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William Havard

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Name  William Havard

Role  Military chaplain
Died  August 17, 1956, Gwbert, United Kingdom
Education  Jesus College, Oxford, Aberystwyth University

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William Thomas Havard MC (23 October 1889 – 17 August 1956) was a Welsh First World War military chaplain and rugby union international player who was later bishop of two dioceses of the Church in Wales: first as the Bishop of St Asaph and then the Bishop of St David's.


Early life

Havard was born in Defynnog, Brecknockshire, the third son of William Havard, a deacon of the local congregational chapel, and his wife Gwen. He attended Brecon county school before studying at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he graduated with a 3rd-class BA degree in history in 1912. Having been raised in the congregationalist Christian tradition, he was confirmed as a member of the Church in Wales after graduating. He then trained for ordination at St. Michael's College, Llandaff and was ordained deacon in 1913 and priest in 1914. He was curate of Llanelli from 1913 to 1915.

A keen sportsman, Havard played rugby at all levels, representing Brecon Secondary School while a schoolboy, and continuing through university and finally joining Llanelli and later London Welsh at club level. He also played football to a high standard and played for Swansea Town. In September 1912, two days before the club's first Southern League match, Havard was in the reserve team in a match against Merthyr and scored Swansea's first goal in their first competitive season.

World War I

Havard became a chaplain to the armed forces during the First World War, serving from 1915 to 1919, retaining an honorary commission as chaplain to the forces, 4th class. He was Mentioned in Despatches in 1916 and was awarded the Military Cross in the 1918 New Year Honours.


After the war, he was chaplain of Jesus College, Oxford from 1919 to 1921 (obtaining an MA degree in 1921). Whilst at Oxford, he won his "Blue" for playing rugby against Cambridge University. On 21 April 1919, Havard played for the Wales national rugby union team in a tour match against the New Zealand Services. It was to be the only time that Havard played for Wales. Havard was also part of the Jesus College rugby team that won the inter-collegiate cup in 1920.

After leaving Oxford, Havard became curate of Brecon (1921–22), vicar of Hook (1922–24), vicar of St Luke's, Battersea (1924–28) and vicar of St Mary's, Swansea (1928–34). He was a canon of Brecon Cathedral from 1930 to 1934. He succeeded Alfred George Edwards as Bishop of St Asaph in September 1934 when Edwards retired. He had in 1923 he returned to a more active army role, joining the Territorials in his previous grade on 8 May 1923, he was then promoted to Chaplain, 3rd class on 21 February 1925 before being appointed to a reserve commission on 6 January 1934, which he retained until reaching the age-limit for the position in 1949, when he was again granted an honorary commission. On 18 June 1940 he was appointed a Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John. He was translated to St David's in succession to David Lewis Prosser in 1950.

He was regarded as a powerful preacher in both Welsh and in English, with his sermon on the Sunday before the National Eisteddfod often being broadcast. He was Select Preacher at St. Andrew's University (1943) and Canterbury (1946), and travelled to Yale University in 1951 as a special lecturer and preacher. He was prominent in educational activities, chairing the education council of the Church in Wales, and acting as Visitor to St. David's College, Llandovery College, Trinity College, Carmarthen and St John's College, Ystrad Meurig.

Havard died on 17 August 1956, and was buried in Brecon.


William Havard Wikipedia

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