Three years later he was arrested by Foulk Thomas at Holyhead , in the company of Robert Pugh and of four youths destined for the priesthood, whom he was conducting on their way to Ireland with a view to their entering a Spanish seminary . Next day he was taken to Beaumaris , and examined in the presence of Hugh Bellot , bishop of Bangor , and when Davies , on further magisterial examination, confessed his mission but refused to implicate his hosts, he was separated from his companions and confined to a ‘dark stinking dungeon.’ After a month's solitary confinement he was given greater libery, and his cell became a resort for neighbouring Romanists (for whom he celebrated mass) and for Protestants coming to dispute with him; but he refused to avail himself of Robert Pugh 's repeated plans for his escape. At the next assizes he was indicted of treason before William Leighton , C.J. of the Anglesey circuit , and found guilty, but sentence was postponed in the hope of inducing him to recant. Efforts towards this end before the Court of Ludlow being without effect, he was confined at Bewdley and other prisons and eventually returned to Beaumaris in readiness for the next assizes, refusing once more to participate in a plot for his rescue on the way. Here he rejoined his companions, and formed with them a community living by a definite ‘rule’ within the prison for some six months, until, 27 July 1593 , the postponed sentence was carried out, and despite difficulty in procuring the necessary materials, hangman , and site among a hostile population, he was hanged as a traitor — the first to suffer there for the Roman Catholic faith.
A chapel was erected to his memory at Beaumaris in 1909 . Among his disciples, in addition to Roger Gwynne , were Frs. William Robins , Caernarvon (ordained from Valladolid , 1602 ) and possibly Robert Edmonds of Denbighshire (b. 1583 , admitted to Valladolid 1603 , believed to have died in the Gatehouse 1615 ). Fr. Davies is described by Gwilym Pue as ‘ Syr William , seren ei wlad,’ and by T. P. Ellis as ‘one of the most appealing of all the Welsh martyrs.’
Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor
Published date: 1959