Knox-Johnston's solo round-the-world bible comes home

The barque Endeavour, the replica of Captain James Cook’s 18th Century ship, will be returning to Falmouth on 27 March to return the bible which was used by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston during his solo circumnavigation.

Captain Chris Blake, Master of Endeavour will deliver the bible back to its home town. Thirty four years ago, Sir Robin set sail from Falmouth to complete the first single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world.

Just prior to his departure he mentioned to Reverend David Roberts, the Chaplain for the Mission to Seamen, that he was without a bible. Padre Roberts dashed into Falmouth and purchased a copy; Padre Roberts signed it, wished Sir Robin well and then passed it to him.

After 312 days at sea, on 22 April 1969, Sir Robin sailed back into Falmouth, and the history books, and returned the bible, signed by himself, to Padre Roberts. Some time later he passed it to Nigel Rowe who competed in the 1994/5 Around Alone race and who also safely delivered his signed bible back to the padre.

When the Endeavour last came to Falmouth in 1997, Capt Chris Blake and Padre Roberts attended a party in celebration of the promise of funding for National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Padre Roberts said to Capt Blake that he should now take the bible with him on Endeavour as she was headed off around the world.

Sadly, three years ago Padre Roberts passed away but before he died he asked the family, including his daughter Sian Cumins, who now runs The Grove Hotel, opposite the Museum, to attempt to locate the bible and hand it to the Museum.

Endeavour will sail into Falmouth carrying a unique piece of history, a bible that has sailed on more around the world adventures than any other, been the soul mate of some of our most renowned sailing heroes and is a key thread in Falmouth’s relationship with the sea dating back 34 years.

At a ceremony after Endeavour’s arrival, Capt Blake will sign and hand the bible to Nigel Rowe, who will in turn pass it to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Sir Robin will then pass it to Sian Cumins who will then present the bible to Peter Cowling, Director of National Maritime Museum Cornwall. He will accept the bible and place it in the Museum’s Bartlett Library – its final resting place.