Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , BEN ( 1864 - 1937 ), Independent minister, and poet ;

b. at Dolgam , Cwmllynfell , 1864 . He was educated at the village school, after which he worked in the coal mines from the age of 13 until he was 21. He began to write poetry at an early age, winning many prizes at local literary gatherings and eisteddfodau. By the time he was 13 he had mastered the art of cynghanedd , and when he was 21 won the bardic chair at Tredegar for his awdl on Virtue ( Rhinwedd ). He went to a seminary at Llansawel, Carms. , in 1885 , and was at Bala Independent college , 1886-8 . He then became minister of Bwlchgwyn and Llandegla , 1888-91 , and Panteg , Ystalyfera , 1891-1926 . He came into prominence as one of the ‘new school’ of poets, 1890-6 , winning the chief prizes in the national eisteddfod — the crown at Rhyl (but with only half the prize), 1892 , Pontypridd , 1893 , Caernarvon , 1894 , and the chair at Llandudno , 1896 . In that year, too, a volume of lyrics written by him was published under the title Caneuon Bywyd . He rapidly became one of the foremost preachers of his denomination, and in 1928 was chairman of the Union of Welsh Independents at Machynlleth , where he delivered an address on ‘ Spiritual Adventure .’ He lectured frequently on Welsh literary personalities and a number of articles written by him appeared in Y Geninen , Y Dysgedydd , and other periodicals. The last years of his life, afflicted by loss of hearing , were spent with his children in London , but he continued to preach to the end. He d. 2 Jan. 1937 .

Sources:

  • Ffrwythau Dethol , 1938 ;
  • Hanes Eglwys Cwmllynfell , 1935 , 147-50.

Author:

Rev. John Dyfnallt Owen, M.A., (1873-1956), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959