DAVIES, STEPHEN (died 1794), who revived the defunct 17th century Baptist church at Carmarthen

Name: Stephen Davies
Date of death: 1794
Gender: Male
Occupation: revived the defunct 17th century Baptist church at Carmarthen
Area of activity: Religion
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

The labours of Enoch Francis had settled a branch of the Newcastle Emlyn Baptist church at Ffynnonhenry (Llanpumpsaint), and Davies, a son-in-law of his, was a member there. In 1757, Davies rented a dwelling-house in Priory Street, Carmarthen, for holding occasional preaching services, as some of the members of Ffynnonhenry lived in the town. In 1765, Davies opened a linen-draper's shop in the town, and came to live there - in Lammas Street; and in 1768 (Joshua Thomas, Hist. Bapt. Assoc., 62) Ffynnonhenry and Priory Street were incorporated as a single church. In 1775 some members wished to have Stephen Davies ordained co-pastor, but there was so much opposition that a schism arose. Davies's opponents removed to the old Priory - this was the congregation which afterwards became the Dark Gate church, now at Tabernacle chapel. But Davies and his party kept their hold on the Priory Street meeting-place, and also on Tŷ Coch in Llangynog parish, and duly ordained Davies as their pastor - not before 1778, however (Joshua Thomas, op. cit., 67), did the Baptist Association grant them formal incorporation. A chapel was built in Priory Street in 1786 - -the predecessor of the present Penuel. But in 1792 Davies was dismissed by his church. Some (J.T. J., i, 112) attribute this to his failure in business; David Jones (Bed. Deheubarth, 444) to a dispute concerning moneys collected for building the chapel. It is perhaps easier to believe (David Jones, op. cit., 443) that personal clashes were the cause: Stephen Davies's former pastor Daniel Davies (1756 - 1837) testifies that he was a good man, but that he could not brook opposition - he describes him as a strongly-built man who dressed well, with powdered wig, a public figure of consequential appearance and aristocratic manners. Nor, in view of what happened at Priory Street in 1799 (see under Watkins, Joshua), should we disregard the hint given by William Richards of Lynn (1749 - 1818) that there were doctrinal differences within the church (see Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru, 1930, 35-6). Davies died in 1794 and was buried in Ffynnonhenry burial ground.


Published date: 1959

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