Born 12 October 1825 at Penrhos near Ystradgynlais, son of John and Prudence Levi. He received his early education at a school kept by an old soldier at Ystradgynlais, and later, while still a boy, worked at Ynyscedwyn iron works. About 1846 he began to preach at Cwmgïedd chapel, Ystradgynlais. He was minister of Capel yr Ynys, Ystradgynlais, about 1855-60, of Philadelphia, Morriston, 1860-76, and of Tabernacle, Aberystwyth, 1876-1901. He married (1), Elizabeth Daniel of Cwmgïedd (died 1871), and (2), 1873, Margaret, youngest daughter of Hugh and Catherine Jones of Coedmadoc, Tal-y-sarn, Caernarfonshire. He began his literary labours in 1853 and wrote thirty books. Today, the best known are: Hanes Prydain Fawr, 1862; Bywyd a Theithiau Livingstone, 1857; Gweddiau Teuluaidd, 1863; Hanesion y Beibl, 1870; Casgliad o Hen Farwnadau, 1872; Hanes y Beibl Cymraeg, 1876; Traethodau Bywgraffyddol, 1882 and after, published in a single volume entitled Cedyrn Cymru; Canmlwyddiant yr Ysgol Sabbothol, 1885. He also translated sixty books from English into Welsh, including Yr Anianydd Cristionogol, 1859; Crist a Gwroniaid y Byd Paganaidd, 1887. He co-operated with Dr. Joseph Parry in the production of ‘Cantata yr Adar,’ 1873; ‘Cantata Joseph,’ 1885; Hymnau a Thonau yr Ysgol Sabbothol, 1887, etc. But his chief literary achievement was the starting of Trysorfa y Plant, and its regular production every month for half a century- 1862-1911. Although this periodical was produced under the patronage of the Calvinistic Methodists, it was popular with every denomination. The circulation of Trysorfa y Plant, which ultimately reached 44,000 a month, was greater than had ever been known in Wales before. Its income was so great that it paid the entire cost of production of Y Drysorfa and Y Traethodydd. It was read by Welshmen all over the world and in it were published some of the earliest poems of Islwyn, Ceiriog, and others. Levi was moderator of the C.M. General Assembly in 1883 and of the South Wales Association in 1887. He played a prominent part in the setting up of monuments to Daniel Rowland, Thomas Charles, Williams of Pantycelyn, and bishop Morgan. He continued to preach until 1910 and to edit Trysorfa y Plant until 1911. He was nearly 91 when he died 16 June 1916. A list of his original works and of his translations of hymns was prepared at the request of the N.L.W., and this list will be found in that Library.
Published date: 1959
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