the only child of Eliseus and Jane Howells of Cefn Cribwr, Glamorganshire. His father was killed in an explosion in the Slip colliery, Parc Tir Gwnter, Cefn Cribwr, in August 1892, and he was born 8 January 1893 in Augusta St., Ton Pentre, Rhondda, the home of his uncle, William Howells and his wife, by whom he was brought up. He was educated in Ton Pentre elementary and secondary schools and then he went to Porth, Rhondda, to prepare himself to keep a business. He began preaching in Jerusalem chapel, Ton, in 1912, and went to Trefeca College in the same year. His course was interrupted by World War I, when he served with a Welsh company of the R.A.M.C. in France where his lungs were damaged by poison gas. He returned to Trefeca College after the war, and completed his education in the Theological College at Aberystwyth. He was ordained in 1921, and ministered in Blaengarw, Glamorganshire (1921-28), Hereford Welsh Church (1928-31), and Lewisham, London (1931-46). After his home was destroyed and his library and papers were lost in an air raid he was called to Hermon, Bridgend, Glamorganshire, and was minister there from 1946 (and also of Soar, Ewenni from 1960) until his death. He married, 1922, Muriel, daughter of William Marwood, a minister in Hay, and they had two sons. He died 16 August 1969 and was buried in the public cemetery in Bridgend.
He was of unusual appearance, over six foot tall, with a rough, furrowed face, and he had an extraordinarily deep voice. He was an original and popular preacher; he spoke in the attractive dialect of Glamorganshire, and was in great demand for his service throughout the whole of Wales. ' Mr. Matthews of Ewenni' was a frequent reference in his sermons, and was the subject of lectures by him. He was Moderator of the Association in the South (1959), and of the General Assembly (1963). He delivered the Dr. John Williams, Brynsiencyn, Memorial Lecture and it was published by William Morris (ed.) as Pregethu in 1969. He wrote much to Y Goleuad, Y Drysorfa, to the journal of the Presb. history society and to Y Drysorfa - he was editor of the latter, 1959-63. He published Hermon, Bridgend (1949), a history of that church in English. For years he took an interest in the ancestors and descendants of Howel and Ann Harris of Trefeca, and the fruits of his work are to be found in NLW MS 20496 C.
Published date: 2001
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