Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
ÃÂ Feb. 9, 2007 Ã¢â¬â Around 106 years ago, someone slipped a copy of the worldÃ¢â¬â¢s smallest complete Bible in a childÃ¢â¬â¢s boot and stuffed it into a cottage chimney cavity to ward off evil.
Now British archaeologists have identified the book, which a renovator discovered while working on the cottage in central EnglandÃ¢â¬â¢s Ewerby.
In addition to the rarity of the book, the find represents one of the most recent instances of anti-witchcraft using a shoe amulet, according to British Archaeology editor Mike Pitts, who reports on the discovery in his latest issue. The cottage also was part of the Winchelsea Estate, which is owned by the Finch-Hatton family. Denys Finch-Hatton inspired the famous book Ã¢â¬ÅOut of Africa,Ã¢â¬Â and was played by Robert Redford in the film of the same name.
The small Bible, however, is the current star of the estate. It is just around 1-inch wide and less than a half an inch thick. Ã¢â¬ÅThe Bible is complete but not illustrated,Ã¢â¬Â said Adam Daubney, Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer.
Pitts added that it is Ã¢â¬Åsaid to be the smallest complete Bible ever printed.Ã¢â¬Â The book, published in 1901 by David Bryce & Son of Glasgow, was created at the end of a century now recognized as being a golden age for miniature book production. Lithography and photograph reduction, along with typesetters who created the tiniest of letters, yielded a bevy of small books.
The Bryce Bible at the time was nicknamed the Ã¢â¬Åmini miteÃ¢â¬Â or Ã¢â¬Åthumb Bible.Ã¢â¬Â It was packaged in a metal-hinged case, part of which is still with the recovered Bible. Included in the case was a magnifying glass to help readers decipher the miniscule print.