Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , ELLIS WILLIAM ( 1871 - 1939 ), solicitor and politician ;

b. 12 Apr. 1871 at Gerlan , Bethesda, Caerns. , s. of David Davies , a quarry official , and Catherine ( Williams ) , Tyddyn Sabel , Bethesda . He was educated at Carneddi school , Bethesda , Liverpool College and a private school in Liverpool . After six years as a clerk in insurance offices at Wrexham and Sheffield he proceeded to qualify as a solicitor , gaining first-class honours in 1899 and a London Law Society prize . He established a solicitor's practice at Caernarfon , and lived there for rest of his life. In 1904 he was elected a member of Caernarfon County Council , later being made an alderman . He acted as solicitor for the North Wales Quarrymen's Union , and was director of several business companies .

In June 1906 he was elected M.P. (Lib.) for the Eifion division of Caernarfonshire , in succession to John Bryn Roberts ( DWB , 1148) , and retained his seat until 1918 . During this period he was a member of the departmental committee on landed estates ( 1911 ), departmental committee on the jury system ( 1911 ), Lloyd George's land enquiry committee ( 1912 ), the Speaker's conference on reforming the electoral system ( 1916 ), the departmental committee concerned with the right of public authorities to make compulsory purchases of land ( 1917 ) and Lord Bryce 's conference on reforming the House of Lords . At the general election held in Dec. 1918 he lost his seat, after a bitter campaign, to the official candidate of the Liberal and Tory coalition; the Labour candidate was also ahead of him. Then in Dec. 1923 he was elected M.P. (Lib.) for Denbigh division , and was subsequently appointed a member of the panel of chairmen of committees in the House of Commons in 1926 . He resigned from Parliament in May 1929 because of ill health. During 1932 he became prominent and active in the discussions of the Presb. Church of Wales on formulating a parliamentary bill relating to the Church. He joined the Labour Party in 1936 but resigned in Dec. 1938 because he disagreed with the party's foreign policy. He d. 29 Apr. 1939 .

Ellis Davies worked hard and diligently in many spheres. His political activity was based on firm and single-minded radicalism. He had an alert and discerning mind, independent judgement and power of conviction. He read extensively and was endowed with a retentive memory. He contributed articles on politics, politicians and history to Welsh newspapers and periodicals; these testify to the breadth of his interests and the sureness of his thinking.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • newspaper articles;
  • the diaries and personal papers of Ellis Davies.

Author:

Professor Idris Llewelyn Foster, M.A., F.S.A., (1911-84), Oxford

Published date: 2001