DAVIES, OWEN (1719 - 1792), Independent minister

Name: Owen Davies

Date of birth: 1719

Date of death: 1792

Gender : Male

Occupation: Independent minister

Area of activity: Religion

Author: John Oliver Stephens

Born in a small cottage, where there was a fulling mill, on the Erwyon estate near Ffald-y-brenin, Carmarthenshire. As a young man he joined the Independent church at Crofft-y-cyff, began to preach at the age of 24, was ordained there in 1743, and laboured there acceptably as minister and schoolmaster until 1765, when he was called to Capel y Graig, Tre-lech, Carmarthenshire. There, he was very successful for over twenty years.

In 1787 dissension broke out in Glandŵr church, Pembrokeshire, concerning both doctrine and discipline. Some were of the opinion that the minister, John Griffiths (1731 — 1811), was too much of a Calvinist. Seventeen members who showed a tendency to Arminianism were excommunicated by Griffiths. Owen Davies considered the discipline inflicted too severe and indicated that he was prepared to take them into his church at Tre-lech. The congregation, however, opposed this, although there was never any suggestion that he himself was inclined to anti- Calvinist views. A few left the church with him and he preached to them at his own house at Dinas. In 1787, when Rhyd-y-parc chapel was built, between Tre-lech and St Clears, and about nine miles from the latter place, he took over the ministry there and remained there until his death, 6 July 1792. The congregation gradually became Arians and then Unitarians. Towards the end of his life he showed a desire to heal the breach. He expressed a wish to be buried in the graveyard at Capel y Graig, and this was done although a grave had been opened for him at Rhyd-y-parc. A new chapel was erected at Rhyd-y-parc in 1860 when Titus Evans was minister, but the congregation diminished and it was closed in the nineties.