The son of John Evans (1628 - 1700) by Katherine, widow of Vavasor Powell and daughter of colonel Gilbert Gerard, governor of Chester castle for Charles I. He was born at Wrexham, educated at Dissenting academies at Newington Green (c. 1694) and Rathmell, Yorkshire, and studied the early Fathers under James Owen of Oswestry. He became chaplain to Mrs. Rowland Hunt of Boreatton, Salop, and shortly before his father's death went to assist him in the oversight of the ‘Old Meeting’ (Independent and Baptist) at Wrexham. The congregation invited him to succeed his father, but he made it a condition that the ‘New Meeting’ (Presbyterian) should be reunited to the Old, and when that proved impossible he seems to have accepted a call from the latter. He was ordained at Wrexham on 18 August 1702, among those officiating being Matthew Henry of Chester, James Owen of Oswestry, and Francis Tallents of Shrewsbury. In 1704 he became assistant pastor to Daniel Williams at Hand Alley, London, succeeding Williams in the pastorate on the latter's death in 1716. He took a leading part (on the orthodox side) in the Arian controversy of 1719, but always maintained a tolerant attitude in matters of doctrine. He was a trustee of the regium donum (1723) and headed the Nonconformist deputation to congratulate George II on his accession (1727). He wrote many theological works (listed in D.N.B.), and received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University in November 1728, but not from Aberdeen (as in D.N.B.) nor from Glasgow (as in Palmer). He also collected (but did not live to use) materials for a history of Puritanism (some of which are preserved in Dr. Williams's library), and statistics of Nonconformity from 1717 to 1729. He had lost heavily in the bursting of the South Sea Bubble (1720), and died ‘but in mean circumstances’ on 23 May 1730; but he left behind him some 10,000 volumes, also lodged in Dr. Williams's library, where his portrait hangs. He was buried in Dr. Williams's vault in Bunhill Fields. His wife was the daughter of an ejected minister of 1662.
Published date: 1959
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