DAVIES, Francis (1605-75)

DAVIES, Francis (1605–75)

cons. 24 Aug. 1667 bp. of LLANDAFF

First sat 10 Oct. 1667; last sat 24 Feb. 1674

b. 14 Mar. 1605, parents unknown. educ. Jesus, Oxf. matric. 1621, BA 1625, MA 1628, fell. c.1628, BD 1640, DD 1661. unm. d. 14 Mar. 1675; will 6 Mar., pr. 12 Apr. 1675.1

Rect. Pen-tyrch and Radyr, Glam. 1630, Llan-gan with Llantrithyd, Glam. 1638, St Andrew, Glam. 1667, Llangattock, Brec. 1667, Bedwas, Mon. 1668; preb. St. Andrew’s, Llandaff 1639, Fairwater, Llandaff 1668; adn. St Davids 1644, ejected c.1645, adn. Llandaff 1660; chap. to Penelope, countess of Peterborough, c.1656–9.

A bookish ascetic from the ‘Laudian heartland’ of Glamorgan, Francis Davies succeeded his royalist friend Hugh Lloyd as bishop of Llandaff in 1667. While his family background is unknown, he was a member of the ‘high Anglican’ circle at Jesus College, Oxford, in the 1630s, and a friend of Gilbert Sheldon, later bishop of London and archbishop of Canterbury. As a ‘sufferer’ Davies was assured a place in the Anglican martyrology to which his nephew and namesake contributed.2 During and after the civil wars, he was a member of the county royalist network and a natural target for the governing puritan faction. For a while his ‘great piety’ earned him the protection of the parliamentarian commander Colonel Philip Jones but in or about 1656 his precarious financial position obliged him to leave Wales for London, where he became chaplain to the countess of Peterborough, whose husband, Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, was not only a prominent royalist but a close friend of James Stuart, duke of York.3

In 1667 Davies’ friendship with Sheldon, his loyalism and his Anglican credentials made him a natural successor to Lloyd. Conscientious in both pastoral and diocesan bureaucracy (providing a full response to Sheldon’s census of conventicles in 1669), he conducted a rigorous visitation in 1671.4 His tenure of the episcopate coincided with a particularly volatile period in the politics of religion but there is no record of his contribution to the debates and he was nominated to only a handful of select committees throughout his parliamentary career.

Davies took his seat in the House of Lords at the opening of the contentious 1667–9 session. He was then present on all but three days until the adjournment on 19 Dec. 1667, but he failed to return after the recess, registering his proxy on 6 Feb. 1668 in favour of Edward Rainbowe, of Carlisle. He attended all but two days of the brief 1669 session and reappeared in the House for the opening of the 1670–1 session, missing only two days before the adjournment of 11 Apr. 1670. He was thus present throughout the debates on the controversial divorce bill for John Manners, Lord Roos (later 9th earl and duke of Rutland), and recorded dissents against the passage of the bill on 17 and 28 March. He was absent when Parliament re-assembled in October 1670, claiming to be too ‘disabled’ for a journey to London, and again covered his absence with a proxy registered to Rainbowe on 21 October.5 He did not return to the House until the opening of the first session of 1673 on 4 Feb., again attending for all but two days. He was present every day of the brief second session of 1673 and for the 1674 session. He made his final visit to the House on 24 Feb. 1674.

Davies died on his seventieth birthday in March 1675, and was buried by ‘some of the fellows’ of Jesus College in Llandaff cathedral.6 Being unmarried, he bequeathed his modest estate of some £300 to his extended family. An active antiquarian, he took a special interest in the refurbishment of the cathedral library, donating valuable editions both in his lifetime and in his will. During his lifetime he also spent heavily on repairs to the cathedral and on the augmentation of poor livings.7


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/347.
  • 2 Walker, Sufferings.
  • 3 Jnl. of Welsh Eccles. History, iv. 37–38.
  • 4 LPL, ms 639, ff. 186–8; Articles of Enquiry Concerning Matters Ecclesiastical within the Diocese of Llandaff (1671), 1–6.
  • 5 Bodl. Tanner 146, f. 155.
  • 6 Ath. Ox. iv. 849.
  • 7 Tanner 146, f. 155.