D. P. Davies, J.P., Ynyslwyd 1843-1921

D. P. Davies

The death occurred last, Friday of Mr. D. P. Davies, J.P., Ynyslwyd. He was 78 years of age, having, being born in 1843, the son of Mr. Griffith Davies, J.P., of whom much has appeared in the “Leader” from time to time in connection with items dealing with old Aberdare. Mr D. P. Davies had been failing in health for some time, and it was some months since he sat at Aberdare Police Court, where he was the senior magistrate. He leaves a widow and three children: Mr Griffith T. Davies, solicitor; Mrs Jones wife of Mr Ll. Jones, dentist (of Aberdare), Pontypridd; and Mrs Neville Pugh, a third daughter died some years ago.

The deceased was by birth and conviction a staunch Nonconformist, and he had occupied the position of deacon, there at Siloh Welsh Congregational Church for over 40 years. As a matter of fact, he was a deacon there when the Rev. D. Silyn Evans, became pastor. Right up to his recent illness he and Mrs Davies were regular attendants at the Sunday services.

No man in Aberdare gave so much time and energy to public services as did Mr. Davies in the years that are gone. He was a member of every public body and took a deep interest in the affairs of every one of them.

Before the Aberdare District Council came into being be was member and vice-chairman of the old Local Board of Health. The chairman in those days was the late Mr. Rees Hopkyn Rhys. He (Mr Davies) became chairman later of the Urban District Council. Of the Aberdare School Board, he was a keen and interested member, de-voting to the question of education much thought and attention.

The Town Ward elected him a member of the Glamorgan County Council, which body elected him as alderman of the county. Mr. Davies also represented Aberdare on the Merthyr Board of Guardians for many years, while he also served on the Truant School Committee at Quaker’s Yard and the Merthyr and Aberdare Farms Committee, and the Merthyr Assessment Committee. He had the affairs of all these bodies on his fingertips and showed a great mastery over the intricate matters which came before those authorities from time to time.

In 1896, when there was an Inquiry at Pontypridd re-taking a portion of Aberdare Parish and adding it to Llanwonno Parish Mr Davies was called as a witness for Aberdare, and his evidence on that occasion, and the clever and keen manner in which he countered the opposing counsel, was of much value to the cause of Aberdare.

Speaking to a friend just before his death, the late Rees Hopkin Rhys remarked that there was no one so well-qualified to take his place as chairman of the various public bodies as Mr D. P. Davies. There was perhaps, one important difference in the conduct of those two servants. Mr Rhys was very enterprising, while Mr D. P. Davies was some what over cautious in matters of public expenditure. He had a cool judgement and a rare keenness of insight.

In politics he was a Liberal. In the, election of 1868 he materially assisted to ensure the return of Mr. Henry Richard. He was later a firm supporter of Mr D. A. Thomas and joined the campaign against Mr. Balfour’s Education Act.

Any movement started in Aberdare back 40-50 years ago was not complete without Mr. D. P. Davies, who took a leading part in all the towns affairs. He even took as active interest in the Old Aberdare Debating Society, which met as the court room, Temperance Hall. In the Mock Parliament Mr. D. P. Davies was the Speaker, and Mr Charles Kenshole the Leader of the House. Another man who took a part died recently – the Bishop of Glasgow.

Coming to later years, when the members of the “old school” fell off from the Council one by one Mr Davies less authority. He was, very, sensitive. If he were defeated or rebuffed, he would say little or nothing, but he was touched to the quick. His defeat in the District Council election, Blaengwawr Ward, some fifteen years ago, was a severe blow to him, but a few years later he obtained a seat in the Town Ward, running in double harness with Mr A. P. Jones. He retired voluntarily from the representation a few years ago. Mr Davies was a large ground landlord, being owner of the Ynyslwyd Estate.

The interment took place on Tuesday at the Aberdare Cemetery. The Rev. D. Silyn Evans, Siloa, officiated. The mourners were:
First coach: Messrs. Griffith T. Davies, son; Neville Pugh, son-in-law, Llewelyn Jones, son-in-law; and D. Price
Second coach: T. Richards, D. W Jones, J.P., Rev. D. Silyn Evans, and Dr. Isaac Banks.
Third coach: Messrs G. T. Sims, Owen Williams, Major David, London, and J. D. Thomas.
Fourth coach: Messrs. Ernst D. Williams, George Howells, D. W. Price, and W. J. Evans.
The undertakers were Messrs. John Morgan and Sons (Aberdare) Ltd.

An Appreciation
(By His Minster)

Mr D. P. Davies was a strong personality, with a strong reputation and a strong character. We may look upon him as an outstanding figure during the last fifty years in Aberdare and in the county of Glamorgan. He had his education as a lay student in the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, a training that added greatly to his equipment for public life.

There was much of the Puritanism of old in his nature and character. In his theology he was a decided Calvinist; but in his discipline he was a Puritan. He was not at all a man of fits and irregularities. He was always a man of evidence and orderliness; consistent and steady. He spent his whole, lifetime a Nonconformist and a Congregationalist and was a Conservative-Liberal in politics. He attended the same place of worship since his very boyhood with his noted mother and sat in the same seat in his chapel until the end, he is wife and son. His daughters have identified themselves with other Congregational Churches.

He was quite free from assumption and self-advertisement, a man never forced himself on others. He was inclined to hide and not to assert the good qualities of his nature, and was very often, owing to his caution and reservedness, wrongly interpreted. He was always weighed and measured his words, and carefully and clearly reasoned out his point, as if he solved the problem in Euclid.

So, he was on the Bench in public, in the church, and in his home. Clearness and exactness and pointedness were his leading words. He had much delicateness and sensitiveness about him, yet he always maintained self-control. He never did anything in haste. Even his friendship was not given and won by fits and starts. He was a thinker and a reasoner and thus he studied politics, and acquitted himself in social life, and served his Great Master.

He had a rich and varied store of knowledge, which he had gathered more through keen observation than through hard reading. In this respect, as in every other aspect of him, he was much greater than he appeared. He loved nature like Ruskin, its ruggedness and its oldness. He preferred old trees than new ones. Anyone could see him from the character of the trees around Ynyslwyd the character of the man inside. “Old, yet, ever new.”

He died in Junes in his 78, the month of sunshine and flowers, and singing of the birds.

Then rest, strong man, in God who gave
Thee life and blessing; wealth and power
I bring the tribute of a flower And plant it on thy silent; grave

Back to Aberaman