Born 23 August 1765 at Blaen Trothy in Grosmont parish (Mon.), he was a son of Edward Davies, farmer, and his wife Judith. After his schooldays at Llangattock-Lingoed, and a short period in a lawyer's office, he was for fifteen years a weaver. His marriage (1796) was unhappy, and he became a pedlar; after his wife's death he lived at Usk, where he kept a small shop till 1812; in that year he became schoolmaster at Usk, but in 1815 opened a school at Devauden. He was at all times completely unworldly; his removal to Devauden meant exchanging a guaranteed stipend for a precarious livelihood, but throughout his long residence there he was a generous giver, subscribed to religious and educational societies, and freely distributed Bibles and other books at his own expense. His ideas of education were those of his day, and being a hot-tempered man he was a stern disciplinarian. His main interests, indeed, seem to have been religious rather than educational in the strict sense, and his school-house eventually became a chapel-of-ease, of which he was clerk; a new school was built, which bore the name ‘The James Davies School.’ In 1848 he returned ‘to Llangattock-Lingoed, and took over the school there, though he was then 83 years of age. He died at Llangattock 2 October 1849.
Published date: 1959
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