Davies, J. H. (John Humphreys), 1871-1926.

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Davies, J. H. (John Humphreys), 1871-1926.

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John Humphreys Davies (1871-1926) of Cwrt Mawr, Llangeitho, county Cardiganshire, was a distinguished academic, author and bibliographer who became Registrar of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1905 and thereafter served as its Principal from 1919 until his death.

He was born at Llangeitho on 15 April 1871, the third son of Robert Joseph Davies, and was educated at the local village school, Lewis School, Pengam and University College School, London. Thereafter he studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated BA in 1893. He was then called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn.

At a very early age he entered the public life of Wales and his native county, becoming JP for Cardiganshire and treasurer of the General Assembly of the Calvinistic Methodist connexion. His interest in Welsh history, antiquities and literature was heightened by his close association while at Oxford with figures like O. M. Edwards and Thomas Edward Ellis, who married Davies's sister Annie.

Following his appointment as Registrar at Aberystwyth, Davies was well placed to collaborate with Sir John Williams in securing the town as the location of the National Library of Wales. The institution was to become the home of the magnificent Cwrt Mawr collection of books and manuscripts. He also became a member of the highly contentious Welsh Church Commission in 1908, was chosen high sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1911 and chairman of the Cardiganshire County Council in 1917.

J. H. Davies was extremely prominent in Welsh public life throughout the first quarter of the twentieth century. He was one of the founders of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Society and contributed regularly to its Journal, and he served as the editor of the Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society from 1910 until 1920. In 1916 he was appointed editor of Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd. As Principal of the university college, he made a major contribution towards strengthening the bonds between his college and the federal University of Wales and also between the college and the Welsh nation.

He devoted much of his leisure time to the collection of Welsh books and manuscripts, and soon became a highly regarded authority in these fields. Among Davies's many important publications are The Letters of Lewis, Richard, William and John Morris of Anglesey (1907-1909), Gweithiau Morgan Llwyd, Vol. II (1908), A Bibliography of Welsh Ballads (1909-1911), and Letters of Goronwy Owen (1924). He also published a large number of articles in an array of periodicals and journals.

J. H. Davies died at Cwm Cynfelin, Aberystwyth, on 10 August 1926, and was buried at Llangeitho.

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