Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blackwell, John

BLACKWELL, JOHN (1797–1840), Welsh poet and prose writer, was born at Mold, in Flintshire, in 1797, and for many years followed the trade of a shoemaker in his native town. From an early age he showed the greatest avidity for books, and he carried off several prizes offered for poems and essays in the Welsh language. By the liberality of friends he was enabled to enter Jesus College, Oxford, in 1824, and he took the degree of B.A. in 1828. In the autumn of the latter year, at the Royal Denbigh Eisteddvod, a prize was adjudged to him for his beautiful Welsh elegy on the death of Bishop Heber. In 1829 he was ordained to the curacy of Holy well. During his residence there he contributed largely to the columns of the 'Gwyliedydd,' a periodical conducted on the principles of the established church, and in 1832 he was presented with a prize medal at the Beaumaris Eisteddvod. In 1833 he was presented by Lord-chancellor Brougham to the living of Manor Deivy, in Pembrokeshire. Soon afterwards he became editor of an illustrated magazine in the Welsh language, entitled 'Y Cylchgrawn,' and he conducted this periodical with remarkable ability. He died on 14 May 1840, and was buried at Manor Deivy. His poems and essays, with a memoir of his life, were edited by the Rev. Griffith Edwards of Minera, in a volume entitled 'Ceinion Alun,' Ruthin, 1851, 8vo.

[Williams's Eminent Welshmen, 554; Gent. Mag. (New Ser.), xiv. 100.]

T. C.