The First Westminster Company

Map of England

Directed by the best-known of the King James Bible translators, Lancelot Andrewes, the First Westminster Company handled the crucial early books of the Old Testament, from Genesis through 2 Kings. For the first year or two of the project, Andrewes was dean of Westminster Abbey, and the company met in the Jerusalem Chamber there.

Andrewes was not the only remarkable member of this key company. The group also included the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, John Overall; the only translator who had seen the New World, John Layfield, who had been a chaplain on an expedition to Puerto Rico; the oldest translator, Hadrian Saravia, a half-Flemish, half-Spanish, former professor of divinity at the University of Leiden in his 70s; and the father of Arabic studies in England, William Bedwell.

Lancelot Andrewes, Dean of Westminster and head of the First Westminster Company. LP 84. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Lancelot Andrewes. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

John Overall. Wenceslaus Hollar, 1657. © National Portrait Gallery, London.

John Overall. © National Portrait Gallery, London.

The Jerusalem Chamber, as it appears today, looking south. Westminster Abbey. Copyright Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

The Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey, as it appears today. Copyright Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

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This company translated:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings

Go to: The Second Westminster Company