From 1881 Elias was vicar of Efenechtyd and continued to be an HMI, relinquishing both roles towards the end of 1892 when he became vicar of Llanyblodwel.
Efenechtyd, a parish neighbouring Llanfwrog, is described as follows in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833 & 1849, Samuel Lewis): "A parish in the Union and hundred of Ruthin, county of Denbigh; 2 miles (S by W) from Ruthin, containing 234 inhabitants. ... The land, the extent of which is about 1400 acres, consists chiefly of arable, pasture, and woodland, the portion under tillage being by far the largest, and in a state of high cultivation, producing excellent wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and turnips. The scenery is particularly picturesque and beautiful; the surface is boldly undulated, and ornamented in various parts with oak, ash, and poplar trees, and enlivened with several streams, the principal of which is the Clwyd, traversing the eastern boundary. ... The village is beautifully situated in a sequestered vale abounding with pleasing scenery."
The roles of vicar and HMI could overlap. At various times, Elias, like his brother Timothy, accentuated the importance of religious education in schools. It was not enough for authorities to comply with the Education Act simply with regard to the expansion of school buildings; they should ensure the schools were genuine Church Schools, devoting the legal requirement of one hour a day to religious teaching.
The Denbighshire Free Press, 19 December 1885 reported the trial of William Barker, Lon fawr, Ruthin, who was found guilty of stealing a horse rug belonging to Elias. Either Maggie or Mary Owen gave evidence: "Miss M. Owen said that she and her sister were in Ruthin on December 8th, at nearly 8 p.m. with a pony trap, and had a horse cloth. They got out when near the Bee Hive, in Clwyd-street, and put the cloth (now produced) over the pony. They went to see what time it was at the Peers' Memorial, leaving the trap standing. They were away about two minutes, and when they came back, the rug was gone." Barker, who had a previous conviction, was sent to gaol for three months hard labour.