Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , HENRY , I ( 1753 - 1825 ), Baptist minister ,

b. near Letterston, Pembs. , and brought up as a shoemaker . Baptized at Llangloffan ( 28 Nov. 1772 ), he began preaching (at Letterston ) in 1775 , and in 1780 was ordained as one of the joint pastors of Llangloffan , an office which he held for forty-five years. For a while he still maintained himself by his trade, but after his marriage he farmed at Pencerrig near Fishguard . He is interesting for more than one reason. As many as seven ‘branches’ of his far-flung congregation were incorporated as churches during his ministry, and chapels were built for several of them; by all accounts, he was an exceptionally fine preacher . Belonging to the missionary (and High Calvinist ) party among the Baptists of his day, he took part in the Baptist mission in North Wales , and it was he who (in 1788 ) baptized John Richard Jones ‘of Ramoth ’ (q.v.) . The French landing near Fishguard ( 1797 ) brought him trouble. Despite the fact that the invaders raided his farm and menaced his person, he was charged with ‘collaboration,’ and though the charge was dropped, his effigy was burnt at Fishguard fair on 2 Feb. 1798 . He d. 9 May 1825 , and was buried in Hermon burial ground, Fishguard .

[His son, HENRY DAVIES II ( 1786? - 1862 ) was his co-adjutor and successor in the pastorate. The year of his birth is variously given; his tombstone implies 1786 , but other statements put it at 1785 or even 1783 . He began preaching in 1805 , went to Abergavenny Baptist College in Jan. 1809 , and was ordained in 1811 as one of the four joint pastors of Llangloffan — at the time of his death, 23 Aug. 1862 , he was one of three. He was buried at Harmony (near Pencaer ), a chapel which he himself had founded. Unlike his father, he had means, partly through his marriage and partly through a large legacy; not only could he afford to ignore the very trifling stipend attached to his office, but he was also a most generous benefactor . He is said to have given away a good £4,000 during his lifetime; in particular, he defrayed more than a quarter of the cost of rebuilding Llangloffan chapel , over and above a liberal donation to the pastorate fund and another to the day school there.]

Sources:

  • D. Jones , Hanes y Bedyddwyr yn Neheubarth Cymru , 1839 , 184-7;
  • R. Edwards , Hanes Llangloffan , 24-5, 45-6;
  • J. J. Evans , Dylanwad y Chwyldro Ffrengig ar lenyddiaeth Cymru , Liverpool, 1928 , 177.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959