SAUNDERS, DAVID 'II' (Dafydd Glan Teifi; 1769 - 1840), Baptist minister, poet, and writer

Name: David Saunders
Pseudonym: Dafydd Glan Teifi
Date of birth: 1769
Date of death: 1840
Spouse: Catherine Saunders
Spouse: Margaret Saunders
Child: Thomas Saunders
Parent: Elinor Saunders
Parent: Thomas Saunders
Gender: Male
Occupation: Baptist minister, poet, and writer
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Poetry; Religion
Author: Benjamin George Owens

Born January 1769, at Undergrove, Lampeter, son of Thomas and Elinor Saunders, grandson of Evan Saunders, and nephew of David Saunders 'I', both preachers at Aberduar, Carmarthenshire. He was educated at local schools, including that of Dafydd Jones, Dol-wlff, Llanwenog, and was baptised by Timothy Thomas, Aberduar, in July 1784. His family were well-to-do, and he is named among the first burgesses to be admitted at Lampeter after the grant of the new charter in 1814. He began to preach at Aberduar in 1796, was ordained co-pastor of the church 22 October 1800, moved to Zion, Merthyr Tydfil, 13 July 1815, 'without our consent,' says Aberduar book (copy in NLW MS 10785C ) because of the great popularity he enjoyed at Aberduar, and died at Merthyr 4 February 1840. He was buried at Zion. His ministry at Merthyr Tydfil was a great success, and he is recorded to have baptized 510 persons there in the period 1816-36.

He married (1), 23 June 1815, Margaret Jenkins, a widow, of Dol-wlff, Llanwenog. Their only child, Thomas, was born 19 August 1816. She died April 1817, Thomas was lost in the docks at Bristol, 12 October 1837, and Thomas's infant daughter, Mary, was buried at Zion, 12 September 1837, aged 10 months; (2), 9 June 1829, Catherine Joseph, also a widow, of Merthyr Tydfil (died 1841?). His will (dated 29 March 1838, proved 30 March 1840) refers to property at Merthyr Tydfil and mentions his wife Catherine; his brother John; his son Thomas ('who is missing and reputed to be dead'); his sisters Mary, Sarah, Elinor, and Gwen; another sister Martha, deceased, and her children, Thomas Morgan and Mary Evans; and his niece Elinor Lloyd.

Saunders is best remembered for his literary work. His exercises and notes in NLW MS 3260B indicate that he was versed in Welsh strict metres, and much of his poetry was published, e.g. Ychydig a Bennillion Profiadol yn cynnwys Griddfaniad Hiraethlawn Dafydd Saunders, 1815; Dwy Awdl: y gyntaf or Elusengarwch, … yr ail, ar Farwolaeth Syr Thomas Picton, 1820; Awdl ar Fordaith yr Apostol Paul … at yr hyn yr ychwanegwyd ychydig o hymnau newyddion, 1828; and elegies on Samuel Breeze, Newcastle Emlyn, 1812; Zecharias Thomas, Aberduar (2nd ed.), 1816; and Joseph Harris (Gomer, 1826). It was only through the intercession of Iolo Morganwg that Saunders's ode to Picton was included in Awen Dyfed (1822), a compilation of the most notable compositions presented to the Carmarthen eisteddfod of 1819, among them examples commemorating the hero of Waterloo (making no mention, in the case of Saunders's attempt, of his controversial tenure of the civil governorship of Trinidad). In a letter to Saunders, Iolo revealed that he had instructed him in the use of the strict metres in this poem and, furthermore, interceded on his behalf to ensure that it be included in the publication, even though, by giving his real name rather than the stipulated pseudonym, Saunders had breached one of the competition's conditions. Outside the secular sphere, a number of Saunders's hymns were published by Joseph Harris in Casgliad o Hymnau, 1821, and other poetical works by him are preserved in his own hand in NLW MS 791B , NLW MSS 7141-2A . His theological publications include three volumes of comments on infant baptism published in the period 1821-2 in reply to Thomas Powel, Brecon, another volume of comments (Ychydig o Nodiadau) on a treatise by R. Wright (1816), and three Welsh translations of works by Abraham Booth (1810), John Fawcett (1826), and Thomas Westlake (1828). Sermon notes by him are preserved in NLW MSS 7141-2A , a letter (1817) in NLW MS 7165D , and another letter (1807; published in Spinther, iv, 403-4) of considerable importance in Cwrtmawr MS 818E giving an account of his Baptist mission at Deptford.


Published date: 1959

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