Davies, Francis (DNB00)

DAVIES, FRANCIS (1605–1675), bishop of Llandaff, was a native of Glamorganshire, who at the age of seventeen entered Jesus College, Oxford, where he proceeded B.A. on 26 Feb. 1625, and M.A. on 14 March 1628. He was elected to a fellowship and proceeded B.D. in 1640. He left Oxford and became rector of Llangan, and possibly vicar of Pentyrch as well, both benefices being in his native county. A staunch royalist and high churchman, he was ejected from his livings because he would not ‘read the directory nor otherwise conform to the times.’ But ‘his great piety, learning, and excellent parts commended him to one of the leading men of those times,’ and he was allowed a pension of one-fourth of his living, and his own brother was made the tenant of it. He also eked out his means by keeping a school, but after a few years ‘the great man grew weary in well doing,’ and Davies was forced away to London, where his friends procured for him the post of chaplain to the Countess of Peterborough, a position he held for three or four years. After the Restoration he regained possession of his old benefice, and in August 1660 petitioned for the archdeaconry of Llandaff on the ground of his ejection ‘for trying to maintain his majesty's cause and that of the church’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, p. 219). Sheldon endorsed the petition in his favour, and Davies became archdeacon in October. On 21 May 1661 he took the degree of D.D. As archdeacon he was able to retaliate on the ejected puritan clergy, and he was largely responsible for the ‘frequent imprisonments and great sufferings’ of Samuel Jones, a former brother fellow of Jesus, and now the ejected vicar of Llangynwyd; but as in 1665 he joined with the bishop in pressing Jones to accept a living, he does not seem to have been a very rancorous persecutor (Calamy, Nonconf. Memorial, iii. 501–2). In 1667 Davies was made bishop of Llandaff. He was consecrated on 24 Aug. As bishop he devoted himself exclusively to the quiet administration of his see. As he held nothing with his bishopric but one prebend of the cathedral in commendam (Le Neve, ii. 267), he must have been very poor. He found means, however, to establish a small library in connection with the cathedral to replace one destroyed during the civil wars, and to procure the fifth and largest bell that the cathedral possessed. He was celebrated for the liberality he showed to his needy kinsfolk, ‘of which sort he had a great many.’ Like many of the Anglican bishops of the period, he never seems to have married. He is described as a ‘pious, primitive, good man.’ He was a zealous preacher, and fasted so frequently and rigidly that it was said that he appropriately ended a life of Lents by dying in Lent. The date of his death was 14 March 1675, and he was buried within the altar rails of his cathedral.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 849, and Fasti, pt. i. pp. 414, 431, 515, pt. ii. p. 256; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 254, 260, 267; Browne Willis's Survey of Llandaff, pp. 18, 32, 69, 72, on the authority of the bishop's nephew and namesake; Calamy's Nonconformist's Memorial, iii. 501; Calendar State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, and 1667; Kennet's Register and Chronicle, p. 316; Walker's Sufferings, pt. ii. p. 235; Salmon's English Bishops.]

T. F. T.