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Renaissance, Reivers & The Reformation

John Knox & The Reformation

Bible, 1540


This is a version of the Great Bible, the first authorised translation of the Bible into English. Ordered by Henry VIII and prepared by Miles Coverdale, it was based on German translations and the Latin Vulgate which used Hebrew, Greek, old Latin and Aramaic sources. The size of the book meant that they were usually only found in churches or great houses. This Bible came from the estate of the Jardine family of Spedlins Tower, Lochmaben.


The ghost of Dunty Porteous


James "Dunty" Porteous was a miller, and the illegitimate son of Sir Alexander Jardine (1645-1689) of Spedlins Tower. Legend has it that after an argument, Sir Alexander had Dunty locked up in a dungeon. Sir Alexander travelled to Edinburgh on business and forgot he had the keys to the dungeon in his pocket. Dunty Porteous starved to death and began to haunt the tower. A reading from the Bible was used to quiet the ghost.


It is likely that this 1540 Bible was from the local family church of the Jardines, rather than being the Bible used to exercise the ghost.  The book has been rebound in suede, probably in the early 19th century.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries and Galloway Council