William Havard

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William Havard
Full name William Thomas Havard
Date of birth (1889-10-23)23 October 1889
Place of birth Defynnog, Wales
Date of death 17 August 1956(1956-08-17) (aged 66)
Place of death Gwbert-on-Sea, Wales
School Brecon Secondary School
University University College, Aberystwyth
Jesus College, Oxford
Occupation(s) Priest
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Prop
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Llanelli RFC
London Welsh RFC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1919 Wales Wales 1 (0)

Rt. Rev. 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 successively bishop of two dioceses of the Church in Wales: St Asaph and 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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3][4] He was Mentioned in Despatches in 1916 and was awarded the Military Cross in the 1918 New Year Honours.[5]


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.[1] On 21 April 1919, Havard played for the Wales national rugby union team in a tour match against the New Zealand Services.[6] It was to be the only time that Havard played for Wales.[6] Havard was also part of the Jesus College rugby team that won the inter-collegiate cup in 1920.[7]

After leaving Oxford, Havard became curate of Brecon (1921–22), vicar of Hook (1922–24),[8] 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,[9] he was then promoted to Chaplain, 3rd class on 21 February 1925[10][11] 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.[12] On 18 June 1940 he was appointed a Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[13] He was translated to St David's in succession to David Lewis Prosser in 1950.[1]

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.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ellis, Mary Gwendoline. "HAVARD, WILLIAM THOMAS (1889-1956), bishop". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 7 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Jenkins, John M.; et al. (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players. Wrexham: Bridge Books. p. 70. ISBN 1-872424-10-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Chaplains of this grade wear rank insignia identical to that of captains in the rest of the army
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32492. pp. 8270–8271. 18 October 1921. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30450. pp. 30–37. 28 December 1917. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Bill Havard". scrum.com. Retrieved 7 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Baker, J. N. L. (1971). Jesus College Oxford 1571–1971. Oxonian Press Ltd, Oxford. p. 120. ISBN 0-9502164-0-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The London Gazette: no. 32609. p. 1292. 14 February 1922. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 32841. p. 4620. 3 July 1923. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  10. (equivalent rank insignia to a Major)
  11. The London Gazette: no. 33027. pp. 1609–1610. 6 March 1925. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38754. p. 5304. 8 November 1949. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 34878. p. 3777. 21 June 1940. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
Church in Wales titles
Preceded by
Alfred George Edwards
Bishop of St Asaph
Succeeded by
David Daniel Bartlett
Preceded by
David Lewis Prosser
Bishop of St David's
Succeeded by
John Richard Richards