Born at Old Parr's Cottage, near Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, March 1859. Whilst he was still a child the family removed to Brecon. Apprenticed for seven years to the printing and publishing business, he wrote constantly to the local press, particularly on temperance, of which he was a strong advocate. He became foreman of the printing and newspaper business in which he had been apprenticed, and, subsequently, acquired the business. He became its manager-editor and edited and published the newspaper, Brecon and Radnor County Times, for twelve years. He married Hannah Eleanor Blissett (died February 1929) and had seven sons and four daughters. In later years he used his wife's surname (Blissett) in the style of his business, Blissett Davies and Co. His most important and permanent contribution to the literature of Wales was his reissue, in some cases with considerable and valuable additions, of out-of-print Welsh county histories. These included two editions of A History of the County of Brecknock, by Theophilus Jones (a reprint, two vols. in one, 1898, and the ‘Glanusk edition,’ four vols., 1909-30, of which Davies edited and published vols. i-iii); The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan, by Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, 1907; A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire, by Richard Fenton, 1903; and An Historical Tour of Monmouthshire, by Archdeacon William Coxe, 1904. He also compiled, edited, and published A General History of the County of Radnor, from the manuscript notes of Jonathan Williams and other sources, 1905, of which R. Mason, of Tenby, had published a much abridged edition in 1859. Other important works published by Davies were The Birds of Breconshire, by E. C. Phillips, 1899; Theophilus Jones, F.S.A., historian: his life, letters, and literary remains (ed. by E.D.), 1905; and Parochial registers and records: being transcripts from parish documents, compiled by E.D., 1906. He died at his residence, Dinas Lodge, Brecon, 7 February 1919, and was buried in the Brecon cemetery.
Davies was an industrious collector of material relating to county history. He amassed a huge collection of documents and other records and ensured their preservation. Owing to a lack of training in archaeological and historical methods, he was unable, however, to make the best use of the material at his command. Nevertheless, all who take an interest in the records of Wales of long ago, particularly those of the counties of Brecknock and Radnor, owe it to Edwin Davies that so much invaluable information has been preserved.
Published date: 1959
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