EVANS, WILLIAM (1734-1805), early Calvinistic Methodist exhorter

Name: William Evans
Date of birth: 1734
Date of death: 1805
Spouse: Gwen Evans
Child: Anne Evans
Child: Elizabeth Evans
Child: David Evans
Child: Evan Evans
Child: Morris Evans
Gender: Male
Occupation: early Calvinistic Methodist exhorter
Area of activity: Religion

Born at Ystrad, Llangwm, Denbighshire, but the family moved to Fedw Arian, Bala. He was baptised 31 November 1734. He was a freeholder and afterwards bought the farm of Maesgwyn in Llanfihangel-glyn-myfyr, Denbighshire, letting this out in 1781, and afterwards raising mortgages upon it — the last occasion being in 1797, when he mortgaged it to his son Morris for £500. His wife Gwen died in 1772 (buried in Llanycil churchyard on 1 February); they had at least five children: Elizabeth (1758), Evan, Morris, David, and Anne. He began exhorting about 1765, was a noteworthy preacher, and was one of the most important figures of Bala Methodism in his day, a trustee of Methodist meetinghouses in Merrioneth from 1770 onwards, and an agent for the distribution of Williams of Pantycelyn's hymn-booklets. He published at Trevecka in 1786 an elegy upon Mrs. Thomas Charles's mother Jane Foulkes; and in 1789 a small book o hymmns by himself and Edward Parry (1723 - 1786) and others, printed ‘for the benefit of a poor man named William Ellis’. According to Robert Jones of Rhoslan, he was ‘paralysed for some time before his death.’ In 1805, he went to Devonport, to visit two of his sons who lived there, Evan and David. There, he fell ill, and died 2 April 1805 at David's house, 110 Pembroke-street, Plymouth Dock; he was buried in Stoke Damerel churchyard on 5 April; his age was then given as 70.

William Evans's eldest son EVAN (1760 - 1815), a surgeon in the Navy for a short time, and assistant-surgeon to French prisoners-of-war at Devonport, founded a noteworthy line of medical men. His son WILLIAM (1795 - 1867) was a surgeon at Devonport, and had as many as four sons in the profession; three were naval surgeons who died at sea, and the other, EVAN (1821 - 1887) was at first a surgeon R.N., but afterwards practised in the City of London. He was followed in the profession by his sons WILLMOTT HENDERSON EVANS (1859 - 1938), M.D., F.R.C.S., a dermatologist who was a lecturer at various hospitals and at the Royal College of Surgeons, and ROBERT EVANS (1871 - 1941), who was also a writer. On the other hand, their brother JOHN WILLIAM EVANS (1857 - 1930), born 27 July 1857, became a distinguished geologist. Educated at University College School and at University College (LL.B. 1882), he was called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn in 1878, but turned to geology, and in 1891 became D.Sc. (London). He travelled widely (S. America, India, S. Africa) as a geologist, wrote more than 150 geological papers, was president of the Geological Society in 1924-6, and was elected F.R.S. in 1919. Though only in a remote sense a Welshman, he was interested in his ancestry and visited Bala to make inquiries about it; some of the information given here about the family is derived from his notes. He died 16 November 1930, in London.


Published date: 1959