Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , STEPHEN (d. 1794 ), who revived the defunct 17th cent. Baptist church at Carmarthen .

The labours of Enoch Francis (q.v.) had settled a branch of the Newcastle Emlyn Baptist church at Ffynnonhenry ( Llanpumpsaint ), and Davies , a son-in-law of his, was a member there. In 1757 , Davies rented a dwelling-house in Priory Street , Carmarthen , for holding occasional preaching services, as some of the members of Ffynnonhenry lived in the town. In 1765 , Davies opened a linen-draper's shop in the town, and came to live there — in Lammas Street ; and in 1768 ( Joshua Thomas , Hist. Bapt. Assoc. , 62) Ffynnonhenry and Priory Street were incorporated as a single church. In 1775 some members wished to have Stephen Davies ordained co-pastor , but there was so much opposition that a schism arose. Davies 's opponents removed to the old Priory — this was the congregation which afterwards became the Dark Gate church , now at Tabernacle chapel . But Davies and his party kept their hold on the Priory Street meeting-place, and also on Tŷ Coch in Llangynog parish, and duly ordained Davies as their pastor — not before 1778 , however ( Joshua Thomas , op. cit., 67), did the Baptist Association grant them formal incorporation. A chapel was built in Priory Street in 1786 — -the predecessor of the present Penuel . But in 1792 Davies was dismissed by his church. Some ( J.T. J. , i, 112) attribute this to his failure in business; David Jones ( Bed. Deheubarth , 444) to a dispute concerning moneys collected for building the chapel. It is perhaps easier to believe ( David Jones , op. cit., 443) that personal clashes were the cause: Stephen Davies 's former pastor Daniel Davies ( 1756 - 1837 ) (q.v.) testifies that he was a good man, but that he could not brook opposition — he describes him as a strongly-built man who dressed well, with powdered wig, a public figure of consequential appearance and aristocratic manners. Nor, in view of what happened at Priory Street in 1799 (see under Watkins , Joshua ), should we disregard the hint given by William Richards of Lynn ( 1749 - 1818 ) (q.v.) that there were doctrinal differences within the church (see Traf. Cymd. Hanes Bed. , 1930 , 35-6). Davies d. in 1794 and was buried in Ffynnonhenry burial ground.

Sources:

  • Joshua Thomas , Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry , 558, 574,
  • and the above references.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959