Walter Davies Papers

Scope and Content

The papers contain correspondence written, received and collected by Walter Davies; manuscript notes on various subjects, and material collected by Davies during his lifetime.

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter Davies was born on July 15th 1761 at Y Wern, near Tomen y Castell, Llanfechain, Montgomeryshire. Educated at the village school, he began training to become a cooper aged 12 years. It was whilst a young man that he also began competing in local eisteddfodau. His success in such competiotions brought him to the attention of the poet Owain Myfyr, who helped him gain a place at Oxford University.

Davies graduated from All Souls College, Oxford, in 1795, receiving his MA from Trinity College in 1803. On graduation, he took orders, becoming a curate in the Church of England. He began work in the parish of Meifod, Montgomeryshire, moving to Ysbyty Ifan, Denbighshire in 1799. It was here that Davies met his wife, the widow of Rice Price of Rhosbrynbwa. In 1803 he received the living of the parish of Llanwyddelan, Montgomeryshire, and in 1807 that of Manafon, in the same county. At Manafon he met, and struck up strong friendships with John Jenkins (the poet Ifor Ceri), and with the Vaughan family of Penmaen Dyfi. In 1837 he received the living of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, where he was to remain until his death on December 5th 1849.

Davies was closely associated wth London Welsh circles, especially with the Gwyneddigion Society. He also played a key role in the establishment of provincial eisteddfodic societies. Much of his poetry was published under his bardic name Gwallter Mechain. He also published many prose works, including translations of works, and edited editions of the poems of Huw Morys and Lewis Glyn Cothi amongst others. Davies' interests spanned many subjects, including literature, genealogy and antiquaries. He collected variously, with most of his manuscripts, numbering over three hundred, held at the National Library of Wales.

Access Information

The papers may be consulted through application by e-mail to: or by post to: Aberystwyth University, Archives, Information Services, Llandinam Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB. Tel: 01970 628593.


Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, archive cataloguer, with reference to John Edward Lloyd, R T Jenkins and William Llewelyn Davies (eds), The Dictionary of Welsh Biography Down to 1940, (London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1953), p 157.

Other Finding Aids

Basic finding aid available on request from Archives staff.

Related Material

Further correspondence and papers of Walter Davies are to be found at the National Library of Wales, where they form NLW MSS 1641-1952.

A group of Davies' papers are also to be found amongst the T Gwynn Jones Papers, again held by the National Library of Wales.