The byble in English, that is to say, the contente of all the holy scripture, bothe of the olde and new Testament, accordyng to the translatio[n] that is appointed to be read in Churches. London: Edward Whitchurch, 1553.
Folio. 5 pts. in 1 vol. 578 leaves (, lxxxviii; cxxxiiii; clii [i.e., 150]; lxxxvii; cxvi), 12½ x 8½ inches. Double column, 58 lines. Bound in 16th-century brown calfskin; spine restored. Lacking all before Gn 36:20; last leaf of Dt; all after 1 Pt 2:24; and the 5 title pages. § DMH 102; STC (2nd ed.) 2091. § CD-ROM: 10.1, fol. G4vG5r.
This Bible had the unfortunate fate of coming off the press in the same year Mary Tudor ascended to the throne (1553). Steadfastly Roman Catholic, she soon forbade the printing and selling of the Bible in English. Before her reign, her half-brother Edward VI had moved England toward Protestantism, provided a sanctuary for the persecuted, and allowed Bibles to circulate freely. However, his rule lasted only six years. Mary, on the other hand, insisted on restoring papal Catholicism and sought a husband in Spain (Philip II in July 1554). She re-enacted the defunct statute de heretico comburendo of 1401. It declared that persons holding heretical views were to be arrested and tried by church canon law, and if found guilty of heresy they were to handed over to the state for execution by burning. In 155556 Cranmer, Hooper, Latimer, Ridley, and others met this end as condemned heretics.
No Bibles were printed during Marys reign, and many were burned. Yet the injunction of 1538 ordering the setting up of the Great Bible in parish churches was not revoked. Moreover, the Great Bible was still for sale when Mary died in 1558. Perhaps this was because Mary had an attachment to the Great Bible, for she had herself prepared with her chaplain the English translation of Erasmuss paraphrase of Johns Gospel which was bound up with the Great Bible and placed in churches.
According to a manuscript note in the British Librarys copy of this 1553 Bible, Queen Mary is said to have destroyed the greater part of this printing. Yet, curiously, I find no explanatory notes in this edition to raise her ire, only chapter summaries and marginal cross references.
Literature: Bruce 1970, 8485; Douglas 1974, 64041.