Second son of Cadwaladr and Catherine Dafydd, of Erw Ddinmael, Llangwm, Denbighshire; the family had lived on the holding for generations, and was typical of the region, delighting in ‘interludes’ and knitting-meetings. Dafydd was himself a versifier in his youth, but had to teach himself reading by noting the letters on sheeps’ backs and then picking his way through the Prayer Book; he became a great reader and was wont to recite the Bardd Cwsc and the Pilgrim's Progress at the knitting-meetings. After being a farm boy in several places, he became (c. 1771) a servant at Fedw Arian, Bala, under the preacher William Evans, who had already attracted him to Methodism.
About 1777 he married Judith Humphreys (or ‘Erasmus’; she died c. 1795-6). Of his nine children, the four sons died before him; two of the daughters were Elizabeth Davis ‘of Balaclava’ and Bridget (1795? - 1878), who was maid to lady Llanover in London and at Llanover, and is buried at ‘Capel Ed’ near Llanover (Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd, June 1918); they were born at Penrhiw, a farm which Dafydd Cadwaladr rented from the Rev. Simon Lloyd.
About 1780 he began preaching. He knew his Bible by heart; his daughter tells us that he composed his sermons while knitting ‘very fast’; and as he was an untiring walker (even to London) he became a favourite preacher throughout Wales. He was a great friend of Thomas Charles, and published elegies on the death of Mr. and Mrs. Charles (Ehediadau y Meddwl, Bala, 1816). He died 9 July 1834; he was buried at Llanycil.
Practically everything written on Dafydd Cadwaladr derives ultimately from the anonymous Ychydig Gofnodau ar … Dafydd Cadwaladr, Bala, 1836; but there are also sidelights upon him and upon his environment in his daughter Elizabeth's autobiography.
Published date: 1959
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