Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CADWALADR , DAFYDD ( 1752 - 1834 ), Calvinistic Methodist preacher .

Second son of Cadwaladr and Catherine Dafydd , of Erw Ddinmael , Llangwm, Denbs. ; the family had lived on the holding for generations, and was typical of the region, delighting in ‘interludes’ and knitting-meetings . Dafydd was himself a versifier in his youth, but had to teach himself reading by noting the letters on sheeps’ backs and then picking his way through the Prayer Book ; he became a great reader and was wont to recite the Bardd Cwsc and the Pilgrim's Progress at the knitting-meetings . After being a farm boy in several places, he became ( c. 1771 ) a servant at Fedw Arian , Bala , under the preacher William Evans , who had already attracted him to Methodism .

About 1777 he m. Judith Humphreys (or ‘ Erasmus ; she d. c . 1795-6 ). Of his nine children, the four sons d. before him; two of the daughters were Elizabeth Davis ‘of Balaclava ’ and Bridget ( 1795? - 1878 ), who was maid to lady Llanover in London and at Llanover , and is buried at ‘ Capel Ed ’ near Llanover ( Cylch. Cymd. Hanes M.C. , June 1918 ); they were b. at Penrhiw , a farm which Dafydd Cadwaladr rented from the Rev. Simon Lloyd .

About 1780 he began preaching . He knew his Bible by heart; his daughter tells us that he composed his sermons while knitting ‘very fast’; and as he was an untiring walker (even to London ) he became a favourite preacher throughout Wales . He was a great friend of Thomas Charles , and published elegies on the death of Mr. and Mrs. Charles ( Ehediadau y Meddwl , Bala , 1816 ). He d. 9 July 1834 ; he was buried at Llanycil .

Practically everything written on Dafydd Cadwaladr derives ultimately from the anonymous Ychydig Gofnodau ar … Dafydd Cadwaladr , Bala , 1836 ; but there are also sidelights upon him and upon his environment in his daughter Elizabeth 's autobiography.


  • Ychydig gofnodau am fywyd a marwolaeth Dafydd Cadwaladr, yr hwn a fu farw Gorphenaf 9, 1834, wedi bod yn bregethwr llafurus ym mysg y Trefnyddion Calfinaidd 52 mlynedd (Bala, 1836).


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959