My name is Gareth Hugh Davies and joined the Archives team in September 2022. My primary role is to assist with collection management. One of the first series of records I helped to list was that recently acquired from the Dr. Leslie Baker-Jones estate.
A native of Velindre near Newcastle Emlyn. He was educated at St Davids College, Lampeter, Jesus College Oxford and Inner Temple. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1977. From 1979 he worked in the Archives Department in Carmarthen and was a reader and organist in the Emlyn Deanery for fifty years.
The collection is impressive in its scope and as well as many photographs, postcards, glass lantern slides, programmes, and catalogues, it includes a considerable amount of research notes for his publications. The glass lantern slides are of particular note and include scenes of some of my favourite places in Wales, St Davids Cathedral, Whitesands, and a Gannet covered Grassholm Island.
A man of humble background, he became one of the leading academic lights of his community. The files of manuscripts show an analytical, curious and rigorous intellect at work.
Publications include ‘Princelings, Priviledge and Power’ – The Tivyside Gentry in their Community (1999), The Glaspant Diary 1896 – A chronicle of Carmarthenshire Country Life, (2002) and The Wolfe and the Boar (2005), which is the history of the Lloyds Family, Plas y Bronwydd near Aberbank, which is the history of the family from 1562 until the death of Sir Martine Lloyd in 1933, (Quatrefoil Books, Dangibyn House, Felindre).
Of particular interest personally was the links between a local park, Golden Grove, in the parish of Llanfihangel Aberbythych, and the subject of his 2018 book, ‘Jeremy Taylor (1613 – 1667) – A Presbendary of St. David’s Cathedral’. Taylor was an English cleric known as ‘The Shakespeare of the Divines’ for his style of writing, who fell under the suspicion of the Puritan Parliament. He wrote some of his most memorable works whilst exiled at Golden Grove, until his personal restoration in 1660, eventually becoming the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dublin.
Although Baker-Jones was considered a very private man it was clear from the many letters of thanks for his hospitality and kindnesses included in the collection, that here also was a man ready to share with and enlighten those around him as suggested by the quote on his funeral service ‘Lux Perpetua Luceat Eis’ ‘Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them’.
Gareth H. Davies,