BEVAN, SILVANUS (1691 - 1765), Quaker physician

Name: Silvanus Bevan
Date of birth: 1691
Date of death: 1765
Spouse: Martha Bevan (née Heathcote)
Spouse: Elizabeth Bevan (née Quare)
Parent: Jane Bevan (née Phillips)
Parent: Silvanus Bevan
Gender: Male
Occupation: Quaker physician
Area of activity: Medicine; Religion
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

He was a member of a Swansea family, and (according to Morris Letters, ii, 336) was related to Arthur Bevan. A William Bevan, a Quaker of Swansea, was imprisoned in 1658, and died in 1701, aged 74. His son, Silvanus Bevan (1661 - 1725), married Jane Phillips of Swansea in 1685, and had several sons, two of whom moved to London.

The elder, SILVANUS BEVAN, is the subject of this notice. He set up a pharmacy at 2 Old Plough Court, Oxford Street in 1715, but later practised physic at Hackney. In 1725 he had been elected F.R.S. on the proposal of Isaac Newton.

A belated interest in Welsh antiquities brought him (now a retired man) in 1760 into contact with Richard Morris; and there are references to him in the Morris Letters (more especially ii, 265, 336-7, 416) which give us a picture of him: a dilettante; a collector of fossils, curios, books, paintings, etc.; an amateur wood-carver; and a keen gardener. Morris calls him 'a bachelor'; he was in fact a widower, for in 1715 he had married Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Quare, the famous clock-maker (1648 - 1724). He married (2), Martha Heathcote. He was in 1761 'eighty years of age,' says Morris rather wildly, but his 'intellects' and his love of reading were unimpaired, though he was 'slovenly and with trembling hands.' He spoke Welsh only very brokenly, had never seen a Welsh manuscript, and was 'surprised to hear we had any.' However, in 1762 he was elected a member of the Cymmrodorion. He took a great interest in America; both he and his brother Timothy played a considerable part in establishing the first hospital at Philadelphia.

TIMOTHY BEVAN 1704 - 1786, his brother, succeeded him in the Plough Court business - which was the lineal ancestor of the firm of Allen and Hanbury. He married as his second wife Hannah, daughter of John Gurney, and was the father of JOSEPH GURNEY BEVAN (1753 - 1814), who carried on the business but is better known as a writer on Quakerism and is commemorated in D.N.B.


Published date: 1959

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