Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Gravestones of Price and Annie Davies

My first cousin once removed recently made a trip to Wales and upon request he stopped by the graveyard of Price and Annie Davies to take a picture for me. These are one set of my great grandparents. I had previously tried to find them through find a grave but had no luck. He said next time he made the trip he would happily accomodate my request.

Since he knows Welsh he also kindly translated the inscriptions. The original inscription reads:

"Er Serchus Cof Am
Annie Davies
Annwyl Briod
Price Davies, Cynt o Dowlais Top
Bu Farw 6 Chwefror 1961
Yn 78 Mlwydd Oed
Hefyd Am y Dywededig
Price Davies
Bu Farw 15 Mai 1966
Yn 84 Mlwydd Oed
"Byth Ar Swn Y Delyn Aur."
He informed me that the literal translation is:

"In Loving Memory Of
Annie Davies
Beloved Spouse of
Price Davies, Formerly of Dowlais Top
Died 6 February 1961
At 78 Years Old
Also of the Aforesaid
Price Davies
Died 15 May 1966
At 84 Years Old.

"Ever to the Sound of the Golden Harp."

This relative, Roy, always sends me helpful links to explain references as well. He let me know that "the last line is from a Welsh hymn "Y Delyn Aur" (the Golden Harp) by Ann Griffiths. Her name was almost the same as Annie's before her marriage - Annie Griffiths."
I will share the hymn and some history behind it in another post. I can now add these to the gravestones I have for one set of my great grandparents on my mothers side. I blogged about them here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Marriage Of Harold And Annie

I promised my great aunt Ruth that I would transcribe Harold and Annie's marriage certificate. So here it is. I originally sent off for this record 5 or 6 years ago so I'm happy to finally put it in blog format.

Date: 1911
Marriage Solemnized at: St. Paul's Church, Cwmtillery in the Parish of Abertillery, in the county of Monmouth.
Number: 136
When Married: July 31st 1911

Name and Surname: Harold Griffiths.
Age: 19
Condition: Bachelor
Rank Or Profession: Collier
Residence At Time Of Marriage: 55 Powell Street, Abertillery
Father's Name And Surname: Thomas Griffiths
Rank Or Profession Of Father: Collier

Name And Surname: Annie Simpkins
Age: 19
Condition: Spinster
Rank Or Profession: Blank
Residence At Time Of Marriage: 11 Earl Street, Abertillery
Father's Name And Surname: John Simpkins
Rank Or Profession Of Father: Collier

Married in the Church Of St. Paul according to the rites and ceremonies of the established church
on after Banns by me.

This marriage was solemnized between us, Harold Griffiths, Annie Simpkins, in the presence of James John Simpkins, Emma James.

D.O Loyd Williams Officiating Priest.


There's a couple of things to note about the information in this marriage certificate.

1. Cwmtillery had the church of St Paul built in 1890 and it was not opened for worship until 1891, so it was relatively new at the time of the wedding.

2. Cwmtillery was considered a very beautiful place before the coal mining industry became the prominent player in the local economy. According to Wikipedia and local sources there were 4 explosions within the mine its self. The mines closed in the late 1900's and the town is quickly reverting back to a place of beauty.

3. At present I am not sure if the two witnesses James John Simpkins and Emma James are both family members. James John could be Annie's father also listed as John Simpkins in this certificate. He could also be a brother, I need to do a little research. The 1901 census shows a Jas John Simpkins as Annie's brother. It's possible Jas is James. Annie's mother was named Elizabeth, so Emma could be a wife of a sibling, or she could just be a friend.

