Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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POWELL , LEWIS ( 1788 - 1869 ), Independent minister ;

b. at Defynnog , Brecknock , 27 Dec. 1788 . He was educated first of all at a dame's school kept in the village by a widow and her daughter, and then at the Church school , where he was subjected to the ignominy of the ‘ Welsh Note ’ for speaking Welsh . As he did not want to become a weaver like his father he went to his uncle to learn to be a boot-maker . In 1807 , at Brychgoed , he was admitted to membership of the church by Peter Jenkins , a personal friend of Williams of Pantycelyn , who was also responsible for inducing him to begin preaching in 1808 . In 1812 he obtained a post as tutor to the children of Evan Price of Cerrigbwbach , near Pentre-tŷ-gwyn , and other local children, the conditions of his employment being that this gentleman should give him board and lodging and teach him Latin and Greek . This occupation lasted a year, and on 16 Nov. 1812 he was licensed to preach . In 1827 he was ordained minister of Capel Isaac, Carms. In 1827 he agreed to take charge of the Independent church at Cardiff , which had been started the previous year and which later came to be known as Ebenezer . There was no chapel there at that time, but within a year a new one was opened. He remained there until 1850 when he retired owing to ill health; he d. 16 Sept. 1869 , and was buried near Ebenezer chapel .

He was an original and unusual character, full of ready wit and humour. He gained a reputation as a collector of money for wiping off the debt on his own and other chapels , and toured the whole country for this purpose; he also visited London and parts of England , and many are the stories told about his experiences on these journeys. Although he was not a great preacher , people flocked to hear him because of his pulpit mannerisms and his unconventional sayings. He published a book of verse, Llwyddiant i'r Ceinciau , and many elegies; his diction and style were commonplace. He also published his autobiography in two volumes, Hanes Bywyd … Lewis Powell, Caerdydd, ganddo ef ei hun , Cardiff , 1860 .


  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 424-6;
  • H. M. Hughes , Hanes Ebenezer, Caerdydd, 1826 - 1926 cyhoeddwyd ar ddathliad y canmlwyddiant (Cardiff, 1926) , 29-41;
  • Y Tadau Anibynnol (1898–1900) , iii;
  • Bowen-Jones , Y Parch. Lewis Powell, Caerdydd (Bangor, 1897) ;
  • [ Cardiff Free Libraries: Catalogue of Printed Literature in the Welsh Department (1898) ].


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

Published date: 1959