Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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WILLIAMS , ERNEST LLWYD ( 1906 - 1960 ), minister (B), poet and writer ;

b. 12 Dec. 1906 at y Lan , near Efail-wen, Carms. He was educated at Brynconyn primary school , Llandysilio (where John Idwal Williams , father of his lifelong friend Waldo Williams , was headmaster ) and at the county school in Narberth where he later began his career as an apprentice to a chemist . He was baptized in 1923 at Rhydwilym , and the traditions of that ancient church and the culture of the Prescelly district permanently influenced his literary work. After completing a course at Bangor Baptist College , 1928-31 , he was ord. on 2 Sept. 1931 as minister of Tabernacl church , Maesteg . On 10 Sept. 1936 he was inducted minister of Ebeneser church , Ammanford , where he spent the rest of his life. He was highly esteemed as a minister and his services as a preacher were regularly sought at Baptist assemblies . He delivered an address (in Welsh ) on ‘ This ministry ’ at the Assembly of the Baptist Union of Wales in 1943 .

It was mainly his poetical works that brought him into prominence — his winning poems at the national eisteddfod , particularly his awdl ‘ Y Ffordd ’ in 1953 and pryddest ‘ Y Bannau ’ in 1954 . He published Cerddi'r Plant ( 1936 ), with Waldo Williams ; and a selection of his poems in Tir Hela ( 1956 ); he composed poems for W. Rhys Nicholas (ed.), Beirdd Penfro ( 1961 ). One of his characteristics as a poet was his ability to experiment, without rejecting tradition. Two of his hymns appear in Y Llawlyfr Moliant Newydd ( 1955 ), and he was the author of the popular song, ‘ Pwy fydd yma ‘mhen can mlynedd ’, in 1943 . He was for a time editor of ‘ Colofn yr awen ’, a column for poets in Seren Cymru , and was a member of the Carmarthenshire team of poets for the contests of Ymryson y Beirdd .

He was also a prolific writer of prose , which may, possibly, prove to be more long-lasting. He published Rhamant Rhydwilym ( 1939 ), a useful sketch of the history of the cause (in conjunction with the secretary , John Absalom ); Hen ddwylo ( 1941 ), containing portraits of ‘characters’ of his early days at the foot of the Prescelly hills ; Tua'r cyfnos ( 1943 ), a prize-winning novel in a competition held by Llyfrau'r Dryw ; a biography of Thomas Phillips, 1868-1936 ( 1946 ), Principal of the Baptist College Cardiff ( DWB , 762-3 ); Dan y sêr , a programme presented by Urdd y Seren Fore at the Assembly of the Baptist Union of Wales at Brynaman , 1948 ; and two travel books, Crwydro Sir Benfro ( 1958 , 1960 ). He was also responsible for the weekly column, ‘ Yn y ty wrth y tân ’, in The South Wales Guardian .

On 11 Aug. 1936 he m. at Rhydwilym Eiluned James , Maenclochog , and they had a daughter. He d. suddenly on 17 Jan. 1960 , and was buried in Rhydwilym cemetery. A memorial service was held at Rhydwilym , 5 Feb. 1960 , and a programme was performed at Maenclochog on 21 Mar. 1979 as a tribute to him.

Sources:

  • Seren Cymru , 23 Oct. 1931 , 14 Aug., 25 Sept. 1936 , 20 Apr., 13 Sept. 1943 , 28 Mar. 1958 , 22, 29 Jan. 1960 , and 24 June 1966 ;
  • Seren Gomer , 1960 , 17-22;
  • Y Cymro , 28 Jan. 1960 ;
  • Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 4 Feb 1960 ;
  • Llythyr Cymanfa Caerfyrddin ac Aberteifi , 1960 , 17-18;
  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1961 , 118-9;
  • Baptist Handbook , 1961 , 358;
  • N.L.W., material from his library;
  • Meic Stephens (ed.), The New Companion to the Literature of Wales , Cardiff, 1998 (1998) , 790;
  • information from his widow and his daughter;
  • personal acquaintance.

Author:

Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001