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The King James Bible

The King James Bible
The Holy Bible published 1611 known as the King James version © © Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy

The most famous English translation of the Scriptures began in 1604 at a meeting of bishops at Hampton Court, arranged by James I.


Many turns of phrase and speech patterns still in use today derive from the King James Bible: "the apple of his eye", "a labour of love" and "by the skin of his teeth", to name just three.

At the time of its publication in 1611, it provided a focal point for the various strands of the Protestant church to rally around - and when read aloud to illiterate worshippers it had a dramatic effect on church attendance! Many more English translations of the Bible have appeared in the centuries since the King James, but no other has had the impact of the King James. This is the one that has been described as "the noblest monument of English prose".

FInd out more about the King James Bible...