Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , THOMAS WITTON ( 1851 - 1923 ), Baptist minister, and Semitic scholar ;

b. 28 Feb. 1851 at Nant-y-glo, Mon. , of illiterate but pious parents. The family moved to Witton Park , co. Durham (whence he took his middle name); his elementary schooling there was the only education afforded him before he was over 21. In 1872 he entered the Baptist College at Pontypool ; there, in addition to pursuing the prescribed courses, he diligently read Coleridge and Carlyle , whose influence upon him throughout his life was very deep. From Pontypool he went in 1879 to Regent's Park and University Colleges in London , graduating in 1876 James Martineau deeply influenced him in these years.

From 1879 to Dec. 1880 he was pastor of High Street church at Merthyr Tydfil , and from 1881 till 1891 classical and Hebrew tutor at Haverfordwest Baptist College . He was principal of the Baptist College at Nottingham from 1891 till 1898 , acting also as lecturer in Arabic and Syriac in University College , Nottingham ; several terms during these years were spent at German universities — a whole year at Leipzig under Buhl , Socin , and Dalman , and a term under Noldeke at Strasbourg ; he also studied Assyrian under Sayce . He moved to Bangor in 1898 , first as Hebrew tutor at Bangor Baptist College ( 1898-1905 ) and afterwards ( 1905-21 ) as professor of Hebrew at the University College of North Wales . His students at Bangor held him in very high regard, in no way diminished by his many eccentricities.

In addition to articles in periodicals ( English , American , and German ) and in the Welsh Geiriadur Beiblaidd and Hastings 's Dictionary of the Bible , he published, among other things, commentaries on Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther , 1909 , and the latter half of the Psalms , 1906 , a book entitled Magic, Divination, and Demonology among the Hebrews , 1898 , another, Heinrich Ewald , 1905 , and a small Welsh ‘ Introduction ’ to the Old Testament. He was a doctor of Leipzig and Jena universities, and an honorary doctor of Geneva and Durham . His large library was left (for the most part) to the National Library of Wales .

He was twice m.: (1) 1880 , to Mary Anne Moore , who d. in 1910 , leaving one daughter, and (2) 1911 , to Hilda Mabel Everett , by whom he had a son and a daughter. He d. 12 May 1923 .

Sources:

  • Outstanding Literary and Human Factors of My Life , Brecon, 1911 , 1911 , by T. Witton Davies ;
  • ‘Vita,’ in Magic, Divination, and Demonology among the Hebrews and their neighbours, : including an examination of Biblical references and of the Biblical terms , London, 1898 ;
  • [ Who was who? ;
  • information from Mrs. Witton Davies
  • and from the Very Rev. the Dean of S. Davids.]

Author:

Rev. Lewis Edward Valentine, M.A., (1893-1986), Rhos

Published date: 1959