born at Pontceri near Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, 2 May 1860, son of Evan Evans (1817 - 1902) and Mary, his wife, (1816 - 1864). Apprenticed as a carpenter, he began writing poetry from an early age, winning a chair at an eisteddfod in Crymych when he was only 17 years old, and, it is said, was carried in it all the way home to Newcastle Emlyn. He began to preach at Tre-wen Independent church. After a term at the local grammar school he was in 1881 admitted to the Carmarthen Presbyterian College, where he showed remarkable ability as a student. In 1884, on securing the Dr. Williams Scholarship, he proceeded to the University of Glasgow, where he took his M.A. degree with honours in classics and a first class in philosophy. He was awarded the Ewing Scholarship in literature and the Ferguson Scholarship open to the four Scottish universities. He won the Clark Fellowship in 1890 and the Snell Exhibition tenable at Balliol College, Oxford, but as there was then no philosophy school at Oxford (except T.H. Green, see his life by Nettleship) he was granted a dispensation by the senate of Glasgow University to hold it at Leipzig where Wilhelm Wundt was professor of philosophy. After spending a term there he was appointed assistant to Dr. Edward Caird at Glasgow. In 1891 he was appointed to the chair of philosophy at the university college in Bangor. He was appointed examiner for the degree of M.A. at Glasgow in 1894.
His health breaking down in 1896, he was in 1897 ordained minister to the Congregational churches of Hawen and Bryngwenith in Ceredigion. In 1890 he moved to the Priory Welsh Congregational church at Carmarthen, and the following year he was appointed professor of philosophy and Christian doctrine at his old college there.
He was deeply moved by the 1904-05 religious revival and he devoted himself to the work of the movement for deepening the spiritual life to such an extent that he neglected his lectures and had to resign his post at the college. Later on he was offered the principalship of the Memorial College at Brecon but he declined the offer. After the climax of the revival had passed, his brilliant literary talent reasserted itself and he published three biographies, that of his brother David Emlyn Evans in 1919, Joseph Parry in 1921, and David Adams in 1924. In 1938 his remarkable book Fy mhererindod ysbrydol appeared. An English translation, My spiritual pilgrimage, by T. Glyn Thomas, was published in 1961. He resigned from the ministry in 1938 and retired to Llanelli where he died 7 June 1941. He was particularly gifted as a translator of hymns.
Published date: 2001
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