William Davies “Mynorydd” 1826 – 1901

Sculptor and musician

William Davies
William Davies was born at Glebeland, Merthyr Tydfil on the 26th January 1826; he was the son of Moses Davies. Moses was a master plasterer who is said to have travelled in England and Wales after completing his apprenticeship

At the age of 16 he entered the studio of Behnes in London, working also in the studios of leading sculptors. He was also assiduous in his literary and musical studies. A history of Welsh musicians in London contributed by him to the London Kelt appeared afterwards in Y Cerddor, 1895.

As a young man he attended singing classes arranged by John Thomas “Ieuan Ddu.” He then became leader of the Welsh Choral Society after Dan Jones.  As a sculptor he exhibited about 40 times at the Royal Academy. He made busts of many Welsh preachers, and statues, that of Thomas Charles of Bala, now in front of the Calvinistic Methodist chapel at Bala, being his work. He died 22 September 1901, and was buried in the West Hampstead cemetery.

Mary Davies, daughter (1855-1930) Singer

Mary was born in London, on the 27th February 1855. Her singing at the Welsh concerts in the capital brought her into prominence while she was still young; her first teachers were Henry Brinley Richards and Megan Watts Hughes. She joined the Welsh Choral Union which was then under the conductorship of John Thomas “Pencerdd Gwalia”, and, in 1873 won a scholarship, given by the Union, to the Royal Academy of Music; this was originally tenable for three years but, owing to her success in the Academy, was extended to five.

She made her first professional appearance as a singer at a concert organized by Brinley Richards   in 1873; the same year she appeared at the national eisteddfod at Mold and at the Harlech music festival. She became celebrated and her services were in demand for leading parts in the complete works of the masters as well as for concerts at S. James’s Hall, London, and the Hallé, Manchester. In 1888 she married W. Cadwaladr Davies, registrar of University College, Bangor, and after his death in 1905 went to live in London. In 1906 she took the lead in founding the Welsh Folk Song Society, of which she was elected president. In 1916 the University of Wales conferred on her the honorary degree of Music. Doc. and in 1929 she was awarded the medal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion for her services to music. She died 22nd June 1930 and was buried in her husband’s grave in Glanadda cemetery, Bangor.