Born 16 May 1894, son of William L.T. and M.L. (née Brown) Davies of Chester. He was a great-grandson of Samuel Davies ‘the first’, a Methodist minister and his wife Mary (née Twiston). Out of respect for his great-grandfather, he wrote The Rev. Samuel Davies (the first) and his times (1932), which is an English version of the Welsh biography (1866). He was educated at Charterhouse and Liverpool University. He married (1), in 1918, Mary Powell but the marriage was annulled; and (2), in 1924, Dorothy Savile Jackson of Brougton Park, Manchester; they had two sons and a daughter.
He spent two years with the Imperial Tobacco Co. and then three years in the army (1915-1918), when he was seriously wounded and discharged with the honorary title of captain. After farming in Herefordshire till 1924, he moved to Rockfield Park, Monmouth, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was high sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1933; a member of Monmouthshire county council for many years, president of Monmouthshire Council for Rural Communities; justice of the peace; and active in many other spheres in the county. But he was more interested in the national institutions of Wales. He served as chairman of the Council for Social Services for Wales, as vice-commissioner of the St. John's Ambulance in Wales, and as a member of the court of the University of Wales. His service and generosity to both the National Library and National Museum of Wales were very remarkable. He was treasurer of the National Library of Wales and its vice-president when he died. He was president of the National Museum and the main instigator in establishing the department of Rural Life (1936) which led to the creation of the National Folk Museum (1947) (now Museum of Welsh Life) at St. Fagans. He made very many gifts to the Library and the Museum; he also worked hard and successfully to raise the levels of salaries in both establishments. In his last years he represented the Museum and the Library on the Standing Commission for British Museums and Art Galleries. In 1937 he was awarded an O.B.E. and knighted (K.B.E.) in 1939. He served as Deputy Lieutenant of Monmouthshire, was a F.S.A. and received an honorary LL.D. of the University of Wales in 1947. Among his publications are Men of Monmouthshire (1933); (with Averil Edwards) Women of Wales (1935); Welsh life in the eighteenth century (1939); (with Herbert Lloyd-Johnes) Welsh furniture: an introduction (1950). He died 8 January 1953.
Published date: 2001
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