Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BOWEN , DAVID (‘ Myfyr Hefin ’; 1874 - 1955 ), minister (B) and editor .

Born 20 July 1874 , son of Thomas and Dinah Bowen of Treorchy, Glam. , elder brother of Ben Bowen and Thomas (Orchwy) Bowen (father of the archdruid Geraint Bowen and the poet Euros Bowen ), and of the mother of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas . Both parents had moved from Carmarthenshire to the coal industry in the Rhondda . The family's Welsh culture was safeguarded and fostered by the chapel life in Moriah (B) , Pentre . David attended the Treorchy board school , and went to work in the Ty'n-y-bedw pit at the age of 12. His abilities were nurtured by the chapel, the small eisteddfodau and the remarkable success of his brother Ben . Compiling the latter's biography and collecting his poetry in 1903 helped his own gifts to mature. He began to preach during the 1904-05 Revival . He went to the preparatory school at Pontypridd and to the University College at Cardiff for the year 1908-09 . He won the chair at the students' eisteddfod in Jan. 1909 . He was called to the pastorate of Bethel , Lower Chapel , near Brecon and laboured there to restore Welsh as he had seen William Morris do at Noddfa , Treorchy . For this period of his life see his booklets Oriau Hefin ( 1902 ), Emynau pen y mynydd ( 1905 ), and Cerddi Brycheiniog ( 1912 ).

In 1913 he moved to Horeb chapel , Five Roads , near Llanelli . He was Welsh editor of the Llanelly Mercury between 1915 and 1942 , and of Seren yr Ysgol Sul from the same press, 1916-50 . He established Urdd y Seren Fore in 1929 , and the provision of reading material for children in Welsh was one of his chief aims. He was a member of the Gorsedd of Bards from 1897 until his death, and was president of the Llanelli Cymrodorion and the Awen a Chân literary circle. He was prominent in all Welsh cultural movements. He published five books on his brother, Ben , eight booklets of his own, and many contributions to the Llanelly Mercury and Seren yr Ysgol Sul .

He was twice married. (1) to Hannah Jones of Treorchy , in 1901 . She d. young leaving one daughter, Myfanwy . In 1909 he m. (2) Elizabeth Bowen , Halfway, Llanelli , who d. in 1937 leaving two daughters, Rhiannon and Enid . He d. 22 Apr. 1955 , and was buried in the new Horeb cemetery .


  • Information from his family and from his books.


Glyn Rhys Hughes, Llanelli

Published date: 2001