Born 18 January 1897 in Glynceiriog, Denbighshire, only son of Isaac Davies, Presb. minister, and his wife. His father moved to Rhyd-ddu, then to Bryn-rhos, and finally to Bangor. The son was educated at Caernarfon county school and Friars School, Bangor. He gained a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, but his studies were interrupted by the war. Having registered as a conscientious objector, he served as an agricultural worker in Llŷn. Whilst there he began to preach at South Beach church, Pwllheli. After the war he returned to Oxford, where he gained a sec- ond class in classics, ancient history and philosophy, and a first class in theology. He gained a B.D. degree for research work, becoming the first Nonconformist to return to Wales with this Oxford degree. He was a scholar of his college and was offered a Fellowship and an appointment as tutor of theology at the University. But since he was intent on being a Presbyterian minister he could not accept their terms which required that he become a member of the Church of England.
In 1923 he was ordained, and he served his ministry in the churches of Shirland Rd., London (1923-26), and Cathedral Rd., Cardiff (1926-28). In 1925 he married Margaret Evelyn Palmer and they had a son. He was appointed professor of the history of religions and the philosophy of religion in 1928 at the Theological College, Aberystwyth, but resigned in 1933 following some unfortunate events. It became apparent that his mind was disturbed, and he displayed a split personality for the rest of his life. He moved from place to place and lived at Neath and Machynlleth, and he also lived in one or two other districts as a member of staff on the weekly newspaper, Y Cymro. He had charge of the churches in the pastorate of Llangadfan, Montgomeryshire, but the few months he spent with them proved calamitous. Eventually he moved to Llandrindod Wells, where Ithon Road church gave him the opportunity to recover. He died there 7 July. 1969. His friends and admirers raised a fund to place a monument on his grave.
W.D. Davies had a pleasant personality, he was a first-class scholar and a powerful preacher. He possessed particular qualifications required to meet the needs of the mid-twentieth century. He excelled also as an author who could readily draw upon all sources of learning and literature. He published some books on religious topics, namely Cristnogaeth a meddwl yr oes (1932), Datblygiad Duw (1934), and a penetrating and highly readable handbook on the Epistle to the Ephesians (1933). During his ‘itinerant’ period he took an interest in writing essays and poems — this is when he began to call himself W.D.P. Davies, though no-one knew what ‘P’ stood for. [He said ‘P’ was for ‘Pechadur’ (sinner), but it may have derived from his wife's maiden name.] He published Y diafol i dalu (1948), and Tannau telyn crwydrol (1953). Presbyterianism, and Wales in general, suffered a deep loss from the dualism which wrecked his personality.
Published date: 2001
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