Howell Elfed Lewis
Coffa Elfed / Elfed Museum
Welcome to The Elfed Museum
Howell Elfed Lewis is remembered as a minister, poet and hymnist. He was a minister at Tabernacle Chapel, King’s Cross, London for over thirty years. Elfed, as he was universally known, won two National Eisteddfod Crowns and a National Chair – the ultimate bardic prizes at the annual festival. He served as Archdruid for four years.
Elfed had several volumes of poetry published in Welsh and English and composed many hymns in both languages. ‘Rho im yr hedd’ is still sung at funerals and ‘Cofia’n Gwlad’ is regarded as a second national anthem.
Howell Lewis was born in a cottage known as Y Gangell (The Chancel) in the parish of Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthenshire. He was the eldest of 12 children–two died in infancy. The family were faithful worshippers at
Blaen-y-coed Chapel and attended the regular weeknight meetings.
Elfed began preaching before he was 14 years of age and was accepted as a student at the Carmarthen Presbyterian College when he was 16. He was ordained at Buckley, Flintshire, when only 20 years of age. He adopted the name ‘Elfed’ from the parish where he was born.
His loss of sight in old age did not deter Elfed from fulfilling his duties as a preacher. He is remembered for his velvety voice and as a man who rose from humble beginnings to become one of his nation’s most prominent and revered leaders.
Elfed died in his retirement home in Penarth on 10 December 1953 at the grand old age of 93. His ashes were buried five days later at Blaen-y-coed cemetery.