Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , EVAN ( 1694? - 1770 ), Independent minister and tutor ,

b. near Lampeter , went to Hoxton Academy under Thomas Ridgeley and John Eames , F.R.S. He would seem to have kept school at Haverfordwest from 1720 , and on 5 June 1723 was ordained minister of Albany church there. In 1741 , on the death of Vavasor Griffiths (q.v.) , the ‘ Welsh Academy ’ was moved to Haverfordwest and placed in Davies 's charge; but in 1743 , when he took the pastorate of the churches at Llan-y-bri and Bwlch , the academy was united with the school kept at Carmarthen by Samuel Thomas (q.v.) , the Presbyterian and Congregational Fund Boards becoming jointly responsible for the academy under two tutors. The concordat between the two boards did not run smoothly, and there were also internal troubles within the academy; in 1754-5 the Congregational Board withheld its support; and in 1759 Davies resigned, ostensibly because of ill health, but probably for other and more substantial reasons. He became pastor at Billericay , Essex , where he d., 16 Oct. 1770 , at the age of 76. Evan Davies seems to have been a moderate Calvinist , of a rather academic type. Richard Bennett ( Blynyddoedd Cyntaf Methodistiaeth , 182) held, for unspecified reasons, that he was one of the Dissenting friends of Methodism in its early days, and indeed that in 1737 he invited Howel Harris to Pembrokeshire . Certainly a letter to Howel Harris ( Trevecka letter 100 , 20 Aug. 1737 ) by Rees Davies ( 1694? - 1767 ) (q.v.) , a kinsman of Evan Davies 's, shows that Evan Davies was then corresponding with Griffith Jones of Llanddowror . But however that may have been, the wind had turned by 1741 , as is shown by a letter of Evan Davies 's to Griffith Jones ( Welch Piety , 7 Aug. 1741 ). And the diaries ( N.L.W. MS. 5456 ) of Thomas Morgan of Henllan ( 1720 - 1799 ) (q.v.) , who in his student days was on very good terms with Evan Davies , show that in March 1744 Griffith Jones and Evan Davies were jointly concerting measures to check the spread of Methodism in the neighbourhood of Carmarthen .

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 386-7;
  • G. D. Owen , Ysgolion a Cholegau yr Annibynwyr , 1939 , 1939 ;
  • other sources mentioned above.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959