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Thomas Davies, first convert in Shrewsbury

By Ashley Green

Rob and Judy Davies standing in front of the CofE font where Thomas Davies was christened in Upton Magna in 1812.

On Sunday evening 14th May, after a Stake Conference in Newcastle-under-Lyme, about two dozen members of the Shrewsbury Ward accompanied Rob Davies and his wife Judy on a 90-minute walking tour of Church history sites near the town centre. 

Two months earlier, Judy Davies (an American Latter-day Saint) had emailed the Family History Centre in Telford to ask for a guided tour following the life of Thomas Davies, the first convert to the Church in Shrewsbury. Judy’s husband, Rob, is a great-great-grandson of Thomas Davies. 

Fortunately, a detailed 1997 account of the saints in Shrewsbury was a huge help for Rob and Judy’s journey. The account features the baptism of Thomas Davies in the River Severn by Elder Thomas D. Brown on 27 July 1847 – just three days after the Mormon Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. The 1997 account is titled “From Shrewsbury to Salt Lake City – A Mormon Sesquicentennial Celebration” by Gordon W. Beharrell, the father of the current Bishop in Shrewsbury. 

Thomas Davies

The tour started near St. Mary’s Church, where Thomas and his wife Mary were married on 24 November 1834. Then the group proceeded to the Union Wharf where the Shrewsbury Branch met in 1851, and concluded with a short devotional near the site of the former Canal Buildings in Castlefields, where Thomas and a few other investigators were first taught the Gospel by Elders Thomas D. Brown and Thomas Thomas.

Rob and Judy bore their testimonies and emphasised the far-reaching consequences of that early missionary work. They and hundreds of their faithful LDS relatives cherish the Gospel legacy bequeathed them by Thomas Davies and other pioneer ancestors.

Rob and Judy have given the Shrewsbury Ward a memento of their visit – a framed sketch of Thomas Davies by their teenage granddaughter J’lyn.

The tour started near St. Mary’s Church, where Thomas and his wife Mary were married on 24 November 1834. Then the group proceeded to the Union Wharf where the Shrewsbury Branch met in 1851, and concluded with a short devotional near the site of the former Canal Buildings in Castlefields, where Thomas and a few other investigators were first taught the Gospel by Elders Thomas D. Brown and Thomas Thomas. Rob and Judy bore their testimonies and emphasised the far-reaching consequences of that early missionary work. They and hundreds of their faithful LDS relatives cherish the Gospel legacy bequeathed them by Thomas Davies and other pioneer ancestors. 

Rob and Judy have given the Shrewsbury Ward a memento of their visit – a framed sketch of Thomas Davies by their teenage granddaughter J’lyn.