Myles Davies

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For the jazz musician, see Miles Davis.

Myles Davies (1662–1715 or 1716) was a Welsh-born British author. He published the Athenae Britannicae in 1716.[1]


Davies was a native of Whiteford, near Holywell in Flintshire, Wales.[1] His parents George and Elizabeth Davies lived in Tre'r Abbot.[2] Isaac D'Israeli said his biography was quite unknown. [3] He was educated at the English Jesuit College in Rome, and was made a Roman Catholic priest on 17 April 1688.[2] He left Rome on 15 October 1688 to work with the Jesuits in Wales, but soon converted to become a Protestant, and in 1705 published an explanation (apologia) for his surprising conversion in The Recantation of Mr Pollett, A Roman priest.[2]

The preface to one of his books describes him as a gentleman of the Inns of Court.[3] He was a learned and erudite scholar, but eccentric to the verge of insanity.[4]

In 1715 he published the first volume of his Athenae Britannicae, a critical history of pamphlets called Icon Libellorum. It was described as "a queer production, but cram full of curious information".[1] The Libellorum included a French letter and a Latin Ode to Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford.[5]

Davies became a mendicant scholar, selling his own books.[4] He would visit the house of a potential patron and send in a bundle of his books, with perhaps an ode to the recipient, in the hope of receiving a gift in return. He was often rejected or insulted when trying to obtain payment or return of his work.[6] By 1812, his work was described as extremely rare.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Myles Davies". Bye-gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties. Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer. 1883. p. 181. 
  2. ^ a b c Jones, John James. "Welsh Biography Online". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. The National Library of Wales. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Odell & Philes 1878, pp. 314.
  4. ^ a b c Urban 1812, pp. 561.
  5. ^ Nichols & Bentley 1813, pp. 586.
  6. ^ Smollett 1812, pp. 384.


  • Rose, Hugh James; Rose, Henry John; Wright, Thomas, eds. (1848). "Davies, Miles". New general biographical dictionary. 7 DAC–GEO. London: Fellowes. p. 32. 
  • Jenkins, Geraint H. (1987). The foundations of modern Wales: Wales 1642–1780. History of Wales 4. Clarendon Press. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-19-821734-3. 
  • Roberts, Thomas Rowland; Williams, Robert (1908). "Davies, Miles". Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen who have attained distinction from the earliest times to the present 1. Educational Publishing Co. p. 51. 
  • Collins, An (1961). "Miles Davies". In Stewart, Stanley N. Divine Songs and Meditacions (1653). Los Angeles: Clark Library. pp. 119 et seq.