Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/255

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


valuable light on English education in Shakespeare's time, and was reprinted, with an introduction by Dr. Furnivall, for the New Shakspere Society in 1876. Powell also left in manuscript ‘The Breath of an Unfeed Lawyer, or Beggers Round,’ which is extant in the Cambridge University Library (Cat. MSS. in Cambr. Univ. Libr. i. 213). The author probably died about 1635.

He is doubtless to be distinguished from a ‘Serjeant Powell’ mentioned in the state papers in 1631. A later Thomas Powell (fl. 1675) was author of ‘The Young Man's Conflict,’ 1675, ‘Salve for Soul Sores,’ 1676, and other works; he probably wrote the commendatory verses prefixed to Henry Vaughan's ‘Olor Iscanus,’ 1651.

[Powell's works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Furnivall's Introd. to Tom of All Trades; Rimbault's Introd. to Love's Leprosy; Hunter's manuscript Chorus Vatum; Warton's English Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, iv. 304 n. 3; Ritson's Bibl. Anglo-Poetica; Brydges's Restituta and British Bibliographer; Collier's Bibl. Account, ii. 184; Hazlitt's Handbook and Collections passim; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. passim; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. p. 63, 2nd Rep. p. 89; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 478; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. x. 366; notes supplied by Miss Bertha Porter.]

A. F. P.

POWELL, THOMAS (1766–1842?), musician, was born in London in 1766. He studied composition and the violoncello, and in 1799 was elected a professional member of the Royal Society of Musicians. In 1811 he married, and settled for a time in Dublin as a teacher of music, afterwards migrating to Edinburgh, and eventually to London (1826), where he died between 1842 and 1845.

Powell was said to be a skilled artist on several musical instruments, and possessed a bass voice of exceptional compass. His compositions are numerous, and include arrangements of popular and classical airs for pianoforte, violin, and harp, as well as for the violoncello. A long list of his published and unpublished works is given in the ‘Dictionary of Musicians,’ 1827. The following pieces, among others, are in the library of the British Museum: 1. ‘Introduction and Fugue for the Organ as performed at the Cathedrals of Christchurch and St. Patrick at Dublin,’ 1825. 2. ‘Three Grand Sonatas for pianoforte, with obbligato accompaniment for violoncello,’ op. 15, about 1825.

[Dict. of Musicians, 1827, ii. 305; Georgian Era, iv. 546; Reports of the Royal Soc. of Musicians, passim.]

L. M. M.

POWELL, VAVASOR (1617–1670), nonconformist divine, was born in 1617 at Cnwcglas or Knuclas in the parish of Heyop, Radnorshire. His father, Richard Howell was an ‘ale-keeper’ and ‘badger of oatmeal;’ his mother was Penelope, daughter of William Vavasor of Newtown, Montgomeryshire. He is said to have been employed at home as stable-boy, and to have served as groom to Isaac Thomas, innkeeper and mercer at Bishop's Castle, Shropshire. These particulars may be true, but they are derived from his enemies. His education had not been neglected, and at the age of seventeen he was sent to Jesus College, Oxford, by his uncle, Erasmus Howell, vicar of Clun, Shropshire. He took no degree, probably declining subscription, and, leaving the university, he became schoolmaster at Clun. Here he officiated as his uncle's curate, though not ordained; he describes himself as ‘a reader of common prayer.’ Alexander Griffith [q. v.] tells an improbable story of his obtaining the letters of orders of ‘an old decayed minister (his near kinsman),’ and substituting his own name, for which offence he was tried at the Radnorshire county sessions, and ‘with much ado reprieved from the gallows.’ He wore a clerical habit in his twentieth year, but it was as a schoolmaster that he was at that date reproved by a strict puritan for looking on at Sunday sports. The formation of his deeper religious convictions he assigns to the period 1638–9, when he was influenced by the preaching of Walter Cradock [q. v.] and the writings of Richard Sibbs and William Perkins [q. v.] From about 1639 he adopted the career of an itinerant evangelist; he was possessed of independent property either by inheritance or marriage.

In 1640 he was arrested, with a number of his hearers, for preaching at a house in Breconshire. After passing a night in custody Powell and his friends were examined, and dismissed with a warning. He was again arrested for field preaching in Radnorshire, and committed to the assizes by Hugh Lloyd, the high sheriff, his kinsman. On trial he was acquitted, and invited to dine with the judges, when one of them complimented him on his grace after meat as ‘the best he had ever heard.’ On the outbreak of the civil war he left Wales for London (August 1642).

For a couple of years he preached in and about London, and for two years more at Dartford, Kent, where he stayed through a visitation of the plague, preaching three times a week. When parliament had become master of Wales by the surrender of Raglan Castle in August 1646, Powell was invited to resume his evangelistic work in the principality. He applied to the Westminster assembly for a testimonial. Stephen Marshall [q. v.] objected that he was not ordained. He was