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A surname that, along with its equally popular spelling variant of Howell, can be traced back to admiration for a famed tenth century Welsh king and lawmaker, Howells features prominently in the colourful tableau that is the historical record.
While some of the name have gained recognition through their contributions to the worlds of religion and politics, others have achieved fame and acclaim through pursuits ranging from music and the stage to architecture and sport.
Their stirring tale is recounted here.
In the ecclesiastical realm, Rees Howells, born in 1879 in Brynaman, Carmarthenshire was the missionary noted for having founded the Welsh Bible College, in Swansea. Immigrating to the United States in 1901 after having worked from the age of twelve in a tinplate mill, he found similar employment in Pennsylvania. Returning to his home village of Brynaman in 1910 and marrying local woman Elizabeth Hannah Jones and having been influenced by an evangelist while in America, he enrolled in the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen.
Invited to become a missionary, both he and his wife joined the South African General Mission in 1915 – returning to their native land five years later.
After undertaking a preaching tour of America, in 1922 he resolved to establish a bible college in his native land to train missionaries.
Against all the odds managing to purchase the Glynderwen estate in Swansea, his Bible College opened in 1924.
Other estates – bought with the help of what Howells called "faith and prayers" – were acquired throughout the 1930s, enabling the establishment of a boarding school for the children of missionaries and also a small hospital.
Author of the 1940 God Challenges the Dictators – that uncannily prophesied in detail the end of the war in favour of the Allies and the ultimate fate of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler – he died in 1950.