DAVIES, DANIEL JOHN (1885 - 1970), Independent minister and poet

Name: Daniel John Davies
Date of birth: 1885
Date of death: 1970
Spouse: Enid Davies (née Jones)
Parent: Ann Davies
Parent: John Morris Davies
Gender: Male
Occupation: Independent minister and poet
Area of activity: Eisteddfod; Poetry; Religion
Author: Iorwerth Jones

Born 2 September 1885, at Waunfelen, a cottage in Pentregalar, Crymych, Pembrokeshire, a son of John Morris and Ann Davies. When his father was killed in a rail accident at Boncath station, his mother and her three sons moved to a house named Tŷ-canol, but the mother and the two brothers died soon after and the orphaned boy went to live with his mother's sister at Aberdyfnant, Llanfyrnach. There he was influenced by O.R. Owen, the minister of Glandŵr Independent chapel. He started to preach there at Whitsun, 1906. After a period at Old College School at Carmarthen he took an honours course in Hebrew at University College, Cardiff and graduated in 1913, followed by a theological course at the Memorial College, Brecon. The authorities at Brecon had prevented him from taking Welsh as his main subject at Cardiff. Despite this he won the chair twice at the college eisteddfod. He was ordained at Capel Als, Llanelli, in 1916 - a staunch pacifist in the middle of the Great War. He held strong radical views, politically and theologically, but he was no Boanerges. During his ministry six of the young men of Capel Als entered the ministry, one as a missionary who worked in Sudan.

He won the cywydd competition four times at the national eisteddfod. R. Williams Parry said of his poem Ffynnon Fair that he knew of no one who could write so easily and so effortlessly within the restrictions of cynghanedd. He was second to Gwenallt in the chair competition the year before winning in 1932 for his ode ‘Mam’ at the Aberavon National Eisteddfod in a competition of high quality. He adjudicated frequently at the national eisteddfod and he composed a number of acceptable hymns. He published a collection of his poetry, Cywyddau a chaniadau eraill in 1968. He held classes in cynghanedd in Llanelli.

Although he was shy by nature, he became one of the leaders of his denomination; he was shrewd and wise with an unforced sense of humour and a pleasing personality. He was elected to the chair of the Union of Welsh Independents and his address from the chair was published in the Union's annual report for 1957. He was one of the editors of the Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol which was published in 1960. He retired from his ministry at Capel Als in 1958. He died 4 June 1970. His ashes were buried in Glandŵr cemetery. His likeable and talented wife, Enid, was the daughter of D. Stanley Jones, minister of the Independent chapel at Caernarfon.

Author

Published date: 2001

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