Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HOWELL , WILLIAM ( 1740 - 1822 ), Arian minister and Academy tutor ;

b. at Wincanton , Somerset , in 1740 , the son of the Rev. William Howell of Birmingham . He was taught by his father and by Jenkin Jenkins (q.v.) of Llanfyllin . He went to Warrington Academy , 1759-60 , and then to Carmarthen Academy , 1760-4 , where according to the Cofiant he was a fellow-student of David Davis ( Dafis Castellhywel , 1745 - 1827 , q.v.) He spent some time on the continent where he was in charge of the English church in Amsterdam . On his return he became minister of the church at Chelwood , near Bristol ( 1771-86 ), whence ( 1786 ) he was called to be minister of the Presbyterian church , Swansea , and senior tutor of the Academy there. He was in office for nine years until midsummer 1795 when a dispute arose between him and his fellow-tutor, John Jones , who is said to have had an ungovernable temper, and the Academy was closed for a time. Although he is alleged to have been an Arian , William Howell was not an advanced thinker. In 1813 he tendered his resignation on account of blindness , but withdrew it when he was offered a coadjutor. Unfortunately, agreement could not be reached as to who should be appointed, the church split into two factions, and Howell and his adherents broke away and founded the Castle Street Congregational church ; the new chapel was opened in Dec. 1814 and, although he was not the minister , he became a member of it. The real cause of the trouble was that he refused to adopt the Unitarian doctrine, which was accepted by his successor, Richard Aubrey ; this probably explains the ‘rugged church business’ as it was called. He d. 21 June 1822 and was buried in the High Street Presbyterian churchyard , Swansea .

Sources:

  • Monthly Repository , 1814 , 203, 323;
  • The Presbyterian Fund and Dr. Williams' Trust , 1885 , 69;
  • W. J. Evans Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales , in N.L.W.

Author:

Rev. Thomas Oswald Williams, M.A., (1888-1965), Lampeter

Published date: 1959