Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DAVID REES (‘ Cledlyn ’; 1875 - 1964 ), schoolmaster, poet, writer, local historian ;

b. 6 Feb. 1875 in Glanrhyd , Cwrtnewydd, Cards. The house is now called ‘ Langro ’, and has a small plaque on it to mark his birthplace. He was one of the two sons of Evan Davies , blacksmith , and his wife Elizabeth (née James ) . He was educated in the village school and from the age of 14 until he went to U.C.W. , Aberystwyth , in 1894 , he was a pupil teacher there. At the end of his first term at college he gained one of the scholarships offered to the three best students in the education department, and at the end of two years he left with a first-class teacher's certificate . He first went to teach at Moelfre , Llansilin , near Oswestry and moved to Cofadail school, Cards. , 9 May 1898 . From 28 Feb. 1902 until he retired in 1935 he served as schoolmaster in his native village. A gifted schoolmaster , he was respected by his pupils and the local people. The recitation pieces which he composed for children were very popular and were published in Tusw o flodau ( 1925 ) for use in schools.

His major interests lay in writing poetry , and competing and adjudicating in eisteddfodau . He won many prizes at the National Eisteddfod including the chair at Corwen , 1919 , and also at Mold , 1923 . His entries showed a complete mastery of cynghanedd and of the Welsh language. He was president of the Unitarian Association in South Wales in 1920 and twelve of his hymns appeared in Y Perlau Moliant , though he rejected religion from the 1930 s onwards. On behalf of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society he edited the words (collected mostly by J. Ffos Davies ), and D.J. de Lloyd (see below) the music, of Forty Welsh traditional tunes ( 1929 ). He contributed regularly to The Welsh Gazette over a period of about 60 years, and also to Yr Ymofynnydd , Y Genhinen and The Western Mail (see Glyn Lewis Jones , A bibliography of Cardiganshire, 1600-1964 , ( 1967 ) and the Supplement, 1964-8 ( 1970 ) for a bibliography of much of his work). When he was 88 years old he published Chwedlau ac Odlau ( 1963 ), which portrays local characters and includes a selection of his own poems. But his main work, in collaboration with his second wife, was a local history, Hanes plwyf Llanwenog ( 1936 ; 2nd ed. 1939 ). They also wrote a history of the parish of Llanwnnen , parts of which were published in the Welsh Gazette .

He m. (1), summer 1895 , Elizabeth Thomas , who d. 12 Feb. 1908 leaving three daughters and a son. He m. (2), 1914 , Zabeth Susanah Owen , headmistress of Blaenau school , Gors-goch . He d. 29 Dec. 1964 , five days after his wife.

Sources:

  • Information from his grandson, Bifan Prys Morgan ;
  • Yr Ymofynnydd , 65, 1965 , 22-6;
  • D. J. Goronwy Evans (ed.), Deri o'n daear ni rhai o gewri bro Eisteddfod Llanbedr Pont Steffan a'r Cylch , Llandysul, 1984 (1984) .

Author:

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

Published date: 2001