4. The ages on this marriage certificate are 19 for both. However, I currently have Harold born in 94 and Annie born in 96. The 1901 census has Harold's age as about 6 so I am fairly confident he was born around 94. Annie Simpkins is also listed as 16 in the 1911 census. This would make them 17 and 15/16 respectively. Until the Age of Marriage Act in 1929 the age of marriage for males was 14 and for females was 12. Either I have their birth dates wrong, or they lied about their age on the marriage certificate.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pushing Open Doors

I haven't blogged in about 10 days. I haven't had a lot of time, but I've been busy behind the scenes. My Uncle Michael sent through information on my Grandad's funeral. I was unable to make it back to England to attend so I read the list of those present with great interest. At the bottom it mentioned members of Haverstoe Bowling club. I remember watching my Grandad play bowls when I was younger. I ran a google search but couldn't find anything about it. At the last minute I decided to contact the Grimsby bowling club. My Grandad lived in Cleethorpes, which is right next door to Grimsby where I was raised.

The manager of the club said that Haverstoe bowling club had closed but that he knew some of the ex members. I explained that I was looking to see if anyone remembered my Grandad and could tell me a little more about his experiences at the club playing bowls. I had heard once that a trophy was named after him. To cut a long story short, through a series of conversations the Grimsby manager was able to contact an elderly member of Haverstoe who remembered my Grandad. I received this email earlier in the week.

"I've seen the Haverstoe people again. They have a member called Mr Alderson who knew your grandfather well. He's going to compile a report and either send it to you direct or via me."

I am currently looking forward to receiving this report. 

All of this started with me sending out a questionnaire to my family. Here's a copy.

General Information

Name of person answering:

Relation to ancestor:

Name of Ancestor:

Name of ancestors parents and siblings:

General Facts

Birth Date:


Date of death:

Physical appearance


Hair colour:

Eye colour:

Anything else distinctive?


What was their favourite food?

What was their favourite pastime? (Do you remember anything significant about this.)

What did they like to read (If anything)?

What is your favourite memory of them, when did it happen?

What are some things you did together and when?

Can you share one funny story?

Can you share one serious story? 

What was your favourite thing about them?


Do you have any photographs of them or memorabilia you can send back?

I have received a lot of other information with more on the way. Birth certificates, death certificates, photographs I had never seen before. All this to say, I've not been idle while not blogging, but I am also awaiting some information on my other grandfather, Idris before attempting to blog about the end of his life story. My questionnaire template can be modified if I think of other questions but I like the way this jogs people's memories and I've found it really useful in finding out more about family I knew and family I never met. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Julia Edith Davies' Contribution To Women In Church Leadership

Julia Edith Davies. Born 9th June 1890, according to my first cousin once removed, in Manordeifi, Pembrokeshire, Wales. 

Married in Merthyr Tydfil, 11th June 1905 to my great great uncle David John Davies. 

Sometime between 1911 and 1917 they began leading a church together. At that time it was in the Ystrad, Rhondda and they met at a Baptist Chapel. Today it is called Mount Zion Pentecostal Church and has moved to Gelli but is still in the Rhondda Valley.

Whether or not Julia Edith preached earlier than 1926 is not known for sure, but she was definitely preaching at the church by the period of the late 1920's. 

Article in 1926 July edition of Redemption Tidings (The official magazine of the Assemblies of God, Great Britain.) 

The above article was written in July 1926 by Julia's husband. The first paragraph is of note. It reads:

"I am taking the pleasure of writing to you a brief account of our Whitsuntide Convention. Although owing to the present coal crisis[1], we had to cancel our expected speakers, yet we carried the meetings on locally, the other Assemblies rallying with us, and from beginning to end the Lord caused his face to shine upon us. Those who ministered the word were Bro. Dan John, Clydach Vale; J Crew, Tumble; Miss A. Meredith, Treorchy; Mrs. E. Davies, Ystrad."

What conclusions to draw from this? Firstly, at least some and perhaps all of these, were not the intended speakers for the convention, but the general strike made it impossible for the original speakers to make it to the Rhondda and the church in Ystrad.

Secondly, Julia Edith is referred to here as Mrs. E. Davies. This was not unusual. She often went by Mrs. J. E. Davies and Mrs. E. Davies. 

Thirdly, there was more than one woman speaker at this convention. Miss A. Meredith also spoke. 

Later in 1926 both Mr. and Mrs. Davies traveled for an evangelistic campaign in Ramsgate.

