Howell, John (1774-1830) (DNB00)

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HOWELL, JOHN (1774–1830), called Ioan ab Hywel, soldier and Welsh poet, was born in 1774 at Abergwilly, Carmarthenshire, where he received very little schooling. He was apprenticed to a weaver, but soon joined the Carmarthenshire militia, where he was employed in the band as fife-major. He served with his regiment in Ireland in 1799, and rejoined it on re-embodiment in 1803. He employed his leisure in improving his education, and was discharged as regimental schoolmaster on 24 July 1815, while the regiment was at Bristol. He then became master of the national school at Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, where he resided, with few intermissions, until his death. There he produced numerous compositions, which he sent to various bardic contests. In 1824 he brought out at Caerfyrddin by subscription a small volume entitled `Blodau Dyfed' (pp. xvi, 420), containing selections from the compositions of bards of the district in the past and present century, including some productions of his own, among which is a 'Carmarthen March.' He possessed some talent as a musician and teacher of psalmody. His Welsh poems had not much fire or subtle imagery, but were considered models of metric correctness and appropriate diction. He died on 18 Nov. 1830 at Llandovery, and was buried beside the porch of Llandingat Church.

[ Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Blodau Dyfed (Carmarthen, 1824, 12mo); Rolls of the Royal Carmarthen Fusiliers Militia in Public Record Office, London.]

H. M. C.