Davies, Dr Rupert Eric
1909-1994; e.m. 1933

Scholar and author, born on 29 November 1909 in Hammersmith, where his father was twice Mayor. He was educated at St Paul's School, London, where he became school captain, Balliol College, Oxford and Wesley House, Cambridge. As a Finch Scholar he spent the year 1934-35 studying the Reformers at Tübingen. He was chaplain of Kingswood School1935-1947; then, after five years in* Bristol circuits, he became Tutor in Church History at Didsbury College, Bristol 1952-1967 and Principal of the united Wesley College 1967-1973. He was President of the Conference in 1970. After retirement he served as Warden of the New Room 1976-1982 and made several overseas tours as lecturer and preacher.

He was convener of the Faith and Order Committee on which he served from 1958 to 1970. A convinced ecumenist, he worked closely with Oliver Tomkins, Bishop of Bristol, and was a member of the Anglican-Methodist Union Commission, also serving on the World Methodist Council, the World Council of Churches (on both its Assembly and its Faith and Order Commission) and the British Council of Churches. He was a fine teacher, handling a range of subjects with the versatility of a Balliol man. As chairman of the governors of Kingswood School from 1975 to 1983, he oversaw its development as a co-educational school. A skilful popularizer and communicator, his Pelican Book on Methodism (1963; revised edition, 1976) becamel a standard introduction. His numerous other titles include The Problem of Authority in the Continental Reformers (1947) and the 1968 Fernley-Hartley Lecture Religious Authority in an Age of Doubt. The University of Bristol, in which he was for many years a Recognized Teacher, awarded him an honorary DLitt in 1992. He died in Bristol on 4 July 1994.

His wife Margaret (née Holt, 1911-2004) was born in Leeds. They met when she was a history student at St. Hugh's College, Oxford and were married in 1937. She worked tirelessly for the ordination of women and the full participation of women in the life of the Church. She was one of the 'founding mothers' of Women's Fellowship, an active member of the Harborne Group and a leading participant in Britain in the World Council of Churches Study Process on the Community of Women and Men in the Church. She shared fully in her husband's ministry in ministerial training at Bristol and in his presidential year. She died in a nursing home at Henfield.

  • Conference Handbook, 1970
  • Methodist Recorder, 25 June 1970; 14 July 1994; 25 November 2004
  • J.M. Turner in R.E. Davies, Methodism and Ministry (Peterborough, 1993)
  • John Munsey Turner, A Select Bibliography of the Published Writings of Rupert E. Davies (Bristol, 1993)
  • J. Munsey Turner, in WHS Proceedings, 50 pp.21-22
  • Gareth Lloyd, [catalogue of] The Papers of the Rev. Dr. Rupert E. Davies (Manchester, 1995)
  • Oxford DNB