Richard Davies in consequence became a notable figure in politics. Those were the days when Welsh Radical Nonconformists were becoming increasingly eager to displace the older Tory and Anglican supremacy. Davies 's wealth seemed to mark him out as Liberal candidate for the Caernarvon boroughs at the election of 1852 (full account by Owen Parry in the volume Er Clod , ed. by T . Richards , 1934 , 135-50). The seat was an old-established Tory preserve, under the thumb of neighbouring magnates, and Davies was beaten by 93 votes — yet the election was a landmark in the political history of Wales in the 19th cent. Davies 's success was to come later, at the historic election of 1868 , when he stood for Anglesey . The Radical tide was by this time flowing fast, and the Bulkeleys (q.v.) of Baron Hill ( Beaumaris ), who in person or by nominee had monopolized the seat from time immemorial, deemed it prudent to decline a contest. Davies retained the seat till 1886 , when he retired, being opposed to the proposal for Irish Home Rule . He was not (as is often said) the first Nonconformist M.P. in Wales , for Walter Coffin (q.v.) had won Cardiff in 1852 , and Davies had two Nonconformist colleagues in 1868 . But he was Anglesey 's first Nonconformist J.P. and its first Nonconformist Lord-Lieutenant , 1884 . Richard Davies , though an able man and a liberal but careful benefactor, particularly to Bangor Normal College and to the ‘British’ schools, is perhaps important rather as a symbolic figure than on personal grounds. As he (and his family) exemplified the new free-trade economic order, so also in politics he, like his colleague David Williams ( 1799 - 1869 — see under Williams of Bron Eryri ) in Merioneth , became an almost legendary symbol of the new Liberal Nonconformist middle class, whose ascendancy in Wales was to last into the present century. He m., 1855 , Anne , daughter of Henry Rees (q.v.) , and had several children, one of whom was Henry Rees Davies (q.v.) . At one time he lived at Bwlch-y-fen , but afterwards at Treborth , opposite Menai Bridge . He d. 27 Oct. 1896 at Treborth ; he was buried in Llandysilio churchyard.
Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor
Published date: 1959