Henry Howell was born in 1851 and raised in Welshpool, Montgomeryshire (now Powys), where the Howell family is famous. He left Wales, was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, became a lawyer, lived in London, was Official Receiver at the Board of Trade, an inventor and a fine amateur turner. He was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Turners in 1910.
The H Llewelyn Howell Memorial Trophy, a beautiful silver porringer, has been awarded to Craft Prize-Winners from the Royal Navy.
Born into the Montgomeryshire establishment
Henry Howell’s father, Abraham Howell, was a massive personality in old Montgomeryshire. He features in the Annals and Antiquities of the County and County Families of Wales – which had a local status akin to Debretts in England.
Born in Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire in 1810, Abraham Howell was a Solicitor and Attorney. He founded the firm of Howell, Jones and Howell, was four times Mayor of Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, the County Treasurer and ultimately a County Justice of the Peace. Two of his sons (Henry’s brothers) William Mark Howell and Charles Edward Howell were partners in the family law firm with Charles serving as Mayor of Welshpool in 1894. Abraham had seven children in all and established the family seat at Rhiewport Hall, Berriew.
Exeter College Oxford, then the Bar
Abraham’s sixth child, and third son, Henry Llewelyn Howell, was born in 1851 and after a period under articles as a Solicitor in the family firm in Welshpool went up to Exeter College, Oxford where he graduated BA in 1874, MA 1876. He next chose the Bar and became a member of Lincoln’s Inn in 1877.
The spelling of the middle name here is interesting: double LL in the middle and as it appears on his Turners’ Memorial Trophy but throughout his life he preferred the spelling Llewelyn.
In London Henry Howell met up with his father’s brother Evan Howell – a successful Silk Manufacturer based in Hackney who supplied some of his finest work to HM Queen Victoria.
Evan Howell (like his brother, Henry’s father Abraham) was a son of William Howell of Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire (1777- 1854) – a Flannel Manufacturer.
Not only was William a successful local businessman but he also brought up a remarkable family of twelve children. As well as Evan (b 1806) and Abraham (b1810) three of William’s other sons, John (b 1808), Lewis (b 1812) and Daniel (b 1824) emigrated to, and established families in, America while another son David (b 1816), like his brother Abraham, also became a Solicitor and founded a practice in Machynlleth.
Uncle Evan in the silk business provides a helping hand
In the 1881 Census 29 year old Henry Llewelyn Howell, MA Oxon., was a Barrister in Practice and living with his 75 year old Uncle Evan, Silk Manufacturer, at his home in Belmont Hill – part of modern Lewisham, London.
Evan had been admitted to the Freedom of London by Redemption as a Silk Manufacturer in 1864, had no children of his own and no doubt introduced his nephew, the young Henry Howell, to the workings of the City and its Livery Companies. We know not whether Evan had a Livery Company connection.
Fast track in the Turners’ Company
Henry Howell, cited as a Solicitor, married Surgeon’s daughter Sarah Marriott on 31 March 1891 in All Saints Church Leamington giving his address as Kilburn, London.
His father Abraham died in Montgomeryshire in 1893 and by the time of 1901 Census Henry and Sarah were living in Canfield Gardens, Hampstead and Henry had been appointed Chief Clerk of the Bankruptcy Department at the Board of Trade.
In 1904 Henry Llewelyn Howell was made a Freeman of the City of London by Redemption in the Turners’ Company and only four years later on 28 May 1908 he was elected its Renter Warden. This was certainly a fast track!
Appointed Official Receiver at the Board of Trade
The London Gazette announced Henry Howell’s appointment as Official Receiver at the Board of Trade in 1906.
Henry Llewelyn Howell had an elder sister Martha Howell who married Staffordshire businessman Alfred Charles Twentyman in 1866. Married first in 1857, Alfred’s first wife Mary had died in childbirth, aged 25 in 1860, leaving him a widower aged 27 with 2 very young daughters. By 1871 Alfred and “Mattie” Howell, his second wife, had three children of their own, Llewellyn Howell Twentyman, Hilda Mattie Twentyman and Harold Edward Twentyman.
