Anwyl was born in Chester, England, and educated at the King's School, Chester. He went on to study at Oriel College, Oxford, and Mansfield College, Oxford, and was a co-founder of Cymdeithas Dafydd ap Gwilym. In 1892 he became Professor of Welsh at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and was later appointed Professor of Comparative Philology. He was knighted in July 1911. In 1913, he became Principal of the newly founded Monmouthshire Training College at Caerleon. He was a lay preacher and a member of the University of Wales Theological Board and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
- Welsh Accidence (1898)
- Welsh Syntax (1899)
- Celtic Religion in Pre-Christian Times (1906)