Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bible Theft Outbreak in England

The Independent reports that at least eight rural churches in Hampshire, England have experienced thefts of rare Bibles in recent weeks: St. John's Church in Farley Chamberlyne lost seven volumes of the Old and New Testaments around the end of last month, and at St. Mary the Virgin Chuch in Church Lane, Twyford, thieves removed a rare Bible "from a locked display case and put a different book in its place."

The pilfered Twyford Bible, a large folio published in 1717 by John Baskett, is known as a "Vinegar Bible" for a distinctive printer's error: in a headline above Luke XX, "The Parable of the Vineyard" was printed as "The Parable of the Vinegar."

Another Vinegar Bible has been reported stolen from Clyst St. Lawrence Church in Devon, where it was snatched "from the lectern ... some time between 15 April and 6 May."

These cases are far too similar to be unconnected.

[Update: This is London notes that the theft from St. Mary the Virgin was captured on closed-circuit t.v., and the culprit is described as "
a white middle-aged male who was wearing a panama hat."]