Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DAVIES , EVAN ( Eta Delta ; 1794 - 1855 ), Independent minister ;

b. 1794 at Cefn , Llanbrynmair , nephew of Thomas Davies of Llanuwchllyn ( minister of the ‘ Old Chapel ’ there). He was educated at Newtown Academy and began his career as a missioner in the neighbourhood of Bilston . During the absence of its minister, J. Breese (q.v.) , he worked for a year at Tabernacle chapel , Liverpool . He was ordained minister at Llanrwst in 1827 , moved to Llannerch-y-medd in 1834 , and to Newmarket, Flints. , where he spent the rest of his life, in 1841 . He is said to have been the first to advocate publicly the principle of total abstinence. His admirers in Llannerch-y-medd insisted on raising a testimonial for him, but the money thus collected was made over by him towards paying off the debt on his chapel which has, ever since, been known as ‘ Capel Ifan .’ Writing under the pseudonym Eta Delta , he was a frequent contributor to the press ; unfortunately his opinions and his method of ventilating them caused offence to his brethren in the ministry. He annoyed the poet-preachers , some of whom were very distinguished men in North Wales , by disparaging their zealousness in competing at eisteddfodau, alleging that this caused them to neglect their pastoral duties. Nor were his views on a minister's qualifications any more congenial, for he maintained that a minister who lacked a college education should consider himself lucky to have charge of a small, out-of-the-way chapel; but some of the most popular preachers of the day were in this category. Moreover, he held that those who were born out of wedlock, those who were not total abstainers, and those who were physically defective, should not be admitted to the ministry. The expression of these views roused bitter resentment in many quarters. He published a number of small tracts, e.g. Iachawdwriaeth Babanod , 1833 , Cynghorion a Chyfarwyddiadau Meddygol , 1840 , and Y Weinidogaeth a'r Eglwysi , 1840 . The last-named ( The Ministry and the Churches ) caused a considerable stir and was republished with additions in 1854 . He d. 1 March 1855 .


  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , i, 195;
  • Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru (1870) , 195;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iv, 217;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) , 36.


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959