Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DAVIES , WILLIAM ( 1729? - 1787 ), Methodist cleric ;

b. at Stangrach , Llanfynydd, Carms. On the title-page of the elegy written upon him, William Williams of Pantycelyn stated that he d. ‘in the Sixtieth Year of his Age,’ but the only likely entry in the parish register concerns the christening of one ‘ Gulielmus filius Jonathan David ,’ 24 Aug. 1729 . We do not know where he was educated nor when he was ordained, but it is said that he was curate of Llanfihangel Ynys Afan in 1754 . We come across his name for the first time in the church register of Llantwit-juxta-Neath in Dec. 1762 ; here he was curate until 1769 or 1770 when, it is said, he was dismissed because of his association with the Methodists . From 1771 to 1775 his name is frequently found in the Llangiwc register. In 1776 he rebuilt the old chapel of ease at Gyfylchi , where he ministered for the rest of his life. He preached and travelled extensively in Wales , and so great was the emotional uplift of his sermons that when Howel Davies (q.v.) d. it was he who was deemed fit to preside over the Pembrokeshire societies . He was also a hymnwriter , and some of his hymns were published in David William 's Myfyrdod Pererin ( Carmarthen , I. Daniel , n.d.); while two are found in Nodau y gwir Gristion ( Carmarthen , I. Daniel , n.d.). He is believed to have translated into Welsh John Newton 's book, Twenty six Letters on Religious Texts, by Omicron ( Carmarthen , J. Ross , 1777 ). He d. 17 Aug. 1787 and was buried in the churchyard of S. Thomas's , Neath . David William , Peter Williams , and Williams of Pantycelyn (qq.v.), wrote elegies on his death.


  • Methodistiaeth Cymru (1851–6) , iii, 41-4;
  • Y Tadau Methodistaidd (1895) , i, 478-83;
  • Yr Adolygydd , ii, 498-502;
  • D. Rhys Phillips , The Hist. of the Vale of Neath (Swansea, 1925) , 157-9, 480;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , 188;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , xii, 25-7;
  • G. Thomas , Lloffyn olaf o faes hynafiaethau Capel y Gyfylchi, ger Pontrhydyfen, Port Talbot (Treorchy, 1899?) , 29-50.


Reverend Gomer Morgan Roberts, M.A., (1904-93), Pont-rhyd-y-fen / St Dogmael's / Llandybïe

Published date: 1959