Article from the 1926 Oct edition of Redemption Tidings

In this case it's a simple announcement that "This Assembly, too, is having a Special Gospel Campaign during September-October, when they expect Mr. and Mrs. Davies, of Ystrad, Wales, for a Soul-saving Campaign." 

It's not definitive proof that she preached, but it was not unusual for her to do so. Another article from Redemption Tidings in June of 1929 is recalling a miraculous healing that one of the congregation experienced. The full article is provided here.

Article in 1929 June edition of Redemption Tidings
I won't transcribe the entire article, but the bit in question is a paragraph in the middle which reads;

"I went to our mission at Ystrad, where I was a member, and that night our dear sister Mrs. Davies (the pastor's wife), was delivering a message from the Word of God. She said how we people believed in God for everything, yet when we were taken ill we run for the doctor.[2] I was drinking in every word she was saying." 

Julia. E. Davies was a preacher, and in the early days of the Pentecostal movement it seemed that no one batted an eyelid. 

Julia's husband died in 1931. Julia herself was sick when his death occurred and the church initially called David John's husband to lead them for a few months. I've written about this here.[3]

When Julia recovered from her sickness she took over the leading of the church. 

Article in the February 1934 edition of Redemption Tidings
"Time has passed since the homecall of our late pastor, Mr. D. J. Davies of the Ystrad Assembly, to be with Christ, but we can truly say that the Lord has been very faithful in watching over His flock and providing for them another leader, viz, our late Pastor's wife, Mrs. J. E. Davies.
The Lord has granted times of refreshing in our midst; souls have been saved, many of whom have received the Holy Ghost, and many bodies have been healed, Hallelujah."

The 1935 listing of the Assemblies of God churches in Great Britain list Julia Edith Davies as the official leader of the church in Ystrad. 

1935 Jan Redemption Tidings listing of Assemblies of God Churches, Great Britain and their leaders.
This is just the lower half of the listings, but you can see Mrs. E. Davies listed in the bottom right hand corner next to the Ystrad church. She wasn't the only woman leader in the listing. Miss N. Shearman leads in Gloucester, and Miss J. Curtis in Hull.

Price Davies (Julia's brother in law) records in his memoir that there were 700 people sometimes in the congregation at Ystrad[3], which met at the Nebo Baptist Church until the Mount Zion church building was built. This wasn't a woman leader in some church of 20-30 congregants tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The Assemblies of God church in Ystrad was significant. David John (Her deceased husband) was the former secretary of the Assemblies of God in Wales and a member of the national executive board that led the Assemblies of God in its early days in Great Britain. 

I see Julia Edith Davies as a pioneer of women in leadership within the church. 

[1] Unlike the same time period of time within the United States, there was no roaring 20's in Britain and the 1920's were a time of social upheaval and strikes. The 3rd May 1926 to the 13th may 1926 was a General Strike where none of the coal miners worked and non essential railways shut down. Any visiting speakers from outside of the Rhondda would have been unable to visit during this period. This article is written in July 1926 but it is about the May Whitsuntide Convention which would have been affected by this. 

[2] To my knowledge neither Julia Edith Davies nor her husband David John Davies believed it was wrong to visit a doctor. They did however believe in divine healing and often preached on such. The denomination of which they were a part, the Assemblies of God, also believes in divine healing. The denomination does not believe in avoiding doctors and believe that God uses doctors to bring about healing. While this is the teaching of the church, the lady writing the article, a Mrs. Chinn, obviously decided that in her current case of cancer there was nothing more the doctor could do and so she would trust in divine healing instead. 

[3] I am fortunate that my Great Grandfather Price Davies recorded his own memoirs of his involvement in the birth of the pentecostal movement in Great Britain. Mentioned within them is his time at Ystrad assembly in the Rhondda Valley. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

New Photographic Discoveries: Great Uncle, David John Davies

Following on from yesterday, today I take a look at all the photographs I gained of David John Davies my great uncle. Not to be confused with David John Davies my great great uncle. The younger one was named after the older by his father, Price Davies.

