Howells, William (DNB00)

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HOWELLS, WILLIAM (1778–1832), minister at Long Acre Chapel, London, eldest of the twelve children of Samuel Howells, was born in September 1778 at Llwynhelyg, a farmhouse near Cowbridge in Glamorgan. After some years' study under the Rev. John Walton of Cowbridge, and Dr. Williams, the master of Cowbridge school, he went in April 1800 to Wadham College, Oxford, and left in 1803 without a degree. An elegy by him on his tutor Walton in 1797, published in the 'Gloucester Journal,' introduced him to the notice of Robert Raikes [q. v.], who offered him journalistic work. At Oxford he was under baptist influences, but he was ordained by Dr. Watson, bishop of Llandaff, in June 1804, to the curacy of Llangan, Glamorgan. Both he and his vicar occasioned some complaint by preaching at methodist chapels. In 1812 Howells became curate to the united parishes of St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe and St. Anne, Blackfriars, in London, and in 1817 lessee of the episcopal chapel in Long Acre, where he gradually gathered together an appreciative audience. His strongly evangelical sermons were widely popular, and his self-denying life, despite his eccentricities, gave no handle to his enemies. He died on 18 Nov. 1832 (Gent. Mag. 1832, ii. 653), and was buried in a vault under Holy Trinity Church, Cloudesley Square, Islington. In the church itself a tablet was placed to his memory.

The following collections of Howell's sermons and prayers appeared after his death:

  1. 'Remains,' edited by Moore, Dublin, 1833, 12mo;new ed., London, 1852, 8vo.
  2. 'Twelve Sermons,' London, 1835, 8vo.
  3. 'Sermons, with a Memoir by Charles Bowdler,' London, , 2 vols. 8vo.
  4. 'Twenty Sermons,' London, 1835, 12mo.
  5. 'Fifty-two Sermons from Notes,' by H. H. White, London, 1836, 8vo.
  6. 'Prayers before and after the Sermon,' London, 32mo.
  7. 'Choice Sentences,' edited by the Rev. W. Bruce, London, 1850, 18mo.

[Memoirs by the Rev. E. Morgan and Charles Bowdler; funeral sermon by the Rev.Henry Melvill; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. i. 905.]

W. A. J. A.