Born at Llangybi, Caernarfonshire. (The following entry is in the baptisms register of Llangybi church - ' September about 29 was baptized Evan, son of Humphrey Robert (Singer) and Jane Griffith his wife.' Nothing is known of his youth. He was an excellent harpist. Like many Welsh musicians he went to London (c. 1740). He assisted John Parry, Ruabon, to collect material for and bring out his Antient British Music, 1742. He settled in London as teacher of the harp and obtained a post as harpist in a church; from references made to him by William Morris it would appear that he played the organ also. In the (Welsh) Book of Common Prayer, edited by Richard Morris (1770), are twenty-four psalm-tunes, the first printed tunes made available for use by Welsh people. Evan Williams performed a valuable service by arranging sixteen of these tunes in the common measure (184.108.40.206.), so that the metrical psalms of archdeacon Edmund Prys, which were 220.127.116.11., could be sung to them. He also composed eight tunes in Prys's 'New Measure', 18.104.22.168. These were the first tunes composed by a Welshman to be published. With the tunes is also given, for the first time, instructions on how to sing. The Morris brothers of Anglesey refer to Evan William in their letters. It is not known when he died. His name appears in the Cymmrodorion list of members for 1762, but is not in that for 1777-8.
Published date: 1959
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC-RUU/1.0/
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.
Find out more on our sponsorship page.