On 28 May 1908, on the day that Henry Llewelyn Howell was elected Renter Warden of the Turners’ Company at the age of 53, his nephew Harold Edward Twentyman was made a Freeman of the City Of London in the Turner’s Company at the age of 38. Henry Howell had no children of his own and Harold Twentyman went on to become Master of the Company in 1925 when he was 55.
1910: Master of the Turners’ Company
In 1910 Henry Howell was made Master of the Turners’ Company. He was also a historian, a musician, an accomplished turner and a writer. In his Master’s year H. Llewelyn Powell MA (as he was increasingly known) published a paper in Montgomeryshire Collections entitled Richard Carte – a Notable Musician. (Vol. 35,1910).
In this he tells the fascinating story of a man of Welshpool, son of a Quarter-Master in the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues), Violinist, later Principal Flautist at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Lecturer, and a Musical Instrument Maker of considerable renown.
Carte was determined to make a superior flute and moved from traditional boxwood, through ebony to cocus-wood and with tubes of various cross section and note holes of various sizes. Richard Carte’s first patent flute obtained a prize medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851. One of his sons was Richard D’Oyly Carte, Manager of the Savoy Theatre and colleague of Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan.
In 1911, Official Receiver and now Deputy Master of the Turners Company, Henry Llewelyn Howell lived in a 15 roomed house at 4 Devonport Street, Hyde Park, London.
There is no doubt that Llewelyn-Howell was an extremely competent turner and after he retired he invented the Llewelyn-Howell Universal Compound Slide Rest for Ornamental Turning – made by Holtzapffel and Co.
It is described as “a remarkably comprehensive apparatus which combines in itself three appliances of the ornamental turning lathe, two of which have hitherto been separate and the third non-existent: 1st An ordinary Rectilinear Slide Rest;2nd A Spherical Slide Rest;An Ellipse Slide Rest (entirely new).
First published history of theTurners’ Company
The first History of the Worshipful Company of Turners of London was written by A C Stanley-Stone CC and published by Lindley Jones and Brother in 1925. In its Preface Stanley-Stone wrote that:
“the late Mr Brackstone Baker, Master of the Company in 1884, devoted some twenty years or more of his life to the collection of material for a history of the Turners which he contemplated to write; he did more, he made voluminous notes which might well serve as a basis of a new history of England. Death claimed him before he had passed the stage of collection, and the papers he left behind had still to be arranged in some kind of order to form the raw material from which a finished history could be fashioned.
“After the death of Mr Brackstone Baker his papers were purchased by Mr Henry Llewelyn Howell, Master in 1910, and by him presented to the Company……………..To Mr Brackstone Baker and to Mr Llewelyn Howell the thanks of the Company are entirely due for the collection and preservation of the information which has rendered the appearance of this small attempt at history feasible.”
The first history of the Turners’ Company is dedicated to Past Master Henry Llewelyn Powell.
H Llewelyn Howell did more in his retirement. He published another monograph for Montgomeryshire Collections, on William Bowman, Surgeon and Scientist, he was a member of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, President of the Old Oswestrians’ Society and a Benefactor of Oswestry Grammar School, a Turner’s Company Bronze Medal Winner and frequent speaker on the lathe – as he called it – the ”king of tools”.
Henry Llewelyn Howell died in London on 29 May 1935, aged 83. In his memory the Company was given a beautiful silver porringer to a Charles II design.
H Llewelyn Howell Memorial Trophy
In recent years the H Llewelyn Howell Memorial Trophy has been awarded to Craft Prize-Winners from the Royal Navy. He might not have had children of his own but Henry Llewelyn Howell of Welshpool left a remarkable legacy for the history of the Worshipful Company of Turners of London.
Author: John Bridgeman CBE TD DL, Past Master