In the year 1800, 15-year-old Mary Jones walked 26 miles in her bare feet to buy a Bible. Owning a Bible in Wales at that time was rare; they were expensive and scarce. Mary saved her pennies for six years. Her journey began in the village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant taking her over streams, through valleys and around mountains to Bala.
Upon arriving at the home of the Bible-seller, Thomas Charles, Mary’s hopes were dashed. His supply of Bibles were all sold or spoken for. Her despair moved Mr. Charles to sell her one, even though he had promised it to someone else.
Mary’s journey began with her longing for a Bible. She ‘put feet’ to her resolve by saving and by walking. Being poor and barefoot were not hindrances. Indeed, her effort and her disappointment affected Thomas Charles beyond making sure she went home with a Bible. He wanted there to be Bibles for all Welsh people. This led to the 1804 founding of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London.
The barefoot journey of Mary Jones had resounding impact.