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1501?-1581. Bishop and translator. Born a curate's son at Gyffin, Conway, he was educated at New Inn Hall, Oxford, and after serving two Buckinghamshire livings, was deprived on the accession of and withdrew to Frankfurt to join other Protestant exiles. He was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph in 1560 and translated to St. David's the following year. As an administrator he was the foremost protagonist of the Elizabethan settlement in Wales, and profoundly concerned about the sorry condition of his diocese and the low spiritual condition of both clergy and people.
He participated in the production of the Bishops' Bible* (1568) and was responsible for the section Joshua to 2 Samuel. He applied his scholarly gifts to the task of translating Scripture into Welsh. An act of 1563 (which owed much to him) had put the responsibility for preparing a Welsh version of the Bible upon the four bishops of Wales together with the bishop of Hereford. In order to comply with this command, he invited* to join him at Abergwili, the episcopal residence, to cooperate in the venture. In 1567 their joint efforts saw the light of day in a Welsh translation of both the and the NT. Davies's contribution to the NT consisted of an interesting preface, Epistol at y Cembru, together with 1 Timothy and Hebrews-2 Peter. Although the Book of Common Prayer has traditionally been attributed to Davies, this is doubtful. He combined with his excellent knowledge of the classical languages a solid familiarity with the classical Welsh literary tradition and was capable of producing poetry in the strict meters.
See excellent biography by G. Williams (1953); and I. Thomas, William Salesbury and his Testament (1967).