Bizarre Bible written in shorthand found in West Sussex bookshop

Part of Genesis chapter one written in Pitman shorthand
Part of Genesis chapter one written in Pitman shorthand

A copy of the Bible written entirely in shorthand has sparked curiosity after it was found in a West Sussex bookshop.

The King James Bible written in Pitman shorthand was picked up in Kim's Bookshop in Arundel by Graeme Patfield, a former journalist and now director at PR company in Fareham, Polymedia.

With his journalistic history, Graeme is able to read and write Teeline shorthand, not the type used in the Bible.

"It's totally bizarre," he said, "It was not Teeline and I'm a Teeline boy so I couldn't read it.

"I was just going for lunch when I was a bit early," Graeme decided he would take a look around Kim's Bookshop to pass the time, "It's an amazing little bookshop that just goes up and up and up. You could easily spend an afternoon in there.

"We were just on our way out when I saw it and I thought 'that's intriguing'.

Genesis Chapter one in English (for comparison)

Genesis Chapter one in English (for comparison)

"I thought it might be God trying to convert me but if he was he would have done it in Teeline."

Since he found it, the story has been picked up by news and media trade website Hold the Front Page and the Church Times.

"I was surprised by the amount of interest in it," Graeme added.

Speaking in her Chichester branch, Kim's Bookshop owner Lin Hearne said: "I would guess that some people would put a big price on it — I just want to sell it.

Lin Hearne at the Kim's Bookshop in Chichester with the book

Lin Hearne at the Kim's Bookshop in Chichester with the book

"It doesn't interest me but I do hope to get my £20.

This isn't the first time Lin has come across books written entirely in shorthand. Previous finds include a Sherlock Holmes book, Alice in Wonderland and Treasure Island.

The shop has come across some other curiosities including a first edition of Winnie the Pooh which sold for a a whopping £20,000

I only know about it because one of our regular customers bought the Church Times in and I had assumed that the person [who told the Church Times] had bought it.

Lin estimates the book is dated at around 1910 because of the style of gilding puts it between 1850 and 1940 but the book says it is a '20th century edition'.

It is not known why the Bible was transcribed in shorthand but may have been used as a training exercise.