John Davies (historian)

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For other people of the same name, see John Davies (disambiguation).
John Davies
John Davies (historian).jpg
Born 1938
Treorchy, Wales
Education University College, Cardiff
Trinity College, Cambridge.
Occupation Historian

John Davies (born 1938) is a Welsh historian, and a television and radio broadcaster.


Davies was born in the Rhondda, Wales,[1] and studied at both University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with four children. After teaching Welsh history at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, he retired to Cardiff, and appears frequently as a presenter and contributor to history programmes on television and radio.

In the mid-eighties, Davies was commissioned to write a concise history of Wales by Penguin Books to add to its Pelican series of the histories of nations. The decision by Penguin to commission the volume in Welsh was "unexpected and highly commendable," wrote Davies.[2]

"I seized the opportunity to write of Wales and the Welsh. When I had finished, I had a typescript which was almost three times larger than the original commission," wrote Davies.[2] The original voluminous typescript was first published in hardback under the Allen Lane imprint. Davies took a sabbatical from his post at the University College of Wales and wrote most of the chapters while touring Europe.[2] Davies dedicated Hanes Cymru to his wife, Janet Mackenzie Davies.[2]

Hanes Cymru was translated into English and published in 1993, as there was "a demand among English-speakers to read what was already available to Welsh-speakers," wrote Davies.[2] A revised edition was published (in both languages) in 2007.

With the continued growth of Welsh institutions and the growth in the number of Welsh speakers, Davies wrote in 1992 "it is more stimulating to be a member of the Welsh nation in the last decade of the twentieth century then it has ever been before."[2]

In 2005 Davies received the Glyndŵr Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales during the Machynlleth Festival. He won the 2010 Wales Book of the Year for Cymru: Y 100 lle i'w gweld cyn marw.

Davies currently lives in Grangetown, Cardiff. To mark his 75th birthday in 2013 the Welsh language television channel S4C broadcast a programme, Gwirionedd y Galon: Dr John Davies, about his life and his home.[3]



  1. ^ BBC Wales Profile of John Davies. Accessed 14 April 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e f A History of Wales, Preface
  3. ^ Gwirionedd y Galon: Dr John Davies - Historian Dr John Davies speaks from the heart on S4C, S4C Factual ( Retrieved 12 January 2014.