In the year 1800, Mary Jones, a 15-year-old Welsh girl, walked barefoot from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to Bala, a distance of 28 miles, to buy a copy of the Welsh Bible from Rev. Thomas Charles, an influential preacher and pioneer of Sunday Schools.
According to the legend, she had saved for six years to be able to afford the Bible. Rev. Thomas Charles was so touched by her determination that he used her story to set up a new organisation to supply Wales with affordable Bibles. By the end of the nineteenth century, Mary Jones had become a national icon. Her story became known as ‘The little Welsh girl without a Bible’.
Route: From Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, across the Welsh mountains, to Bala
Mary Jones was born in 1784, the daughter of a weaver, who lived at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, at the foot of Cader Idris. Her early life was one of poverty. Her father died when she was four and she was raised by her widowed mother. From an early age, Mary was part of the Methodist movement which had established in Wales. She was accepted into the local Methodist society, when she was only eight years old.
Mary had access to a Bible kept in a nearby farmhouse, but her dream was to obtain her own copy. She scrimped and saved for several years to raise the 17 shillings required – a huge sum of money for a poor girl like Mary. She lived to the age of 80 and is said to have read her Bible cover to cover four times in her lifetime.
Although Mary’s story is well known and a Bible exists containing Mary’s inscription, no details of the actual route she took have ever been found. This 28 mile walk follows the likely route that Mary Jones would have taken.
This is a beautiful path through the heart of Snowdonia. It begins in the village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant near Cader Idris and finishes in the town of Bala.
Mary Jones Walk (28 Miles)