EVANS, JOHN SILAS (1864 - 1953), priest and astronomer

Name: John Silas Evans
Date of birth: 1864
Date of death: 1953
Parent: Evan Evans
Gender: Male
Occupation: priest and astronomer
Area of activity: Religion; Science and Mathematics; Space and Aviation
Author: Mary Gwendoline Ellis

Born 11 March 1864, son of Evan Evans, Blaen-llan, Pencarreg, Carmarthenshire. Educated locally he proceeded to the school kept by Alcwyn C. Evans at Carmarthen, and afterwards to the old grammar school, Lampeter. He gained the Phillips and Treharne scholarships to St. David's College, Lampeter, and graduated B.A., 1885 with honours in divinity, winning the Welsh and science prizes. He taught at a college in Coventry for a year, and was ordained deacon in St. Asaph in 1887 and priested in 1888. He was a curate of Diserth, 1887-90, and of Rhos-ddu, 1890-95; vicar of St. Asaph and vicar choral of the cathedral, 1895-1901; vicar of Gyffylliog, 1901-09; Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant with Llanarmon Mynydd Mawr, 1909-38. He was proctor of the convocation of Canterbury, 1917-20, and was appointed canon of St. Asaph, 1928. He became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1923. He was a member of the British Astronomical Society and a member of the council of St. David's College, Lampeter, 1927-39.

He published Seryddiaeth a seryddwyr, 1923; Marvels of the sky, 1921; Ad astra, 1930; Hanes Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, 1940; and Myfyrion min yr hwyr, 1949.

He was in great demand as a special preacher and preached the sermon at Hereford Cathedral St. David's Day Festival, 1925, and St. Paul's London, 1939. He had an exceptional memory and he could conduct church services almost completely from memory. He was an authority on astronomy and lectured widely on the subject. He had the roof of the nave of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant church painted with stars and planets on a blue base. His other interests were folklore and local history. He never married. When he retired in 1938 he went to live in Aberystwyth so as to be within easy reach of the National Library of Wales. He called his home Ad astra. After he had returned to his old home in his native village he wrote the history of Pencarreg parish. He died there, 19 April 1953, and was buried in the churchyard.


Published date: 2001

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