Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GRAVELL , DAVID ( 1787 - 1872 ), farmer, herbalist, and publisher ;

b. 3 June 1787 , son of Thomas and Mary Gravell of Cwmfelin , in the parish of Llandyfaelog, Carms. He took to religion under the ministry of David Peter (q.v.) of Carmarthen . As a young man he suffered from bad health and this led him to experiment with herbal remedies ; at the same time, he made the most of his friendship with ( Sir ) David Daniel Davis (q.v.) , the royal physician who was a native of the parish and whose father was a deacon in Pen-y-graig church . There are still people who remember ‘ Gravell of Cwmfelin's Oil .’ He published at least six books : Caniadau Seion , 1847 , comprising over 1,200 Welsh hymns, twenty-one anthems, and a number of English hymns; Crist yn Llawn Perlau, sef Egwyddoreg , 1855 ; Hynafiaethau Cristionogol, sef Hanes yr Eglwys , 1859 ; Corph o Ddiwinyddiaeth wedi ei Ddethol o Catecism Cymanfa Westminster , 1862 ; Crefydd Gymdeithasol, neu Gydymaith y Cristion gan y Parch. Mathias Maurice gyda Byrdraeth ; Bywyd David Gravell ynghyd a Hanes Eglwys Penygraig , 1865 ; Athrawiaeth Pabaidd-Esgobol yn cael ei Gwrth-brofi , 1871 . Among the Caniadau Seion there are a few hymns written by himself but they are very ordinary and lack popular appeal. He regarded himself as an elder , not as a deacon , of Pen-y-graig Independent church and in his later years his views on church government were a sore trial to his minister , Joseph Jarvis , and there were frequent tussles between him and David Rees ( 1801 - 1869 ) (q.v.) , of Llanelly on the same point. He had a deep-seated interest in education and it was chiefly through his generosity that the British school at Idole near Pen-y-graig was built. He was a bachelor, and lived all his life at Cwmfelin . He d. 15 Aug. 1872 and was buried in Pen-y-graig burial ground.

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 444;
  • W. A. Griffiths , Hanes Emynwyr Cymru , Caernarfon, 1907 , 162-3.

Author:

Rev. Tom Beynon, (1886-1961), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959