Until I researched Redemption Tidings I had the following pictures of David John.

David John (Left), Glyndwr (Center) Idris (Right) Date: Circa 1940

David John and his father Price Davies. Date: Unknown

I am now able to add the following photographs to those two.

David John (Front row, second from left) 1938

Not a picture of him obviously :) But a church he pastored in Donington, U.K. 1955

David John first man on the right. 1957

David John (Second from left) and wife Elizabeth receiving flowers. 1959

David John. Man in glasses at the back. 1959

David John, third from left. 1959

David John, first on the left. Baptismal event. 1960

David John, second from right. 1965

David John, front left. 1967

David John, front left. 1971
I feel fortunate to have pictures from his younger years and older years. There are many stories behind them, but I'm still piecing those together. 


Pictures used with permission of David Gee foundation and AOG U.K

Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Photographic Discoveries of Great Grandfather Harold E Griffiths

Early last week I dived into researching the old Redemption Tidings of the Assemblies of God, Great Britain. I did not expect to discover anything more than some history on my great great uncle, D J Davies. Instead, I found a treasure trove of history as I discovered many more details about my families involvement in the early history of the Pentecostal movement in Great Britain, particularly as it pertained to the establishment of the Assemblies of God denomination. Amidst the magazines there were several photographs of varying degrees of quality.

Here's the photographs I discovered of my great grandfather Harold E Griffiths. All photographs are used with permission of the Donald Gee Foundation and the Assemblies of God in Great Britain. 

Harold E Griffiths, first left on the front row. 1947

Harold E Griffiths, front center, fourth from the left. 1950. His brother Rhys Griffiths is at the door. 

Harold E Griffiths. 4th from the right at the back. Next to the door. 1953

Harold Griffiths, center - playing the piano accordion. 1953

Harold E Griffiths at the very back - Prestatyn. 1967 

The stories behind the photographs will have to wait for a future blog post. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"The Grandfather I Never Knew" Part 8

Another significant event that occurred early in the 1950s was an accident that happened to Idris. He worked for a company in Palmerston that sold mechanized machinery. One day he was operating a crane and attempted to lift something with it that was too heavy. The crane crashed over and Idris was admitted to hospital. This event caused the ulcer that prevented him from eating much of his favourite foods all the time and triggered the rest periods he sometimes took during the building of the house in Umtali.

Despite this unfortunate event he was known to call for English pancakes (Crepes) on his own and other people's birthdays. He would also drink a lot of milk on these occasions. It wasn't always the best idea due to the stomach ulcers he suffered with but it seems he had a bit of a sweet tooth. Welsh rice pudding was also a favourite of his, as was custard pie. He would often try and sneak a Fanta or Vanilla milkshake as well. On occasion he would take the family out after church on a Sunday and buy one slab of vanilla ice cream for desert. Eating ice cream together as a family was a treat I also enjoyed growing up, so Idris must have passed it along to my dad, Merthyn.  One of Idris' favourite main meals was fricadles, which is a type of meatball. 

In the early 60's Idris' eldest child, Wendy, was married in Cheltenham 1964. Idris and Iris were unable to make the wedding. Idris had to console Iris who was upset over it, but they were able to make the local newspapers with their international call to their daughter on her wedding day.[1] 

Their eldest son, Glyn, went off to bible college in the United States. (66-69) Their daughter Wendy had already left in the 50's to join Cardiff College of music. Before leaving, Glyn brought Norma to visit the family, and early in 1966 they were married. Idris never knew quite how to respond to Norma but his wife exclaimed on the first night, "Glyn, you must marry this girl." 

Idris and Iris with Glyn and Norma in Bulawayo
Despite the long distances and expensive rate of international phone calls, Idris must have been in touch with his brothers about the wedding of his son because his older brother David John Davies[2] posted a congratulations in the weekly Assemblies of God magazine, Redemptions Tidings.

