Parris, Paris, Therond and Blayney

For the first time ever, we are able to uncover some new information on the editors of the King James Bible in the middle of the eighteenth century.

In 1703, Francis Sawyer Parris was born in Bythorn, Huntingdonshire. He was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, from 1720, and continued studying, becoming Master of Sidney Sussex in 1746, he also served as University Librarian.

Joseph Bentham undertook to print Bibles at Cambridge, beginning at 1743. Apparently, Parris was invited to check and proofread the text. Parris therefore began to make small changes in the Bibles, such as with some punctuation, his work culminating in the 1760 edition, the year of his death.

A more substantive role was undertaken by another man, Thomas Paris. He was born in 1724 in the town of Cambridge, and enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1741, and went on to graduate, eventually serving as a priest at Ely.

By all accounts, Thomas Paris worked as an editor at Cambridge, leading to the substantive quarto edition of 1762, as printed by Joseph Bentham. Paris died in 1800. In 1763 Baskerville printed his own Bible, famous for its beautiful typography.

Through the decades all historians acknowledged Thomas Paris’ role until Michael Black in 1984, David McKitterick in 1984, and afterwards David Norton, who essentially attempted to delete Thomas Paris from history, acknowledging only F. S. Parris, who had done some work at Cambridge University Press up to 1760.

The work on the 1762 edition was also undertaken by Henry Therond, 1735-1782. Therond had done his junior education in London before he enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1753. He graduated, became a Fellow in 1758 and eventually Junior Proctor in 1776.

In 1769, Dr Benjamin Blayney of Oxford used the 1762 Edition as a foundation for his own editorial work, which led to the 1769 Edition. It is ultimately Dr Blayney who gets the credit for the work even though the preparation was undertaken by others for his famous edition.

Since 1769, Blayney’s work has undergone some fairly minor revisions, in relation to spellings, etc., the culmination of which is the Pure Cambridge Edition.