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Title page of the Burstow KJB New Testament. Used with permission. (3.5MB)

  • The New Testament frontispiece contains the date 1616.
  • The frontispiece confirms the edition was printed by Robert Barker, the King's Printer
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Final page of the Burstow KJB. Used with permission. (3.5MB)

  • This page suggests that at least part of the Bible was printed in 1615

What is the Burstow KJB?

One of the most striking features of the Burstow KJB is the mystery that surrounds the date it was produced. The copy contains elements that appear in the 1615, 1616 and 1619 editions of the text.

The final folio of the Burstow KJB is dated 1615. Up until 2011 it was assumed that this was the date that the volume had been printed. An immediate problem with accepting such a dating, however, is the fact the title page of the New Testament gives the year of publication as 1616.

A further and more intriguing problem is raised by a series of folios that appear to have been incorporated from a wholly different edition. Between Jeremiah 18:1 and Lamentations 11:1, the pages of the Burstow KJB employ a different font and appear to have been cut down. The insertion of this material has also led to the repetition of several passages. This problem did not escape a later reader who crossed out part of the repeated sections. This inserted material would appear to date to an edition that did not appear until 1619, suggesting the Burstow KJB cannot have been produced before then.

Although its most striking aspect, the 1619 material is not the Burstow KJB's only distinctive feature. The book acquired a new binding in the 19th century and there are what appear to be printer's errors in the headings of Kings II. One of the key aims of the Burstow KJB Project is to identify this edition more precisely. One possibility is that the book is a composite created from fragments at a later date.

With thanks to Professor David Norton, Victoria University of Wellington

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Jeremiah 18-19 from the Burstow KJB. Used with permission. (3.5MB)


  • These two pages illustrate the overlap that resulted from combining two different editions.
  • The page on the left matches the majority of the edition; the page on the right was printed after 1619
  • A later hand has attempted to correct problems caused by the decision to combine the two editions

Online Resources

Early English Books Online [external link for non-UC staff/students; subscription required]

Early English Books Online [UC Staff/Students only]