Posted in the 1966 March edition of Redemption Tidings
It's possible the communication was through letters; Iris' sister Ruth would often contact them in this way. 

One of Idris' hobbies was reading westerns. Both Glyn and Merthyn would borrow these books from him and read along. He particularly enjoyed Louis L’Amore and Zane Grey. Perhaps the Louis L'Amore appealed to him as he added historical details and wrote about a family leaving England to travel to the United States and set up a home there. Much as he left to set up a home in Southern Rhodesia. Idris would mainly find the time to read on holiday and would then devour these books. He also introduced his son Merthyn to the Hardy Boys.

As far as holidays were concerned there were a few primary locations. While they lived in Umtali they traveled often to Biera in Mozambique and later when they had moved to the west they often went down to South Africa and Amazimtoti. Glyn and Norma, when they returned from America, sometimes went with them. 

While on holiday Idris would go swimming with his youngest son, Merthyn. One time when visiting Biera, his son taught him to body surf. In a form of tubing they would go out into the sea and then catch the waves, holding on to a tube and running the wave back towards the shore. While doing this Idris was knocked over, and so his son taught him to body surf to land so he wouldn't have to swim the entire way. 

Once they moved to Bulawayo it took much longer to reach Biera so they would travel to Hot Springs[3] instead, a place where people still relax today in the heated pools of water, waterfalls, lakes and geysers that spring up from the ground. 

[1] Wendy remembers reading about the phone calls being in the local paper but to date I have been unable to locate the actual articles. 

[2] Idris' older brother David John Davies was named after Idris' uncle who died suddenly in 1931 from Pneumonia.

[3] Nyanyadzi Hot Springs are still known as a tourist attraction in Zimbabwe today. One tourist describes it this way in the online magazine "All Africa."  "Recently I visited Nyanyadzi Hot Springs in Manicaland. At the centre of the breathtaking Eastern Highlands geomorphology dominated by craggy mountains, tour filled lakes, sparkling rivers, spectacular waterfalls, glorious forests, rolling moorlands and dramatic gorges lies a hot spring with water at boiling point, that villagers believe is boiled by mermaids."

Much information for this blog post comes from a series of interviews with Glyn Davies, Norma Davies, Merthyn Davies and Wendy Thomas.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

David John Davies - Cause of death

"On February 4th 1931 my brother Pastor D. J. Davies, Ystrad Rhondda died and on February the 9th was buried at Penrhys Cemetery - Pastor Tom Mercy, Cross keys, and Pastor Clement Morgan, Dowlais, officiating; when there were about one thousand people at the graveside." - Memoir of Price Davies [1]

Reading that began my journey to discover David John Davies. Price Davies' grandson, Roy Davies, also added this annotation to the memoir several years later.

"The March 1931 issue of Redemption Tidings, the official magazine of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland, reported that the Assembly Hall where the funeral service was held was crowded out and hundreds of people failed to get admission. According to Ron Evans, a member of the church in Ystrad Rhondda of which D. J. Davies had been pastor, satin cloth bookmarks with details of his death and funeral were produced to commemorate his work. Ron Evans’s father kept one in his bible for many years afterwards but later it was lost."

My last blog post on David John Davies tells the story of how I located the March 1931 issue. It also transcribes the text of the article. I still didn't know how he died though.

Having located that particular issue of Redemption Tidings I was then able to find an online archive of previous and future issues of the magazine.[2] I downloaded them and ran a search on "Davies" to see what showed up. There I found the sad story of David John Davies' death.

This article is found in the March 1931 Redemption Tidings Ambassador, a weekly magazine that had was only published for a couple of years by the Assemblies of God in Great Britain. Here is a transcription. (I have not corrected any spelling mistakes.) 

