Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 14.djvu/156

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place seems to have stimulated his zeal for biblical translation.

On the accession of Elizabeth, Davies returned to England and received back his old preferments. His enthusiasm and sufferings commended him to the new government. In July 1559 he was placed on a commission to visit the four Welsh dioceses and the adjacent sees of Hereford and Worcester, which at a session held in Stratford-upon-Avon Church deprived John Lloyd, dean of St. Asaph, for contumacy. He was among those marked for preferment in a list of Cecil's, and on 4 Dec. he was elected by the chapter, on 18 Jan. confirmed, and on 21 Jan. 1560 consecrated by Parker at Lambeth as bishop of St. Asaph, a post vacant by the deprivation of Thomas Goldwell. His temporalities were restored on 29 March (Fœdera, xv. 577), but as they were only worth 10l. a year and the only other revenue of the see was 177l. of spiritualities (Strype, Annals, i. i. 227), he was allowed to hold in commendam not only Burnham and Maidsmorton, but also a prebend in his cathedral and the sinecure rectory of Llansantffraid yn Mechain for the term of five years (Fœdera, xv. 560). He at once set to work with vigour, and in August received an appointment to visit the diocese as the archbishop's commissioner (Strype, Parker, iii. 76). His letter to Parker on the state of his diocese shows clearly enough the need for action. Some of his clergy were still boys, others not yet in holy orders, others were studying at Oxford. Of the residents many would not or could not keep hospitality. There were only five gospel preachers (‘concionatores evangelici’) in the whole of the diocese (Willis, Survey of St. Asaph, ii. 136–47). He was translated in the spring of 1561 to the slightly richer (300l. a year) (Annals i. i. 227) and much larger diocese of St. David's. The chapter received orders to elect him on 20 Feb., but his inability through ill-health to attend in London, and some doubtful proceedings of Thomas Davies [q. v.], his successor, seem to have delayed matters so that the actual translation was only effected on 21 May, and the temporalities restored on 2 June (Fœdera, xv. 614).

Davies took no very prominent share in general English affairs. He was in January 1562 present at the convocation which drew up the Thirty-nine Articles. He signed the canons of 1571, and he joined the majority of the bishops in petitioning the queen in 1566 to offer no impediment to the Articles Bill which she had stayed in the House of Lords. In Wales, however, he was a very important person, active in the administration and reformation of his diocese, the trusted adviser of Parker and Cecil on Welsh affairs, and the ardent advocate of all schemes for the intellectual and religious enlightenment of his countrymen. The scanty revenues of his see were supplemented by three livings and a prebend of his cathedral held in commendam. Yet he suffered the many great episcopal houses to fall into ruin, and at Abergwili, where he resided, his successor complained that he had left the palace in most extreme disrepair. He sold the collations to prebends of St. David's and Brecon, and of most livings in his gift worth ‘10l. by the year.’ The lands of the see, even to the very doors of his palace, he let on long leases, and, careless of what came after him, supported himself on the fines made on granting them. The records of the chapter leave no doubt that his dealings with the property of his see nearly approached simony, and rivalled that of some of the worst of his English contemporaries. By sending Cecil all the ancient manuscripts and ‘monuments’ connected with his see, he denuded the diocesan registry of all ancient records. Lavish and improvident rather than dishonest, Davies employed his doubtfully won means in bountiful hospitality. He always kept ‘an exceeding great port.’ He had in his service the younger sons of some of the best houses of North Wales, giving them good ‘maintenance and education’ along with his own sons. He showed a strong clannish love for his compatriots of North Wales, many of whom he advanced to livings, ‘having ever this saying in his mouth, “I will plant you, North Welshmen; grow if you list.”’ But his followers and kinsfolk showed a lawless violence which suggests some blame for his too easy temper. Towards the end of his life one of the council of Wales forwarded a series of grave charges against Davies, based on his connivance of the outrageous behaviour of his son-in-law, Mr. Penry (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. cxxxi. 43, 1). Davies's answers to the charges (ib.) are not very satisfactory.

Davies was a member of the council of Wales, he was frequently put in commissions of the peace, and in 1578 was appointed with John Barlow to take measures to detect pirates and their abettors in the principality, and especially in the sea-girt region surrounding his remote cathedral village (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 604). His position at Ludlow enabled him to supplement the imperfections of the jurisdiction of his consistory court by reference to the president and council of Wales (ib. p. 597). He also enjoyed the close friendship of Parker, who encouraged him in his difficulties and corre-