Life of George Borrow and the Bible in Spain

George Borrow [1803–1881]

George Borrow, a Norfolk man, served with the British and Foreign Bible Society. His first posting was to Russia in 1833, where he oversaw the printing of a Manchu New Testament and then to Portugal and Spain (1835-1840) as a colporteur. In his native Norfolk he spent much of his time among the Romanies, so it was natural that he should seek these people out in Spain also. He learnt their language sufficiently to compile a Romani-English Dictionary and to translate the Gospel of Luke into it. He wrote of his adventures on the Iberian Peninsula in The Bible in Spain (1843).

Visit the George Borrow page for the download links to his Biography by Herbert Jenkins and to The Bible in Spain.

Copies of these public domain works were kindly provided by Redcliffe College and Book Aid respectively.


During the whole of Borrow’s manhood there was probably only one period when he was unquestionably happy in his work and content with his surroundings. He may almost be said to have concentrated into the seven years (1833-1840) that he was employed by the British and Foreign Bible Society in Russia, Portugal and Spain, a lifetime’s energy and resource. From an unknown hackwriter, who hawked about unsaleable translations of Welsh and Danish bards, a travelling tinker and a vagabond Ulysses, he became a person of considerable importance. His name was acclaimed with praise and enthusiasm at Bible meetings from one end of the country to the other. He developed an astonishing aptitude for affairs, a tireless energy, and a diplomatic resourcefulness that aroused silent wonder in . those who had hitherto regarded him as a failure. His illegal imprisonment in Madrid nearly brought about a diplomatic rupture between Great Britain and Spain, and later his missionary work in the Peninsula was referred to by Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons as an instance of what could be achieved by courage and determination in the face of great difficulties.

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Four Thousand Miles Through Central Africa for the Bible

William John Waterman Roome [1865-1937], Through Central Africa for the Bible

This is an account of a four thousand mile motor tour of central Africa on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society c. 1934. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of the book for scanning. This title is in the public domain.

William John Waterman Roome [1865-1937], Through Central Africa for the Bible. London & Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd., [1929]. Hbk. pp.208. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Foreword
  1. Uganda and the Congo
  2. In the Pigmy Forest
  3. Through the Eastern Highlands of the Congo
  4. Peace After War!
  5. Into the Sudan For the Consideration of Babel
  6. Back to the Congo
  7. Amongst the Wild Azande
  8. On to Stanleyville Through the Forest
  9. Yakusa on the Congo
  10. Forging the Chain!
  11. Back to the Forest
  12. To Gombari and on to Kampala
  13. The King’s Business
  14. Spreading the Word of Life


This is just a story! It is not a history, or a survey! It is the “Log of· the Lingua,” the Bible Society’s motor that tours East and Central Africa. The story may give more of the sunshine than the shadow of missionary life, but is it not the joy after pain that gives the urge, the inspiration, the vision that carries the missionary on through the gross darkness of heathenism, and that more subtle darkness that comes from the impact of our – so – called – Western civilisation? That civilisation may have a refined centre. It has a very rough circumference. Africa is feeling that roughness in its intensity.

May this story from Central Africa kindle some thoughts of this wonderful land and its people around the firesides of those homelands where the delights of the African sun are only an imagination, or perhaps a memory! [Continue reading]

History of the British and Foreign Bible Society – 5 Volume set

One of the largest sets I received from Redcliffe College was William Canton’s exhaustive 5 volume work on the History of the British and Foreign Bible Society [published 1904]. The complete series, consisting of almost 2,500 pages is now available for free download in PDF. These books are in the Public Domain.

William Canton [1845-1926], A History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 5 Vols. London: John Murray, 1904. Hbk. pp.2425.

Volume 1. pp.511. [Click to Download in PDF]

Volume 2. pp.496. [Click to Download in PDF]

Volume 3. pp.486. [Click to Download in PDF]

Volume 4. pp.477. [Click to Download in PDF]

Volume 5. pp.455. [Click to Download in PDF]

Volume 1, Chapter 1: “The Power With the Need”

The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded on the 7th of March 1804.

In the early days of its activity, to those who looked back on its origin, it appeared to be “one of the most remarkable designs of Providence that the thunder of universal war should have been the harbinger of the still small voice of the gospel of peace.” 1 When fifty years had grouped events into clearer perspective, the thoughtful began to perceive that the Society was “one of the many fruits of that religious awakening which took place in this country in the middle of the r8th century.” Indeed, to understand the spirit of the time which made this and other associations of the kind possible ; to appreciate at its real value the character of the men who founded and maintained them, we must revert to that great awakening, and trace in their sequence the various results which sprang from that “passionate impulse of human sympathy with the wronged and afflicted, which, raised hospitals, endowed charities, built churches, sent missionaries to the heathen, supported Burke in his plea for the Hindu, and Clarkson and Wilberforce in their crusade against the iniquity of the slave-trade.” [Continue Reading]