Ystrad (Mount Zion)

It is with greatest sorrow that we report the home-going of our beloved Pastor, Mr. D. J. Davies, on February 4th with tragic suddeness. 
Sister Davies was very ill and he left her to go to the Executive Presbytery Meeting at Manchester.[3] He returned with a chill, went to bed and in five days died at her side, no one realising the end was near--of bronchial pneumonia.
We have lost a father in Isreael, one who showed to all that it was possible in these days to live "Sermon on the Mount".
There was only one Mr. D. J. Davies. He was laid to rest on February 9th with kingly honours, at Penrhys Cemetery. Like Moses of old he rests on the hill-top, in view of the scene of his many labours for the Master. His funeral showed us how much he was loved, when great and small, rich and poor, saints and sinners met to pay their last tribute. What a gathering! What a lesson to learn therefrom. The world acknowledges that it pays to serve Jesus. Our loved Pastor stood meekly, quietly, steadfastly against all criticisms, controversies with nothing more or less than "The Spoken Word." His favourite reply was "The scripture saith."
The prayers of the saints have been effectual, our dear Sister Davies is better though not yet in our midst. She ever stood shoulder to shoulder with her lost loved one who lived to do "His sweet will," and we pray that by God's grace she will again come forth with us, to carry on much aggressive work, following on what has already been labour fundamentally wrought with much success on Full Gospel lines. 
We feel we have lost our pastor at a time we needed him sorely, but His grace is sufficient and we say
          Had He asked us well we know, we would say, oh, spare this blow. Yes, with streaming tears would say, Lord, we love him let him stay, but we bow and reverently say, Thy will be done.
          John Harvey, Sec.

There we have it. He died of Bronchial Pneumonia and it was very sudden. 

Later, on march 18th 1931, the Redemption Tidings Ambassador magazine contains a message from David John's wife.

Her message can be read in the top right hand corner, "Sister Davies (Ystrad) wishes to thank all kind friends and relatives for their prayers and love shown in her sad bereavement."

Price Davies adds in his memoir that: 

"The following week Mrs. D. J. Davies, with the Elders and brethren of the Ystrad Assembly sent a letter to the Elders and the Church at Penrhiwceiber asking them if they would please release me and let me come to be in charge of the work at Ystrad until Mrs. Davies who was ill in bed at the time, could take over. They kindly granted their request. I was there for two months under much blessing from the Lord."

Still sick and in bed at the time of her husbands death it must have been a shock for his wife Edith. I am glad that her brother in law Price was able to take up some of the work in Ystrad and at least relieve her of that stress. 

There is one other thing I would like to take note of. Price Davies was only requested until "Mrs. Davies...could take over." This was 1931 and the church was seemingly perfectly okay for a woman to be leading them. [4]


[1]  Towards the end of his life Price Davies decided to write a record of significant events he could recall occurring in the Welsh Revival and his life since. It is called, "A Testimony and a brief recording of the beginning of the Pentecostal Movement in the Merthyr Borough, Bedlinog and the Aberdare Valley." It has been passed around my family and an electronic copy was handed down to me about 10 years ago. 

[2] This online archive where I found Redemption Tidings is held by University of South California. The copyright of all Redemption Tidings issues is held by the Donald Gee Center at Mattersey Hall and the Assemblies of God, United Kingdom. The particular issues that the articles in this post are taken from are no longer under any copyright at all. 

[3] During my research of the Redemption Tidings and re reading of Price Davies' annotated memories I have discovered that David John Davies was one of the original executive board members of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain. It was to meet with these original executors (In many ways founders of the Assemblies of God) that he set off for Manchester. 

[4] There were several times during my reading of Redemption Tidings volumes that it was indicated women led various churches throughout the movement. Whether they were full time ordained ministers or lay ministers I do not know. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Treasure That Keeps On Giving

Earlier this week I blogged about finding the article for my Great Great Uncle David John Davies' funeral. I was left with two more questions: how did he die? Who did his wife remarry?

I've discovered both, although I don't know much more than that about the second. The reason I discovered both is that through talking with the publisher of "Heroes of the Faith" magazine I was led to an online digital archive of old pentecostal magazines. The archive is kept at University of South California.  Redemption Tidings (The one that records David John Davies' funeral) is in the archive. To date I have searched through 24 volumes of it from 1924 - 1950. 

