Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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POWELL , JONATHAN ( 1764 - 1823 ), Independent minister ;

b. at Defynnog , Brecknock , in 1764 . He began to preach at Godre-rhos, Glam. , and in 1790 received a call to Rhayader, Rads. , where he was ordained and where his subsequent career was stormy. He appears to have been a stern disciplinarian and insisted on excommunicating some members who showed a tendency towards Sabellianism . The church, however, refused to endorse his action and he decided to leave. In 1798 he went to Anglesey to take charge of the churches of Rhos-y-meirch and Capel Mawr . At that time there were very few ministers in the island and he had a hand in founding a number of new Independent chapels , twenty-eight of which were registered as places of worship in the course of his ministry. He was a gifted and able man, a diligent student who was regarded as one of the leading men of his denomination in North Wales . He translated a number of English books into Welsh and was a hymn-writer of some distinction. In 1796 he published a small book of hymns of his own writing, Llawenydd yn Nglyn Wylofain , and in 1805 another, Y Credinwyr yn Angau , adapted from the work of Thomas Watson . He wrote an elegy upon Richard Tibbot (q.v.) , 1798 . In 1821 he retired because of ill health. He d. 6 July 1823 , and was buried in Rhos-y-meirch chapel burial ground.


  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 460;
  • Y Dysgedydd , 1823 , 257;
  • Y Geninen , 1895 , 97;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , ii, 409;
  • W. A. Griffiths , Hanes Emynwyr Cymru (Caernarfon, 1907) , 127-8;
  • Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol Newydd casgliad o donau, emynau, côr-ganau, ac anthemau (London, 1921) , hymns 332 and 510.


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959