Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DAVIES , THOMAS RHYS ( 1790 - 1859 ), Baptist minister ;

b. at Penwenallt , Kilgerran, Pembs. , 19 May 1790 , son of Dafydd Davis , Tre-fawr , Llanfyrnach . He was educated by Dafydd Stephen at the ‘ Capel Bach ,’ Llechryd ; by Walters , son of the parish priest of Llanfihangel-pen-bedw ; and at the school kept at Cardigan by Evan Jones ( 1777 - 1819 ) (q.v.) . He was baptized in the river Morgeneu in 1806 and began to preach in Dec. the same year. In 1811 he visited North Wales , where he preached at the Amlwch assembly . In 1812 , at the earnest request of Christmas Evans , he came to Llansantffraid Glan Conway and Rowen , but it was in his mother church at Cilfowyr, Pembs. , that he was ordained in 1814 . At that time there were only two churches in his circuit in North Wales . The total membership was thirty-five, scattered over twelve parishes, ‘but,’ he writes in a scrap of autobiography, ‘I used to preach in the houses of many of the farmers and common people, all doors being open to me, so that for some years I scarcely slept in the same bed two nights running, being engaged in constant labour. … And I have been in every lake and river and stream from Conway to Llansannan , from Llanrwst to Bontnewydd , from the sea at Llandudno to the mountain at Berwyn , consecrating their waters.’ In 1814 he m. Ann Foulks of Peniarth , Llandrillo-yn-Rhos , who was the daughter of wealthy parents, and, as a result of this marriage, he was able to advance money to a host of little churches founded by him in Flintshire and west Denbighshire to enable them to build chapels. In 1818 , following a quarrel with the church at Glanwydden (not far from Llandudno ) about some property, he severed his connection with the Baptists and joined the Wesleyans , but he returned to his old denomination in 1826 . He was at Glynceiriog ( 1827-9 ), Stanhope Road , Liverpool , where he erected a chapel ( 1829-35 ), and Kilgerran ( 1835-43 ). In 1843 he returned to North Wales and settled at Glanwydden . He was now able to devote himself to his favourite role of itinerant preacher , and it was while he was engaged in this capacity that he d. at Swansea , 26 June 1859 ; here he was buried in the same grave as Christmas Evans . He preached 13,145 times.


  • H. W. Hughes , Cofiant y diweddar Barch. Thomas Rees Davies, Glanwydden (Carmarthen, 1860) ;
  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig (1889-96) , iii, 268.


Reverend Lewis Edward Valentine, M.A., (1893-1986), Rhos

Published date: 1959