top of page
Meet the Jailbirds

Museum of The Book is home to an unparalleled collection of association Bibles and documents connected to some of the most notable people in history. Some of the faces and names below you will immediately recognise and others we will introduce to you.  All of the celebrities listed below were either jailbirds at one time or another or were connected to jailbirds in a significant way and all of them are connected to the Bible. Come and see for yourself the hidden treasures at the Museum of The Book. Book a Visit

Bible Preacher - John Bunyan



Convicted of preaching without a license

Incarcerated  1660-1672 (12 years)

Author - Pilgrim's Progress 

One of John Bunyan's personal preaching Bibles and several first editions of his writings are housed in the

Museum of The Book

Bible Translator - William Tyndale

c. 1594-1536


Convicted of heresy

Incarcerated 1535-36 

Burned at the stake October 1536

One of William Tyndale's 1536 New Testaments along with some first editions of his writings are housed in

 the Museum of The Book.

Bomber Pilots

Mutsuo Fuchida(Japan) and Jacob DeShazer(USA).


Crying "torah torah torah" Fuchida led the Japanese surprise bombing attach on Perl Harbour in 1941. Some time later DeShazer joined Jimmy Dolittle's raiders who made a surprise bombing attach on Japan in 1942. DeShazer was captured and imprisoned for 40 months by the Japanese. After the war Fuchida became a Christian and Bible preacher and DeShazer became a missionary to Japan where they joined together preaching the Bible. See in the Museum of The Book a signed first edition of Fuchida's story, From Pearl Harbour to Calvary.

The King - Elvis Presely


In 1957 Elvis Pressely starred in the  mediocre movie Jailhouse Rock playing the character of Vince Everett who had been convicted  of and jailed for killing someone in a bar room brawl. Although Elvis is called the King or Rock and Roll he never won an award for it. He did however win three Grammy awards all for gospel music. Housed in the Museum of The Book is Elvis' personal annotated Bible dated 1957, the same year he starred in Jailhouse Rock.

Pope Pius VI

1717 - 1799

Incarcerated by Napoleon

20 February 1798 - 29 August 1799.

Died 29 August 1799.

See Pius VI's hand illuminated 15th century Bible at the

Museum of The Book.

Bible Editor - John Rogers

c. 1505-1555

Convicted of heresy.

Incarcerated 1554-1555 (1 year).

Burned at the stake February 1555.

On display in the Museum of The Book is a first edition of the famous 1537 Matthew's Bible. This edition of the Bible was the first time William Tyndale's Old and New Testament translations were joined in a single volume.  Book a visit to the Museum of The Book and find out why it is called the 'Matthew's Bible'.

Bible Preacher and Translator - John Knox

c. 1513-1572

Incarcerated for 19 months

as a galley slave by the French Army

for supporting a rebellion

in Scotland.

Knox, while in exile in Geneva in 1559 assisted in the revised English Geneva New Testament that was printed in 1560. One can see in the Museum of the Book a first edition of the 1560 Geneva Bible.  

Archbishop of Canterbury - Thomas Cranmer


Convicted of heresy

Incarcerated 1554-1556(2 years)

Burned at the stake 1556

In the Museum of The Book one can see a copy of the first edition of the 1539 Great Bible containing Cranmer's preface. It's title page depicts Henry the VIII giving the Bible to Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer who in turn are depicted as distributing the Bible to the masses.  

King of England - Charles I

1600 -1649

Convicted of treason

Incarcerated  January 1647 - January 1649 (2 years)

After a five year civil war, King against Parliament, Charles I was executed on 30 January 1649. See a 1588 Latin Bible with Charles I coat of arms on the binding at the Museum of The Book.  

King's Chief Minister - Thomas Cromwell

c. 1485-1540

incarcerated 10 June 1540 - 28 July 1540

Beheaded without trial on Tower Hill 28 July 1540

In the Museum of The Book one can see a copy of the first edition of the 1539 Great Bible containing Thomas Cromwell's Coat of Arms. It's title page depicts Henry the VIII giving the Bible to Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer who in turn are depicted as distributing the Bible to the masses. Also in the Museum is a copy of the fourth Great Bible with Cromwell's Coat of Arms removed having been disgraced and executed. 

Gangster King - Reggie Kray


Convicted of murder

Incarcerated 1968-2000(32 years)

While in prison Reggie Kray made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but does anyone remember that fact? Come see Reggie's prison Bible at the

Museum of The Book

Slave Ship Captain - John Newton


Pressed into slavery by an African slave trader from 1745-1748 John Newton, a deposed slave captain, was eventually converted to Jesus Christ whilst in the midst of a great storm at sea. He became an Anglican minister and later influenced the abolitionist William Wilberforce. See original hand signed documents by Newton in the Museum of The Book including an autographed single leaf from a 18th century Bible. 

Lawyer Author Theologian - Sir Thomas Moore


Convicted of treason.

Incarcerated April 1535 - July 1535 (3 months).

Beheaded on Tower Hill July 1535.

To be seen at the Museum of The Book is a contemporary manuscript copy of Thomas Moore's original treatise on the body and blood of Christ being real and present in the sacrament which was secretly written while imprissoned in the Tower of London. 

Queen of England and Ireland  -  Elizabeth I


Incarcerated in the Tower of London

18 March - 22 May 1554

Elizabeth succeeded to the throne of England upon the death of her half sister Mary I. One of the most important acts during her 45 year reign was to commission the translation of the Bishops' Bible 1568. At the Museum of The Book it is possible to see and turn the pages of a first edition Bishops' Bible. 

Nightclub Owner - Jack Ruby

1911 - 1967

Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald who in turn assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Incarcerated 24 November 1963 - 3 January 1967.

Died of cancer 3 January 1967.

Book a visit to see the prison New Testament of Jack Ruby at the Museum of The Book.

Bishop Preacher Bible Translator - Myles Coverdale

1488 - 1568

Myles Coverdale was placed under house arrest 1 September 1553.

Myles Coverdale has the distinction of giving to the English speaking world the first complete printed Bible in the English language. On display are several original Coverdale Bibles at the Museum of The Book.

Publican - Albert Pierrepoint

1905 - 1992

Though never convicted of a crime Albert Pierrepoint attended prison on more than 500 occasions each time being locked in overnight. He committed no crime yet took the life of more than 600 people. Known as the most prolific hangman in England's history he felt compelled to carry his personal Bible to each execution. As you might have guessed by now it can be seen in the Museum of The Book. He called the Bible his,

"guardian angle".

A Bible with the Royal Arms of Charles I on the binding. 

Explorer Politician - Henry Morton Stanley


HM Stanley was taken prisoner in the American Civil War battle of Shiloh. He was incarcerated for 2 months until he joined the opposing side. However, he absconded and eventually fled to Europe, the Middle East and finally Africa where he found the missing missionary Dr. David Livingstone with the now famous phrase, "Dr. Livingstone I presume." See in the Museum of the Book a Bible given to Stanley by Janet Livingstone, Dr. Livingstone's sister, in grateful recognition of finding her lost brother.

bottom of page