Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , ROBERT ( 1816 - 1905 ), philanthropist ;

b. at Llangefni , Anglesey , 1 April 1816 ; for his family connections see under Davies , Richard ( 1818 - 1896 ) . Educated at Llangefni national school and in a school at Chester , he at first managed an iron-foundry at Caernarvon for his father, but afterwards joined his family at Menai Bridge . Though he became high sheriff of Anglesey ( 1862 ) and D.L. , he took no part in public affairs; and apart from his business (and his hobby of chemistry ) his main interest was philanthropy . He had moved (about 1862 ) from the home at Bwlch-y-fen to Bodlondeb opposite Menai Bridge , where he lived an austerely frugal life, allowing his money to pile up until about 1885 , when he began giving it away in large sums, often anonymously. His chief beneficiary was his own denomination (the Calvinistic Methodists ), to which he was a princely giver; in education he took (unlike his brother) but little interest, though he did contribute to the Normal and to the University College at Bangor . His minor charities are amusingly exemplified by the weekly dole of flour which he gave to those who came to Bodlondeb to fetch it. In these various ways, he is said to have given away nearly £500,000, and indeed at his death his estate amounted only to £500,000. Eccentric and a recluse, he never m., and d. intestate at Bodlondeb 29 Dec. 1905 ; he was buried with his parents at Llangefni .

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Second Supplement , (with further references).

Author:

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

Published date: 1959