Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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POWELL family, of Nanteos (and anciently of Llechwedd-dyrus ), near Aberystwyth . This family claims descent from Edwin ap Gronow of Tegeingl . Dafydd ap Philip ap Hywel is said to have been the first ‘ap Hywel (whence Powell) connected with Llechwedd-dyrus , the first seat of the family; his wife, according to Pen. MS. 156 (see West Wales Hist. Records , i), was daughter of John ap Edward of Nanteos . Their grandson, Sir THOMAS POWELL , Serjeant-at-law ( 1688 ), a Baron of the Exchequer , and ‘ Judge of the King's Bench in Kg. James the Second 's time’ ( Pen. MS. 156 ), m. Elizabeth , daughter and heiress of David Lloyd ( Gwyn ) of Aberbrwynen , and was the father of WILLIAM POWELL . The latter m. Avarina , daughter of Cornelius le Brun by his wife, Ann , daughter and co-heiress of John Jones of Nanteos .

William Powell 's eldest son, THOMAS POWELL (d. 1752 ); was Member of Parliament for Cardigan borough , 1725-7 and 1729-30 , and for Cardigan county , 1721 , 1742-7 . His wife was Mary , grand-daughter of Sir John Frederick , lord mayor of London ( 1662 ). Thomas Powell gave £50 towards restoring Cardigan church in 1748 . He d. 16 Nov. 1752 , his estate devolving upon his only surviving brother,


the Rev. WILLIAM POWELL ( 1705 - 1780 ), D.C.L. ( John Powell , the other brother, had d. in Africa ; see Pen. MS. 156 ).

William Powell went from Hereford School to S. John's College , Oxford , 14 Jan. 1722/3 , aged 17 (matriculated 1723 , B.A. 1726/7 , M.A. 1730 ). He was ordained deacon ( diocese of Lincoln ) 19 Sept. 1731 and became curate of Elton, Hunts. He was created doctor of civil law , 8 July 1763 , being then of Nanteos, Cards. ( Scott-Mayor , iii, 358; Foster , Alumni Oxon. ). Dr. Powell figures prominently in the ‘ Morris Letters ’ — for page references see ‘ Index of Persons ’ by Hugh Owen ( 1942 ) — owing to the dispute with Lewis Morris (q.v.) over Cardiganshire mines and mining; for details see D. Lleufer Thomas , ‘ Lewis Morris in Cardiganshire ,’ in Cymm. , xv.

His son, by his wife Elizabeth , daughter and co-heiress of Athelstan Owen , Rhiwsaeson, Mont. (q.v.) , and Anna Corbet (of Ynysmaengwyn , Merioneth ), was



THOMAS POWELL ( 1745? - 1797 ), who m. Eleanor , eldest daughter of Edward Maurice Corbet , also of Ynysmaengwyn . Thomas Powell , who was sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1785 , figures in the annals of the Welsh School , London (now continued as the Welsh Girls’ School , Ashford , Middlesex ); e.g., he laid the foundation stone of the Gray's Inn Road building ( 1771? ) — see Rachel Leighton , Rise and Progress: The Story of the Welsh Girls’ School , 1950 . He was also prominently connected with the (old) Cardiganshire Agricultural Society ; see Reports for 1790 , 1792 , etc. He was the father of


WILLIAM POWELL ( 1788 - 1854 ); b. 16 Feb. 1788 . He was educated at Christ Church , Oxford . He became lord lieutenant of Cardiganshire , was high sheriff in 1810 , and Member of Parliament for the county, 1816-54 . Like his father, he took an active part in the affairs of the Cardiganshire Agricultural Society ( Reports , 1804 , 1807 , 1812 , 1815 ). He m. (1) 1810 , Laura Edwina (d. 1822 ), eldest daughter of James Sackville Tufton Phelp , Coston House , Leicestershire , and (2) [ 1841 ], Harriett Dell , youngest daughter of Henry Hutton , Cherry Willingham , Lincolnshire . He d. 10 April 1854 .

His heir (by his first wife) was



[WILLIAM POWELL ( 1815 - 1878 ); b. 3 Aug. 1815 , and educated at Westminster . He m., 1839 , Rosa Edwyna , daughter of William George Cherry , Buckland, Herefs. He was Member of Parliament for Cardiganshire , 1859-65 . He d. 13 May 1878 , and was succeeded by his son


GEORGE POWELL ( 1842 - 1882 ), poet and eccentric , friend of A. C. Swinburne , H. W. Longfellow , etc.; b. 10 Feb. 1842 . He matriculated 23 May 1861 as of Brasenose College , Oxford , and succeeded to the Nanteos estate in 1878 on the death of his father. He himself d. 17 Oct. 1882 and is buried in Llanbadarn-fawr churchyard. He had m., 10 May 1881 , Dinah T. Harries , of Goodwick, Pembs. George E. J. Powell published Quod Libet ( Aberystwyth , 1860 ); Poems, by Miölnir Nanteos ( Aberystwyth , 1860 ); Poems, by Miôlnir Nanteos, Second Series ( Aberystwyth , 1861 ); and, with Eirikr Magnusson , he translated Icelandic Legends Collected by Jon Arnasson (1st series, 1864 ; 2nd series, 1866 ). There are numerous letters to him from A. C. Swinburne in the National Library of Wales (together with a volume containing transcripts made by George Eyre Evans ). He d. without issue and was succeeded by his father's cousin,


WILLIAM POWELL ( 1834 - 1911 ), son of Richard Owen Powell (d. 1859 ). W. B. Powell m. Anna Maria , daughter of David Lewis , Bronavon , and had issue, EDWARD POWELL ( 1870 - 1930 ), who m. Margaret Louisa Joan , elder daughter of Sir Pryse Pryse , Bart. , of Gogerddan . Their son and heir, lieutenant WILLIAM POWELL (b. 1899 ), Welsh Guards , was killed in action in France , 6 Nov. 1918 . With the death of E. A. L. Powell in 1930 the male line of Powell of Nanteos became extinct.

Bibliography:

  • To the references given above add G. Eyre Evans , Aberystwyth and its Court Leet , Aberystwyth, 1902 , 1902 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (under A. C. Swinburne);
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales , 1895 ;
  • J. R. Phillips , A list of the sheriffs of Cardiganshire, from A.D. 1539 to A.D. 1868 with genealogical and historical notes , Carmarthen, 1868 ;
  • Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales ;
  • S. R. Meyrick , The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan , 1808; another edition, 1907 (1907 ed.).

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth