Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DAVID ( 1763 - 1816 ), Independent minister ;

b. at Llangeler, Carms. , 12 June 1763 , son of an inn-keeper , and educated only at the village school (much later on in life, when he was at Swansea , he got leave of absence from his church to spend four months at Hackney Academy ), m. when a youth — he had six children. At about 20, he (like Christmas Evans , q.v. ) joined the Arminian-Arian congregation of Pen-rhiw , but soon turned to the Calvinistic Independents of Pencader . About 1784-5 , he began preaching , and in 1790 was ordained assistant minister of the church at Llangeler , which was then on the point of extinction. So successful was he that a new chapel ( Saron ) had to be built, in 1792 ; he was also pastor of the churches (far distant from one another) at Neuadd-lwyd, Cards ., and Gwernogle, Carms. — these he visited monthly. In 1795 he was called to succeed Lewis Rees (q.v.) in the pastorate of Mynydd-bach ( Swansea ) and its branches. Here again he was remarkably successful; in 1803 he built Ebenezer chapel in the town of Swansea , and from 1808 onwards confined himself to Ebenezer and Sketty , relinquishing the mother-church of Mynydd-bach to another minister . He d. 26 Dec. 1816 .

Davies is an historical figure among Welsh Independents ; some indeed would claim that he was their greatest preacher . In him, for the first time it would seem, we depart from the older Presbyterian and Independent tradition of a professionally-trained ministry; in him and his like we realize the influence of the Methodist Revival upon the Older Dissent . He was an indefatigable itinerant, and an exceptionally powerful preacher ; he had a magnificent voice, and the matter of his sermons was substantial, even though (naturally) they revealed little systematic discipline in theology. He also wrote a large number of hymns. Nor was he without organizing ability: he was a planter of churches and trainer of preachers .

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 45-55;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , i, 176-81.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959