Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DAVIES , JAMES ( Iago ap Dewi ; 1800 - 1869 ), printer and poet .

Born near Pencader, Carms. , he received no educational advantages when a child, and spent his youth as a farm labourer . He joined the Pencader Congregational church . At about 20, he forsook farming , and became an apprentice with John Evans , printer , Carmarthen , of the Seren Gomer office. Here he met kindred spirits with a love for the muse, e.g. W. E. Jones ( Gwilym Cawrdaf ) and William Thomas ( Gwilym Mai , 1807 - 1872 ) , and together they developed their knowledge of cynghanedd and of the free metres. About 1840 Davies left Carmarthen to join Josiah Thomas Jones 's (q.v.) printing office at Cowbridge , and for the rest of his life remained a faithful and trustworthy printer with J. T. Jones , removing with him to Carmarthen in 1842 , and to Aberdare in 1854 .

He was a constant competitor in poetical subjects at the local eisteddfodau , but does not seem to have had much success in capturing prizes; the nearest occasion was when he came second with his awdl on ‘ Caethiwed ’ (Slavery in the West Indies ) at the Carmarthen Cymreigyddion eisteddfod . He published numerous poems in Welsh denominational magazines, e.g. Seren Gomer , Yr Efangylydd ( Llandovery ), Y Drysorfa Gynulleidfaol ( Carmarthen ), Y Gwron under its various names ( Cowbridge , Carmarthen , and Aberdare ), etc. His poem ‘ Llinellau ar y Gwlaw Dymunol a Gafwyd ar ôl Hir Sychder, Gorffenaf 6, 7, 8, 1826 ,’ was published in Seren Gomer for Aug. 1826 , and republished on a similar occasion in 1844 . He published his poems under the title Myfyrdodau Barddonol in 1858 . One of his hymns was included in Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol , 1895 . He died 16 April 1869 .

His son DAVID DAVIES (‘ Dewi ab Iago ’), who died in 1913, was a great help to Rhys Evans and to religious music in Siloa chapel , Aberdare .


  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , ii, 662;
  • Ben Morus , Enwogion Aberdâr (1910) ;
  • D. Silyn Evans , Bywgraffiad y Diweddar Barch. David Price, Siloa, Aberdâr (Aberdâr, 1896) ;
  • Cardiff Free Libraries: Catalogue of Printed Literature in the Welsh Department (1898) .


Watkin William Price, M.A., (1873-1967), Aberdare

Published date: 1959