Powell, David

, a learned Welsh divine, was born in Denbighshire, about 1552. In 1568, he was sent to Oxford, but to what college is uncertain. When Jesus-college was founded, in 1571, he removed thither; and took his degrees in arts the year following. In 1576, he took orders, and became vicar of Ruabon, or Rhiw-Abon, in Denbighshire, and rector of Llanfyllin, which last he resigned in 1579. About the end of the same year he was instituted to the vicarage of Mivod in Montgomeryshire, and in 1588 he had the sinecure rectory of Llansanfraid, in Mechain. He held also some dignity in the church of St. Asaph. He proceeded to his degrees in divinity in 1582, and the subsequent year, and was afterwards chaplain to sir Henry Sidney, then president of Wales. He died in 1598, and tvas buried in his own church of Ruabon. The works published by him were, 1. “Caradoc’s History of Cambria, with annotations,1584, 4to. This history had been translated from the Latin, by Humphrey Lloyd, but was left by him unfinished at his death. Powel corrected and augmented the manuscript, and published it with notes. 2. “Annotationes in itinerarium Cambrirc, scriptum per | Silvium Geraldum Cambrensem,London, 1585. 3. “Annotationes in Cambriae descriptionem, per Ger. Cambr.” 4. “De Britannica historia recte intelligenda, epistola ad Gul. Fleetwoodum civ. Lond. recordatorem.” This and the former are printed with the annotations on the itinerary. 5. “Pontici Virunnii Historia Britannica,London, 1585, 8vo. Wood says, that he took great pains in compiling a Welsh Dictionary, but died before it was completed.

He left a very learned son, Gabriel Powell, who was born at Ruabon, in 1575, and educated at Jesus college, Oxford, after which he became master of the free-school at Ruthen, in his native county. Not however finding his situation here convenient for the studies to which he was addicted, ecclesiastical history, and the writings of the fathers, he returned to Oxford, and took up his abode in St. Mary Hall. Here principally he wrote those works which procured him great reputation, especially among the puritans. Dr. Vaughan, bishop of London, invited him to the metropolis, and made him his domestic chaplain, and would have given him higher preferment had he lived. It was probably Vaughan’s successor who gave him the prebend of Portpoole, in 1609, and the vicarage of Northall, in Middlesex, in 1610. He died in 1611. His works enumerated by Wood are chiefly controversial, against the papists, except one or two in defence of the silenced puritans. Several of them, being adapted to the circumstances of the times, went through numerous editions, but are now little known. Wood says he was esteemed a prodigy of learning, though he died when a little more than thirty years old (thirty-six), and had he lived to a greater maturity of years, it is “thought he would have exceeded the famous Dr. John Rainolds, or any of the learned heroes of the age.” Wood adds that he “was a zealot, and a stiff puritan.” By one of his works, entitled “The unlawfulness and danger of Toleration of divers religions, and connivance to contrary worship in one monarchy or kingdom,” it would appear that he wrote against toleration while he was claiming it for himself and his puritan brethren. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. I. new edit. Biog.JBrit. Oldys’s Librarian