Mary Jones resources
Download our resources for the story of Mary Jones and the Mary Jones walk.
The story of Mary Jones
Who was Mary Jones?
Mary Jones was born in December 1784 into a poor Welsh family. Her father was a weaver.
Her parents were Calvinistic Methodists and Mary herself became a Christian aged eight. They lived at the foot of the Cader Idris mountain, in Gwynedd, North Wales.
Longing for a Bible
Mary learned to read in schools organised by Thomas Charles, a preacher from nearby Bala, who had a passion for teaching children from poor families.
Mary used to visit a farm two miles from her home to read a copy of the Bible there. But it became her burning desire to possess a Bible of her own.
It was a vain hope. Money was scarce and Welsh Bibles were hard to come by. The nearest place to buy one was Bala, 25 miles away. And it was not even certain that a copy could be bought there.
But Mary saved money for six years. And eventually she had enough money to buy a Bible.
One morning in 1800, Mary set out to buy her Bible. It was 25 miles to Bala, and she was barefoot, as usual. Her journey took her through valleys, across streams and around mountains.
Eventually, she came to Bala and to the home of Mr Charles – the only man with Bibles for sale in the town. But all the copies Mr Charles had were either sold or spoken for.
Distraught and heartbroken, Mary wept. Her despair touched Mr Charles, who sold her one of the copies already promised to another.
Mary’s visit profoundly impacted Thomas Charles. He began to wonder what could be done for others such as Mary – for people who long for the Bible around the world.
He proposed to the Council of the Religious Tract Society to form a new Society to supply Wales with Bibles. And, in 1804, the British and Foreign Bible Society was established in London.
Mary Jones died in 1864 and was buried at the graveyard of Bryn-crug Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.
The Bible, she walked 25 miles to buy, is now owned stored in Bible Society’s archives in Cambridge University Library.
It is a copy of the 1799 edition of the Welsh Bible and also contains the Book of Common Prayer in Welsh.
You can download a leaflet telling the remarkable story of Mary at the bottom of this page, or alternatively, you can buy a copy of Mary Jones and Her Bible from the Bible Society Online Shop
The Mary Jones fundraising walk
Mary Jones, a 15-year-old Welsh girl walked 26 miles in search of a Bible. By doing so Mary helped inspire the founding of Bible Society which gave birth to a worldwide Bible movement. You can follow in Mary Jones’ footsteps and help raise money to support Bible Society.
How the Mary Jones walk works
You raise sponsorship to retrace the route Mary Jones took to buy her Bible. This:
- Challenges your own fitness and determination
- Raises much needed funds to bring the Bible’s life-changing message to those who still wait
- Takes two/three days at a steady pace
You will be having fun with like-minded people. And be stepping out to change the lives of those hungry for the Bible in their own language and at a price they can afford.
Where is the Mary Jones walk?
The route starts at Mary’s village – Llanfihangel-y-Pennant – where:
- The church has an exhibition about Mary’s life.
- Her parents’ graves can be seen.
- There is a ruin of the cottage where Mary Jones lived and a memorial to her.
From there you:
- Cover several miles of the Snowdonia National Park.
- Cross narrow stiles and fast-flowing streams.
- Reach the awe-inspiring expanse of Bala Lake.
The walk ends at the town of Bala where plaques on the wall of Barclays bank commemorate the part Thomas Charles and Mary Jones played in the founding of Bible Society.