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

Name: Ernest Llwyd Williams
Date of birth: 1906
Date of death: 1960
Spouse: Eiluned Williams (née James)
Gender: Male
Occupation: minister (B), poet and writer
Area of activity: Eisteddfod; Literature and Writing; Poetry; Religion
Author: Benjamin George Owens

Born 12 December 1906 at y Lan, near Efail-wen, Carmarthenshire. 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 ordained on 2 September 1931 as minister of Tabernacl church, Maesteg. On 10 September 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 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 August 1936 he married at Rhydwilym Eiluned James, Maenclochog, and they had a daughter. He died suddenly on 17 January 1960, and was buried in Rhydwilym cemetery. A memorial service was held at Rhydwilym, 5 February 1960, and a programme was performed at Maenclochog on 21 March 1979 as a tribute to him.


Published date: 2001

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