Born at Wrexham, a twin son of Owen Davies, tailor. In his youth, he went to London and thence to Brentford, where he became a Wesleyan Methodist and married a Mrs. Hemans, a widow whose son Thomas entered the Methodist ministry. In due course, he returned to London and began to visit the workhouses of the city and to preach. At the request of John Wesley, conveyed to him by Thomas Olivers, he entered the ministry himself, probably in 1788, and ‘travelled’ on several English circuits before becoming superintendent of the Redruth circuit in 1798 and chairman of the Redruth district. In August 1800, after some hesitation, he accepted the invitation of the Wesleyan Methodist conference to superintend the Welsh Mission, and he and John Hughes (1776 - 1843) made Ruthin their headquarters. After superintending the mission for sixteen years, and as a result of the financial and administrative changes made by the conference, he left Wales to become superintendent of the Liverpool circuit. Within a year, however, failing health compelled him to become a supernumerary, and after a short illness he died, 12 January 1830. He was buried near the entrance to Brunswick Methodist chapel, Liverpool.
Davies was never able either to write or preach in Welsh; he was somewhat loth to surrender some of his wide authority to his colleagues ‘travelling’ in South Wales; and his policy of encouraging the building of numerous chapels in the early years of the mission was possibly a little too adventurous. But he had tact, charm of personality, and considerable administrative ability; he took a leading part in defending Arminianism against the attacks levelled against it by the Calvinists; and he probably did more than any other person to lay securely the foundations of the Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Published date: 1959
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