I began by searching for more on David John Davies and then his wife. This led me to discovering mentions of my Great Grandfather Price and even a couple of my Grandfather Idris. Then on a whim I searched for my other Great Grandfather involved in the early Pentecostal movement and found him as well.

The copyright is out of date but I wrote to the British AOG who published Redemption Tidings just in case there was a problem and they have given me permission to write about anything relating to my family that I find in the Redemption Tidings archives as long as I don't make money off it. They also gave me permission to do so for those articles that are still under copyright, which was very nice of them!

To date I have found 40 mentions. Many of them are just references to preaching, some contain photographs, some addresses and there's the occasional reference to bible passages they spoke on. There's even a written account of my Great Grandmothers healing and of course on David John Davies' death. From all of this I should be able to record some of their movements and places which they lived. This is invaluable since the 1931 and 1941 census' in Britain don't exist due to WW2. 

The search engine on the site allows you to download whole volumes or perform searches for key words. As I searched for "Davies" I also found myself discovering the story of two missionaries called "Davies" who travelled to Japan, and were there as WW 2 began. The tale of their return across war torn seas was enthralling. Another side benefit to the research. 

I haven't finished searching yet so I will keep working on it. I won't share pictures here because they will all come out in blogs in the future. I never thought it would lead this far and it's a pleasant surprise, if your ancestors were involved in the early American or British pentecostal movement I can recommend the archive as a place to search!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The Grandfather I Never Knew" Part 7

The Grandfather I Never Knew Part 7

For ease of reading I have posted links to the previous 6 parts of this series.

With the house at 4 Taylor Avenue built, church meetings continued to take place there. This was a great blessing to Idris and Iris who wanted the place to be used as often as possible for these purposes. On 28th June 1960 Idris received this letter from two congregants

“To Idris,

To remind him of the part he and Iris have played, and are still playing in showing by word and by deed that there is no better life than that which is in Christ;
to tell him that the warmth and love found in his home has left a permanent glow in the lives of these two souls, who are endeavouring to emulate this Godly attribute;
to show him that though he is in Christ, he is also in our hearts;
To express in such inadequate terms the gratitude of us both for the “nursing(1)” and “bottle-feeding”1 he so painstakingly gave us as babes in Christ;

With fondest Christian love

Tom and Joy

Job 42:10”

Job 42:10 reads as follows: And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Original Letter from Tom and Joy(3)

Another member of the church, Howard Amm recalls the time he was baptised there with 7 others.

“Yes we were the first group of about eight or so young believers to be baptised on Whit Sunday (21/5/61) in a font especially built by Idris in his backyard ... an amazing experience followed up by many of us being baptised in the Holy Spirit2 at the pastor's (John Stegmann) manse across the road after the evening service ... an awesome day in my life ... funnily enough I don't remember all those who were baptised that day but I do remember a young pastor from SA whose name was Gerrie Hawes who was here at the time ... really great days ... some others who were there which may bring back some happy memories were Vera Potgieter and her young sister, Billy Morgan, Marilyn and Caroline Bush, some Welsh (They were actually Scottish.) friends of Idris and Iris Davies' from Salisbury who played the violin so beautifully…”

Staying in touch with the family in England was important but much more difficult to do in the days before cheap international calls, the internet and Skype. When phoning overseas you had to book a call for a specific time and it was £10 for just 3 minutes. Idris and Iris set off on a trip to England around 1962, visiting Iris’ sister and Idris’ brother while they were there. I believe this was also the last time that they saw Iris' father Harold before he died.


  1. It is not uncommon for new Christians to refer to being nursed spiritually. This comes from the scripture 1 Corinthians 3:2
  2. Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a pentecostal tenant, where they believe the Holy Spirit gives them each of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the bible. 1 Corinthians 12 mentions these: 8 To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages.
  3. As of 2017 the letter is in Glyn Davies' possession. Glyn is the eldest son of Idris and Iris Davies.