Mountain Chapel

Mountain Chapel
from Google Streetview

Friday, 23 July 2010

Rev'd William Davies Oaklands


In the year 1902 a family named Davies were living at Oaklands. The head of the family was a Mr William Davies, who combined his duties as Congregational minister at Lanteague Chapel with farming the 50-odd
acres behind Oaklands. The Census of 1891 shows that he was originally from Llanboidy, and that he had previously been living at Lawrenny, where his three surviving children were all born.
On the evening of May 20th, 1902, the family’s servant girl was sent to bring in the cows for milking. Shortly afterwards she came running back from the field in a state of fright to report that the bull had ‘turned nasty’; and since she refused to go back again, the minister set off to fetch in the cows himself.

What happened next was reported by a neighbour - coincidentally also named William Davies. This Mr Davies, of Blackheath, was on his way home from working in the quarry at Gellyhalog. With his dog, Toss,
he was taking a short-cut across the field where the cattle were, when he witnessed the minister being attacked and savagely gored by the bull. As he ran to help, the animal turned its attentions upon him; and but for his dog, which began worrying the bull, this other Mr Davies might well have met the same horrible end as his unfortunate namesake.
It was later thought that the bull had been unsettled by the echoes of voices. That part of the field lies in a pronounced hollow, and it is a proven fact that some animals are irritated by reverberating sounds.  Whatever the cause of the tragedy, both bull and minister ultimately suffered the same fate since the bull was afterwards taken away and destroyed.

Mr Davies lies in the Congregational burial ground together with other members of his family. The tombstone - a granite obelisk - describes him as having served as a minister in Pembrokeshire for over forty years and gives his dates as 20 September 1828 to 20 May 1902, so he was in his seventy- fourth year when he was killed.

Misfortune seems to have dogged the Davies family, because all three of the minister’s children met with untimely deaths. The only son, William Benjamin, died a year after his father, in 1903, aged thirty-six.
The elder daughter, Anne, had passed away in 1894, aged twenty-nine; and the younger daughter, Sarah Jane, had already preceded her, dying in 1892 aged exactly twenty-two years and one day.

Mrs Sarah Davies, the minister’s wife, was the last member of this tragic family to remain alive, outliving her husband and children by just a short time until her own death - perhaps of a broken heart - in 1904.
Taken from Llanteg Down the Years, page 44 by Judith Lloyd