Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DANIEL JOHN ( 1885 - 1970 ), Independent minister and poet ;

b. 2 Sept. 1885 , at Waunfelen , a cottage in Pentregalar , Crymych, Pembs. , a son of John Morris and Ann Davies . When his father was killed in a rail accident at Boncath station, his mother and her three sons moved to a house named Tŷ-canol , but the mother and the two brothers died soon after and the orphaned boy went to live with his mother's sister at Aberdyfnant , Llanfyrnach . There he was influenced by O.R. Owen , the minister of Glandŵr Independent chapel . He started to preach there at Whitsun, 1906 . After a period at Old College School at Carmarthen he took an honours course in Hebrew at University College , Cardiff and graduated in 1913 , followed by a theological course at the Memorial College , Brecon . The authorities at Brecon had prevented him from taking Welsh as his main subject at Cardiff . Despite this he won the chair twice at the college eisteddfod . He was ordained at Capel Als , Llanelli , in 1916 - a staunch pacifist in the middle of the Great War . He held strong radical views, politically and theologically, but he was no Boanerges . During his ministry six of the young men of Capel Als entered the ministry, one as a missionary who worked in Sudan .

He won the cywydd competition four times at the national eisteddfod . R. Williams Parry said of his poem Ffynnon Fair that he knew of no one who could write so easily and so effortlessly within the restrictions of cynghanedd . He was second to Gwenallt in the chair competition the year before winning in 1932 for his ode ‘ Mam ’ at the Aberavon National Eisteddfod in a competition of high quality. He adjudicated frequently at the national eisteddfod and he composed a number of acceptable hymns . He published a collection of his poetry, Cywyddau a chaniadau eraill in 1968 . He held classes in cynghanedd in Llanelli .

Although he was shy by nature, he became one of the leaders of his denomination; he was shrewd and wise with an unforced sense of humour and a pleasing personality. He was elected to the chair of the Union of Welsh Independents and his address from the chair was published in the Union's annual report for 1957 . He was one of the editors of the Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol which was published in 1960 . He retired from his ministry at Capel Als in 1958 . He d. 4 June 1970 . His ashes were buried in Glandŵr cemetery. His likeable and talented wife, Enid , was the daughter of D. Stanley Jones ( DWB , 1132) , minister of the Independent chapel at Caernarfon .

Sources:

  • Blwyddiadur yr Annibynwyr Cymraeg , 1971 , 165;
  • Y Tyst , June, 1970 ;
  • personal knowledge;
  • Maurice Loader , Capel Als , Swansea, 1980 (1980) .

Author:

Rev. Iorwerth Jones (1913-92), Gorseinon

Published date: 2001