Born in the parish of Cantref, Brecknock, son of John Powell, rector of Cantref, 1601-26. According to Wood he was born in 1608 but, according to Foster, he was 18 years of age on 25 January 1627/8. He was educated at Jesus College, Oxford (B.A. 1629, M.A. 1632, D.D. 1660). He obtained the living of Cantref, 4 May 1635 — his eldest brother, Hugh Powell, being the patron. In 1650, under the Commonwealth, he lost the living and spent some time in exile. In 1651 he published a translation of a book by the Italian Virgilio Malvezzi under the title Stoa Triumphans: or Two Sober Paradoxes, I. The Praise of Banishment, II. The Dispraise of Honors, but no special significance should be attached to the title, for in February and March 1653/4 he and two fellow-clerics were seeking permission to preach from Jenkin Jones of Llanddety, one of the approvers appointed under the Act for the propagation of the Gospel in Wales. It is possible that his exile was due to the fact that he had ignored Jenkin Jones's prohibition. His only Welsh book, Cerbyd Iechydwriaeth, 1657, is tainted with the bitterness of those years. He was restored to his parish in 1660 and was appointed canon of S. Davids. According to tradition he was nominated bishop of Bristol, but died 31 December 1660, before he could be elected. His grave is in the church of S. Dunstans in the West, London.
Wood gives a list of his works. Henry Vaughan, the poet, was his closest friend and it was to him that he left his works still in manuscript, among others his ‘Fragmenta de Rebus Britannicis, A Short Account of the Lives, Manners, and Religion of the British Druids and Bards.’
Published date: 1959
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