Bishop Juxon's Bible
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
In an article in the North British Review, mention is made of two genuine King Charles Bibles, stated to have been given to Bishop Juxon ; and the Guardian, commenting on the assertion, remarks that " unluckily two genuine and veritable copies exist in the immediate neighbourhood of Bishop Juxon's undoubted residence, and that of his family after him." It may therefore be interesting to the public to have placed on permanent record, in the pages of Sylvanus Urban, the particulars of the copies alluded to.
One of these Bibles is in possession of E. P. Shirley, Esq., of Eatington Park, near Stratford-on-Avon, and bears on it the letters C.P. (Carolus Princeps). The account which Mr. Shirley gives of this Bible is, that it is one of those used in the Chapel Royal, and the tradition in his family is that the lessons were read out of it on the morning of the execution.
The other Bible—the one given to Bishop Juxon on the scaffold—is in my possession. This was given by Lady Fane, great-niece and last descendant of Bishop Juxon, to Mr. John Jones of Chastleton. Juxon retired, immediately after the execution, to his estate of Little Compton, which is about a mile distant from this place (Charlton Moreton-in-the-Marsh). There is a tradition that the Bishop per-formed the service according to the Church of England in this house every Sunday during the Common-wealth. His estate came on his death to his nephew, Sir William Juxon, and from him to his daughter, Lady Fane, who, on leaving this neighbourhood, gave the Bible to Mr. John Jones of Chastleton. I need hardly say that it has always been considered as a very sacred heir-loom-in my family.—I am, etc.
As it may be interesting to the readers of the Gentleman's Magazine to have a fuller account of King Charles's Bible, and of the evidence upon which I rest my claim to its being the one given by the King to Bishop Juxon on the scaffold, I venture to ask space in your pages for the following particulars.
The Bible is a quarto volume, handsomely bound in gold stamped leather. The royal arms with the initials C.R. are impressed on the middle of each cover, and the rest of the space is filled with a pattern of the Tudor rose, the thistle, and the fleur-de-lis. The book was originally tied together by two broad blue ribbons, but one of these has been torn from the cover. The Bible shows evidence of having been in constant use. The date is 1629, the 4th year of King Charles's reign. On a blank leaf at the end of the volume is written, "Juxon, Compton, Gloucestershire."
There is a curious genealogy from Adam to Christ in the commencement, a shield, with a separate device, being given to each of the 12 tribes. There is also a map of the countries mentioned in the Bible, in which the Mediterranean is called the "Middle Earth Sea." In this sea there is depicted a mermaid combing her hair, and holding in her hand a glass; also Jonah's whale, Leviathan, and four ships. The Israelites are represented in the act of passing through the Red Sea, followed by the Egyptians, and below the verse from I Corinthians, chap. x., "They were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." The map is filled with illustrations of the chief events in the Old and New Testament, with passages of Scripture written underneath ; but some of the illustrations are so small or so badly engraved, that it is difficult to discover what they mean.
The history of the Bible from the time it passed into Bishop Juxon's hands to the present date is as follows. Bishop Juxon (in this neighbourhood he is never known by his title of Archbishop) retired at the time of the Commonwealth to his estate at Little Compton, a small village about a mile and half from my house. The Bishop was on terms of close intimacy with the Joneses of Chastleton, who were staunch Royalists; and, as I mentioned in my former letter, he per-formed divine service according to the Church of England every Sunday during the Commonwealth at Chastleton House.
Bishop Juxon died in 1663, at Lambeth and was succeeded in his estate by his nephew William, who had been created a baronet in 1661. Sir William Juxon married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Walter of Sarsden. His eldest son, by whom he was succeeded, married Susanna, daughter of John Marriott, Esq., of the county of Suffolk, and died without issue in 1739 ; his widow afterwards married Viscount Fane, whom she also survived. Lady Fane died in 1792, and was buried at Little Compton. On her marriage with Lord Fane, however, she left this county, and on that occasion gave the royal Bible to Mr. John Jones of Chastleton, who had lately succeeded to this estate.
Mr. John Jones died in 1813, leaving the property of Chastleton first to his brother Arthur, for his life, and then to my father, John Henry, 2nd son of W. Whitmore,Esq., of Dudmaston, on condition of taking the additional name and arms of Jones.
The two Mr. Jones, John and Arthur, both considered the Bible as one of their greatest treasures. You will thus see that there can be very little doubt indeed as to the authenticity of the Bible, coming, as it did, to us in so direct a line from Bishop Juxon.—I an), etc.