further light on the possible 'cloth — Bayes — Bibles' connection.

I wonder how many people own or have read The Burnished Sword, a historical novel for children about the life and times of William Tyndale, written by J H Maclehose, and published by Blackie in 1955.

It is dedicated 'To The British and Foreign Bible Society on its 150th Anniversary, successors of William Tyndale in giving to all the people the Scriptures in their mother tongue. 'The front papers note that 'The quotations from the New Testament are given in the words of Tyndale 's own translation of 1526, as reprinted in 1836 from the only complete copy of the original, which is in the Baptist College at Bristol.'

It is an exciting and romantic tale about the dangers undergone by those who wanted to read and pass on the scriptures in the English tongue. Several of my friends have read it with interest since I highlighted Tyndale's work in our church last year.

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