Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , CLEMENT EDWARD ( 1884 - 1962 ), politician ;

b. 19 Feb. 1884 at Llanfyllin, Mont. , the youngest of the seven children of Moses Davies , auctioneer , and his wife Elizabeth Margaret Jones . Educated at the local elementary school, he went to Llanfyllin County School when it opened in 1897 . He went on to Trinity Hall , Cambridge , where he obtained first class in both parts of the law tripos ( 1906-07 ) and won a number of prizes. He took up a post as law lecturer in Aberystwyth in 1908-09 before he was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn . Davies joined the North Wales circuit in 1909 and transferred, within a year, to the Northern circuit . He was a successful lawyer and published, under the influence of his family background, books on agricultural law and on the law of auctions and auctioneers .

At the beginning of World War I Davies was appointed advisor on enemy activities in neutral countries and on the high seas . He moved to the Board of Trade where he dealt with trading with the enemy. He held the post of secretary to the president of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty division , 1918-19 , and secretary to the Master of the Rolls , 1919-23 . His experience in these posts together with his ready and favourable advice proved of great use to the Library authorities in obtaining the deposit of Welsh wills and the records of the Courts of Great Session at the National Library of Wales during the 1920 s. From 1919 to 1925 he was a junior counsel to the Treasury and became a K.C. in 1926 . He held the post of chairman of the Montgomeryshire Quarter Sessions from 1935 until his death. He was on the Board of Unilever 1930-41 and later acted as an adviser to the Board .

In 1929 Davies was elected Liberal M.P. for Montgomeryshire and he represented the county for the rest of his life. He joined the National Liberals in 1931 but rejoined the Liberal Party in 1941 . During World War II he was a strong supporter of the coalition Government. He was leader of the Liberal Party from 1945 to 1956 . He was zealous in his support for liberty and social justice. Davies was elected an honorary fellow of Trinity Hall in 1950 and a bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1953 . He was also made a freeman of Welshpool in 1955 and given an honorary LL.D. by the University of Wales in the same year. He d. on 23 March 1962 in London and he was buried in the graveyard at Meifod Church.

In 1913 he m. Jano Elizabeth (d. 27 Dec. 1969 ), the adopted daughter of Morgan Davies , a doctor with a popular practice among the London Welsh and who contributed frequently, under the pseudonym ‘ Teryll y Bannau ’, to Welsh newspapers. Clement and Jano Davies had three sons and a daughter; they lost three of the children, each at the age of twenty-four; a son and the daughter died in accidents; only one son survived. Jano Davies was a fine public speaker and she was of considerable assistance to her husband in his political career. She was the youngest head teacher of her time in London .

Sources:

  • The Times , 24 Mar. 1962 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , 1961-70 , 278-9.
  • The papers of Clement Davies are held by NLW, see The National Library of Wales Journal , 23, 406-210;
  • Lord Hooson , The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 1997 .

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001